The Ravens have won three of their last five games and lost the other two by a combined four points. But their opponents in that stretch have been San Diego, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Cleveland and Miami—combined record 18-42.
Next weekend, we’ll begin to find out exactly how undermanned they really are.
The Seattle Seahawks are coming to town off a 38-7 mauling of the Minnesota Vikings, with quarterback Russell Wilson riding a streak of near-flawless play. The Sunday after that, the Ravens will host the Kansas City Chiefs, only the best team in the league in recent weeks, according to some metrics. Then, two days after Christmas come the Pittsburgh Steelers, likely to be battling for a playoff spot behind quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and some of the deadliest big-play threats in the league.
It all sounds like the NFL equivalent of coal and switches in your Christmas stocking.
You know that remarkable run of 12 straight games decide by one score? Don’t expect it to extend to the new year. The Ravens deserve admiration for their fighting spirit, but we’re finally going to see how their collection of back-ups perform against some of the league’s best teams.