Fortunately, I already have a dog, and my friend Bogie tells me that people are getting a little too worked up about one dog-day afternoon by the Ravens.
It wasn’t much fun to watch, I admit, but the notion that the Ravens are in some kind of crisis because they fell flat against the current best team in the AFC is not healthy for fans or small, spotted animals.
The Ravens certainly have some problems to work through, as they had last year at a couple of disturbing junctures in an otherwise very successful season. Their performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road last year, for instance, was much more troubling than Sunday’s lopsided loss to the Texans, and – you might recall – they ended up one dropped ball from the Super Bowl.
Sure, the run defense is scarier than “Paranormal 4,” but the Ravens caught a break getting the bye at just the right time to patch things up. It really is fortuitous, since it also allows Terrell Suggs so much time to recover and reload after his surprising 2012 debut.
The bigger concern is the overall performance of the offense on the road, but even that might be a bit deceptive in the wake of Sunday’s loss. The Texans feature one of the most effective and aggressive defensive fronts in the business and J.J. Watt and Co. took it to Flacco and the Ravens offensive line all afternoon. Give them a little credit for great talent and good gameplanning, but don’t assume that’s going to be a regular occurrence.
The last time I looked, the Ravens were 5-2 and still had the second-best record in the AFC. If you stacked up all 32 teams in the NFL, the Ravens would be in fourth place, behind only the unbeaten Falcons, the Texans and the Bears.
Here’s another news bulletin. The Ravens are 1-2 on the road, which isn’t good, but there are only two teams in the AFC (Houston at 3-0 and San Diego at 2-1) that have winning records away from home.
Apparently, things are tough all over.
Don’t misunderstand. This team has some issues, most troubling to me in the intermediate secondary. The Ravens don’t have anyone who can come close to replacing top cornerback Lardarius Webb. The coaching staff will have to find a way to scheme around that void, but the Ravens probably have three weeks to do that.
There are storm clouds ahead, of course. If the Ravens take care of business against the Browns (they should) and the Raiders at home (they will), they’ll be 7-2 when they head into that scary three-game span against the Steelers twice with a road game against the Chargers in between.
If those weaknesses are not corrected, that’s when they will be totally exposed, at which time you may have to buy two dogs.