Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco talks about Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Well, not many people saw that coming. But it's really no reason to panic.

The Ravens, a trendy Super Bowl pick, lost to the Oakland Raiders, a perennially-bad team already competing for the role of NFL's worst in 2015 after a Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.


Before Sunday, the Ravens were 7-1 all-time against the Raiders. In those eight games, Oakland averaged 12 points. The Raiders more than tripled that in beating the Ravens, 37-33.

It doesn't make much sense, though, to write the Ravens off for starting the season 0-2 in a pair of wildly different games (392 combined yards with the Broncos in Week 1, 941 with the Raiders).

For one, the defense showed enough against the Denver Broncos in Week 1 to think that, despite Sunday's performance, there's talent on that side of the ball. Terrell Suggs' absence undoubtedly played some role in what happened against the Raiders, but it's hard to imagine the defense falling apart because he's not on the field.

The offense, with managed 173 yards against the Denver Broncos, ought to have assuaged any concern about its ability to move the football. Joe Flacco tossed the ball around for 384 yards and Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro had their moments running, too.

Flacco's late interception? It didn't matter. The Ravens had to drive 80 yards to score a touchdown in 26 seconds with one timeout to win that game. It wasn't going to happen.

A small percentage of teams that start 0-2 make the postseason, but just last season the Indianapolis Colts followed losses to the Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles with five straight wins. You might remember that they not only reached the postseason, but made it to the AFC Championship Game.

The next three games will be tough -- it's been written many times, but the NFL schedule makers really did the Ravens no favors this season -- but three straight against the AFC North might be exactly what the team needs right now.

Two of those games are at M&T Bank Stadium, where the Ravens are a much better team. Yes, the Bengals (2-0) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) are off to impressive starts. But records don't matter in division games. The Bengals beat the Ravens twice last season by a combined 10 points. The previous two years, the teams split.

It's well documented how close the Ravens and Steelers play each other. Even last season, when the margin of victory was a combined 40 points in the regular season, the teams traded 20-point victories. The previous five games in the series were decided by a combined 14 points. The only game between the teams decided by more than six points between December 2007 and the start of last season was a 35-7 Ravens win on Sept. 11, 2011.

And Cleveland? The Ravens are 13-1 against the Browns under coach John Harbaugh, but even those games are close; the Ravens won two games against them by a combined 12 points last season.

These games were going to be tough whether the Ravens were 2-0 or 0-2.

The Ravens are winless, but nobody needs to panic just yet. If they're 0-4 after playing the Steelers Oct. 1 on Thursday Night Football, then we can talk.

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