Ravens help kill the idea of momentum entering playoffs


Among other things, the Ravens winning the Super Bowl after a sloppy finish to the regular season might kill the idea of the importance of being hot going into the playoffs.

If anything, the converse is true.

As pointed out by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, the Ravens lost four of their last five regular season games before getting on a hot streak in the playoffs, making seven of the last eight champions who have slouched to the finish of the regular season.

The 2011 Giants lost four games in a row in November and December. The 2010 Packers lost three of their last four. The 2009 Saints lost their final three. The 2007 Giants were 4-4 in November and December. The 2006 Colts lost four of their final seven. And the 2005 Steelers had a three-game December losing streak.

Among recent champs, only the 2008 Steelers finished with any kind of what is generally referred to as momentum, winning their final four regular season games and nine of their last 10.

“I think the adversity does help, it does callus you up,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “But through all that, we were improving. Even though we were losing, I felt like we were improving.”

Since it’s a copycat league, we now fully expect teams to pull all their starters for the final month of the season, just to give themselves a shot in the playoffs.

17 responses to “Ravens help kill the idea of momentum entering playoffs

  1. Yes indeed but those 2005 Lers finished the regular season with 4 straight convincing victories – Bettis over Urlacher

  2. Leave it to a Steelers fan to refer to their own team as the “Lers” and give an example from 7 years ago. I actually disagree that the Ravens didn’t finish strong.

    In week 16 they absolutely thrashed the NY Giants 33-14. The Giants were in a win and in situation and the Ravens smashed them. In week 17, the Ravens pretty much played all back ups and still played an exciting game against Cincinatti. While the Ravens lost, the Ravens played well with backups. If not for a Tyrod Taylor Pick 6, the Ravens may have won. Sure they lost 3 in a row Dec. 2, 9, 16. But a 33-14 thrashing of the defending world chapions who themselves were fighting for a playoff spot was pretty convincing.

    The lost to the Redskins was in OT and the loss to the Steelers was by 3 points.

  3. The Ravens didn’t ”pull their starters” until the last game at Cincy. Before then they didn’t have the luxury of having that choice.

    The central adversity this year was injuries to critical guys at crucial times.

    The reality isn’t just that they got hot at the right time, but they also got healthy at the right time. Or at least, healthy enough to power through.

  4. “The 2010 Packers lost three of their last four.”

    No, they didn’t. They went 2-2. Matt Flynn took over for Rodgers in the Detroit game after he was knocked out and lost 7-3. The next week Flynn nearly beat the Patriots on the road but came up short on the last drive 31-27. Rodgers came back and helped beat the Giants 45-17, and then they punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 10-3 win over the Bears.

    They were getting hot at the right time.

  5. The 2010 Packers did not lose three of four. Their last four regular season games, in order, were a loss in Detroit, a loss in New England, a win against the Giants, and a win against Chicago. You’d think someone at the LA Times or this website would do some simple fact-checking before throwing a story out there like that.

  6. Ravens came together when it mattered most. Hot, cold, limp in, come in strong, does it really matter? At the end of the day, there’s only one world champion – Baltimore.

  7. “only the 2008 Steelers finished with any kind of what is generally referred to as momentum, winning their final four regular season games and nine of their last 10.”

    Incorrect. They lost their second to last game to the Titans, which was a game that decided the #1 seed in the AFC. I also believe that it was a loss that sparked the Steelers to run through the playoffs that year.

  8. Interesting that you say the 2011 Giants didn’t have momentum because they lost 4 in a row, but it’s generally agreed that they did have momentum because they had their backs against the wall when beating the Jets and Cowboys to get into the playoffs. From there they beat up on Atlanta and the 15-1 Packers before winning close games against SF and NE.

    You can’t have it both ways, did the Giants have momentum or not?

  9. The Ravens were not necessarily the best team in the NFL this season, they were just the best team in each of their playoff games. That is why they say that “On any given Sunday” any team can walk away with the W.
    Last years Giants team was a great example. Individually, the Giants had a few very good players, but as a team they were excellent. You don’t have to be completely dominant now days in this league. You just have to have a few very good days.

  10. I don’t think they were slumping going into the postseason. They got hot vs. NY. The Bengals game was a bye week, they were not trying to win that game. As soon as they played all their guys and TRIED to win they came up big.

  11. 2010 Packers won last two, which is what knocked the Giants out of the playoffs. However they did lose 3 of 4 prior to winning the last two.

  12. stigman2012 says:
    Feb 6, 2013 8:55 AM
    Did Ray throw away the white suit after the Ravens killed this idea?

    So original. So hilarious.

    Take your meds then leave the basement.

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