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Blog Entry

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

Posted on: November 7, 2011 12:19 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 12:20 am
 
T. Smith catches the game-winning pass from J. Flacco to beat Pittsburgh (AP).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For most of Sunday night’s game, it looked like Joe Flacco was going to be just good enough to lead the Ravens to an important AFC North defeat. A Baltimore loss that would have put Pittsburgh in a great position for a run in the second half of the season that would make the Steelers the AFC conference title favorite.

Joe Flacco fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter, and then, after the Steelers scored to take the lead, the Ravens went three and out. They were done. And it wasn’t the least bit surprising.

Then, the Ravens -- and Flacco -- redeemed their season.

Despite the fact receivers Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin dropped passes late in the fourth quarter on Baltimore’s final drive, Flacco, who seems to have regressed as a quarterback this year, never lost his poise. He threw a gorgeous 26-yard touchdown pass to Smith with eight seconds to play to provide the game-winning score and beat the Steelers 23-20.

And now that Baltimore has won, sweeping the season series with Pittsburgh, are we silly to consider the Ravens the class of the AFC? It’s hard to say. Baltimore has played some horrendously bad games, losing to the Titans and the Jaguars. But they’ve also beaten the Steelers twice and knocked off the Jets and Texans. At this point, who else could be the AFC’s elite?

Not the Steelers. They’ve taken two bad losses to the Ravens, and that’s going to be a big problem if these two squads end up tied in the standings at the end of the year. The Patriots? It’s hard to take them seriously when their pass defense is so bad. The Bills? No, they looked shaky today in losing to the Jets. The Jets? Just not seeing it this year. The Texans? Maybe, but they still have to win their division and they’ve never done it before.

But what about -- and I would have laughed at this a few weeks ago -- the Bengals? Cincinnati and Baltimore play Nov. 20 and Jan. 1, and with their win at Tennessee today, the Bengals are 6-2, tied with the Ravens for first place in the AFC North.

The Ravens have a great defense, but so do the Bengals. As far as offensive skill players are concerned, the teams are evenly matched, but Cincinnati has been more consistent in playing solid football this season.  Still, I’m not convinced about Cincinnati quite yet.

The question: are the Ravens good enough to challenge the Packers for the title of NFL best? You could say yes after watching tonight’s game, but I’m not seeing yet, mainly because I don’t trust Flacco as an elite quarterback. Even with his 92-yard game-winning drive in the final 2:13, even with his 14 third-down conversions (the most against the Steelers since the 1970 merger), and even with his poise on the final drive, I’m not sure the Ravens are the AFC’s elite simply because I don’t believe in Flacco.

But you know what? “I don’t care,” Flacco said on NBC after the game. “We’re excited we won the football game.”

He should be. It was a hell of a win. But showing us that Baltimore is the AFC’s best? I’m just not ready to buy in yet.

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Comments

Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:37 am
 

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

By the end of the season, the Raiders will be one of the best teams in the AFC, along with the Steelers, Patriots and in a tier just ahead of the Jets and Ravens (terrible QBs hold those two teams back, in terms of talent and defense the Jets and Ravens are the best imo outside of the QB position).
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 What are you even saying? Flacco and Sanchez are a lot better than they get credit for. Pats are not better than Jets, ravens, Steelers right now and it is not close. brady even has looked mediocre this year after his first few big weeks. hate to tell you but the Pats are done being a top AFC team.




Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:34 am
 

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

Almost every weak I hear how the Begals can't win this game. when they win, I hear that team sucks!
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 What Bengal win this year impressed you? Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Indy, Seattle or Tennessee? Nills game winning 23-20 was their best win. If you need to think Seattle is a tough game you really doubt your Bengam team too. MNM is exctly right on Cincy.


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:37 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: November 8, 2011 9:25 am
 

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

      8-ball, the Jets are 0-7 all time against the Ravens.  And if they meet in the playoffs, it will be 0-8.  Flacco doesn't have to play well for Baltimore to win, as evidenced by their meetings the last two years.  Batimore's defense and running game are enough to take care of Gang Green and if Flacco's on, that's just icing on the cake. 


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 7, 2011 5:19 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 7, 2011 5:01 pm
 

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

see me when the Bengals actually beat a real football team. you'll know a lot more about them after Andy Dalton sees the Pittsburgh defense next week and the Bmore defense afterward. I suspecdt that he will be scraping brown stains out of his underwear afterward.




Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 7, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

sorry son, the jets won't get past the Ravens who they have not beaten in years. the jets just are not as good a team as the Ravens and Sanchez is the most overrated QB in football.


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 7, 2011 4:02 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

22 players have 3 years or less in NFL 8 more with four years. This young core has seen the Bengals go 8-4 in the division past two years.  that incluse 2-2 againts Pitt & 3-1 against Baltamore. The Stealers and Ravens are not as goos as they have been the past several years & this Bengals team is bettter on offense, defense & special teamsthan it has been Boomer's Superbowl team. Thers is no way in hell this team loses five straight games. At the very least they will split with Balt & Pitt. That puts them at 12-4 worst case. 




Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: November 7, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Are the Ravens the best the AFC can offer?

The Bengals haven't even played the Steelers or Ravens once yet.  They will most likely lose all 4 of those games.  I find it highly probably that they will lose their next 5 games, and then lose to the Ravens in the season finale as well.  That makes them an 8-8 team at best. 

The Raiders will be a very tough team in a few weeks.  Palmer managed a 300 yard 3 TD game in his first start, and that is without Run DMC.  Add McFadden back in, give Palmer a few more weeks of practice, and that offense is near unstoppable.  By the end of the season, the Raiders will be one of the best teams in the AFC, along with the Steelers, Patriots and in a tier just ahead of the Jets and Ravens (terrible QBs hold those two teams back, in terms of talent and defense the Jets and Ravens are the best imo outside of the QB position).


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