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Ravens are slumping now, but their window might be closing

Baltimore Ravens running back Rice is tackled by Denver Broncos linebacker Brooking during their NFL football game in Baltimore Reuters

The Ravens are already in the playoffs.

But the concern in Baltimore is as much about a run of long-term success ending as the short-term reality that they’re staggering into the postseason.

“People say we’re backing into the playoffs,” Ravens running back Ray Rice told Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com. “You know what? I’m not making any excuses. We have to play better. We have to put it all together right now.”

The Ravens are the only team to qualify for the playoffs the last five seasons, but barring a run no one can see coming, will have fallen short of the Super Bowl in each of them.

The last team to miss the Super Bowl while making the playoffs five years in a row was the Dolphins from 1997-2001, a clear example of a window closing and never opening all the way back again.

Quarterback Joe Flacco’s a pending free agent, who could get the franchise tag. But that leaves safety Ed Reed needing to be dealt with, and their defense full of aging stars hasn’t been able to keep the team afloat the way it used to.

If the Ravens are going to maintain their high level, they’ll have to shift gears soon, after losing three straight, there’s a reasonable doubt.

“Sometimes, you forget how hard it is to win games,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Unfortunately, we’ve been reminded in a very big way.

“It’s not a bad thing. I’m kind of a providence guy. Things happen for a reason. There’s good to come out of this. I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be.”

And no one who has watched the Ravens can say with any confidence what it’s going to be either.

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17 Responses to “Ravens are slumping now, but their window might be closing”
  1. censoredagain says: Dec 23, 2012 11:23 AM

    If any team has the magical power to make even the most disorganized, banged up team look like a Super Bowl Champion, it’s my 2012 Giants. Teams always seem to find a way to get back on track against them.

  2. bhop49 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:32 AM

    Fans easily forget how Hard it is to win in the National Football League. Be grateful and enjoy the ride while it lasts.

  3. conewalker says: Dec 23, 2012 11:38 AM

    Also doesn’t mention how half the Super Bowl champions end up 9-7 – 10-6 and get hot late in the year.

  4. conewalker says: Dec 23, 2012 11:39 AM

    I’d like to see a picture of this writer, dude is probably 5 foot 4 and 120 pounds

  5. jakec4 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:41 AM

    It doesn’t help that Ozzie has drafted a bunch of duds lately on both sides of the ball . Putting the tag on Flacco will cost around 18 million which doesn’t leave much, if anything, to go out and try to upgrade at linebacker, receiver, secondary, offensive line, and defensive line. They need help everywhere. A lot of the guys Ozzie is drafting can’t do it.

    Sergio Kindle
    Jimmy Smith
    Terrance Cody
    Jah Reid

    Some of his latest, most notable misses.

  6. kattykathy says: Dec 23, 2012 12:02 PM

    The window closed tightly shut 3 weeks ago

  7. rockthered1286 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:05 PM

    Other than Ray Lewis and Reed who is an “aging star?”

  8. jamaltimore says: Dec 23, 2012 12:06 PM

    The Window has been closing on this team for the past 5 years. Win today, rest against cindy, and make start the Super Bowl run in Charm City strong!

  9. jakec4 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:07 PM

    rockthered1286 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:05 PM

    Other than Ray Lewis and Reed who is an “aging star?”
    ————————————————————-

    Birk and Boldin

  10. ballboy48 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:08 PM

    They’re getting older, and haven’t played well at all on defense. With the Bengals and Browns getting better with much younger teams, the AFC North will be a lot different next year. The Steelers are showing their signs of aging, having lost 4 of the last 5.

  11. danielgraham82 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:09 PM

    Flacco needs to go, the guy just isn’t a franchise QB. Just because there’s not better options out there next year, doesn’t mean you grossly overpay a guy (i.e. Mark Sanchez)

  12. Steelerz7 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:12 PM

    After the Steelers beat them that window is broken.

  13. jayhit says: Dec 23, 2012 12:24 PM

    Great article crappy team

  14. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 23, 2012 12:36 PM

    They have been fading very fast. Loss of Lewis and others put the pressure on an offense that can’t carry a team. Please sign Mr Flacco to continue the slide…just saying

  15. rockthered1286 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:49 PM

    Other than Ray and Reed, who on this defense is an aging star? Not pollard, Webb, Williams, Suggs, Kruger, McPhee, Upshaw, Mcclain or Cody. There’s the entire starting defense minus those 2. Thanks for TE failed logic.

  16. siggtacular says: Dec 23, 2012 3:40 PM

    Counting us out already? Please, let’s SHOCK the world Ravens

  17. denverdude7 says: Dec 23, 2012 6:35 PM

    Both the Steelers and Ravens are done for the next few years.

    Every ten years or so, the Bengals and Browns poke their heads out of the sand for a little while as the Steelers re-tool. Then they go back into hibernation for another decade or so.

    This is just a natural cycle of the AFC North so don’t go making nooses out of those terrible towels SteelerNation. You will be needing them again in a few years.

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