Things came crashing back to Earth for the Baltimore Ravens after a 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. It was about much more than one game. The Ravens are in trouble, and they know it. The offensive line has been dreadful, which has caused the entire offense to be stuck in neutral.
The defense made enough plays to give Baltimore a couple of chances to come back and escape with the victory. Unfortunately, the offense was incapable of capitalizing, and the Ravens lost a close game.
Nevertheless, there is some good news. Firstly, the Ravens had absolutely no business still being in that game. They were completely dominated, but they showed the toughness to hang around and clawed their way back. Additionally, they are still tied for first place in the AFC North—a division that has fallen from grace.
Things won’t get any easier as they take on a red-hot Miami Dolphins team that has looked very good to start the season.
Just two seasons ago, the AFC North had three representatives in the playoffs. Now, it has self-destructed, and the result is that the Cleveland Browns are the hottest team in the division right now.
Those Browns might just hold the top spot to themselves after next week, as both the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens have tough matchups.
The Browns host the Buffalo Bills in a very winnable game. The Browns defense has been excellent, and all eyes will be on Brian Hoyer to see if he can continue his magical run.
The Bengals host the New England Patriots, a team that might be getting Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski back. The Patriots are undefeated despite missing their best receivers, so the prospect of facing them with their two best weapons is not an appetizing one.
The Ravens travel to South Beach to play the Miami Dolphins. Baltimore has struggled in its two road games this year, and the Dolphins have been one of the surprises of the young season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are winless, and their quarterback has declared them the worst team in the NFL. They limp into their bye next week, grateful for the chance to regroup and for the fact that they are still only two games back from the division lead.
A number of Ravens left the Week 4 contest with injuries, but none of them appear to be serious. The biggest news on the injury front is that Jacoby Jones has returned to practice for the first time since he injured his knee, according to BaltimoreRavens.com
What Must Improve
The Offensive Line
Nobody has played particularly well on offense apart from Torrey Smith. Everybody else deserves some portion of the blame, but nobody is more responsible for the disgraceful offensive output than the offensive line.
It has been overmatched in every single game played, and the running game has been nonexistent as a result.
Moreover, the pass protection was terrible against the Bills. The line allowed four sacks on Joe Flacco, and he got hit 12 times.
Coverage Against the Deep Ball
The defense has played well for the most part since its Week 1 debacle, but it's shown some busted coverages which have resulted in some big plays.
Robert Woods scored a 42-yard touchdown for the Buffalo Bills when Corey Graham was expecting safety help over the top and it wasn’t there.
In Week 5, the Ravens will face one of the most dangerous deep threats in the league and a player they know well—Mike Wallace.
Wallace has yet to make any long catches from Ryan Tannehill, and his longest catch of the year so far has been 34 yards. Despite that number, he is always a threat to take the top off a defense and Tannehill has the arm to find him.
The Miami Dolphins haven’t displayed a threatening rushing attack this year. They’re only one place ahead of Baltimore in rushing yards per game. Nevertheless, the Ravens defense needs to stop the run and force the Dolphins into the 3rd-and-long situations so it can get after Tannehill.
The Buffalo Bills piled up over 200 yards on the ground, and they were very effective running the ball on the early downs. They built drives as a result and dominated the time of possession.
For the Ravens to win in Week 5, they’ll need to tighten up on defense and prevent Miami from running the ball effectively.