The Baltimore Ravens were among the hottest teams in football at the start of the season. Though they dropped a game in the opener to the Las Vegas Raiders, they proceeded to go on a five-game winning streak, and looked like their old selves. Not all has been well since, however.
In fact, they have lost four consecutive games, albeit with the last two absent MVP Lamar Jackson. Tyler Huntley started one game, and nearly won it on a failed two-point conversion attempt; last week’s game was started by Josh Johnson, who was just signed.
It was just the second time in head coach John Harbaugh’s history that he recorded four consecutive losses in a season. This weekend, the Los Angeles Rams could hand him his first five-game losing streak, which would knock them all the way down to 8-8 on the season, with only a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the finale remaining.
Everybody in the AFC North is fighting for their playoff lives right now, of course, albeit with the Cincinnati Bengals in the driver’s seat after dominating Baltimore, 41-21. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 525 yards and four touchdown passes against a severely depleted secondary.
The return of Jackson certainly feels like the Ravens’ only hope of even being competitive against a Rams team that has fairly consistently been one of the best teams in football. And given the state of their secondary, it’s likely that wide receiver Cooper Kupp will do some serious damage as he seeks to break the NFL’s all-time single-season receptions and receiving yardage records.
Outside of the game against the Las Vegas Chargers, the Ravens haven’t had many convincing wins this year, whether against quality opponents or otherwise. In fact, they have given up more points this year than they have scored.
The team has gone to the postseason in each of the past three years, albeit as a division winner just once. In order to win the division this year, they would have to beat both the Rams and the Steelers and have the Bengals lose to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns. The former is very much doable…the latter, less so, yet the Browns did blow out the Bengals earlier this year, so you never know.
Baltimore has only lost four games in a row under Harbaugh just once before. That was back during the 2016 season, which saw them go 8-8. They had won their first three games of the year at that point before going on a four-game skid. They were 8-6 prior to the final two games of the season, which saw them fall to the Steelers and Bengals to eliminate them from postseason contention.