After a 9-2 start punctuated by a 4th-and-29 play for the ages, the Ravens have lost at home to nearly-40-year-old Charlie Batch and the Steelers and then on the road to barely-20-year-old Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, dropping Baltimore to 9-4.
But they say they’re not in trouble.
“No, man,” safety Ed Reed said after Sunday’s overtime loss at FedEx Field, via the team’s official website. “We ain’t in trouble. Next question.”
Receiver Anquan Boldin was a bit more talkative on the point. “We’ll be alright,” Boldin said. “I don’t know if people want me to be pissed off, but I mean we’re still a playoff-contending team, we’re still going to win the AFC North. What else can I say ? We let one get away today. We go back to work tomorrow, fix the things that we can fix and then move on.”
It’s easier to say that because the Bengals and Steelers also lost, allowing the Ravens to hold a two-game edge in the AFC North despite losing. But running back Ray Rice isn’t thinking of it that way.
“I’m not going to sit back and watch our playoff fate based on other teams,” Rice said. “I can’t give two craps about what another team does. I’m focused on the Baltimore Ravens, and obviously a little help here and there helps, but that’s not something I pride on. . . . We pride ourselves on beating people and going into the playoffs strong. We’ve got to get ourselves back.”
Though the string of bad luck likely won’t necessarily keep the Ravens from getting to the playoffs, it will make it harder to secure a first-round bye. Which means they’re in line for a wild-card home game (likely against the Colts, Steelers, or Bengals — or possibly the Jets), and then a division-round trip to face a team like the Texans, Pats, or Broncos in their own building.
That said, with a stretch run that includes games against the Broncos, Giants, and Bengals, the Ravens still need to snap out of it, or in theory they could slide into a wild-card spot, or worse.
So while they’re not yet in trouble, they soon could be.