Why the Ravens Aren't Built for Playoff Success

Jarrett CarterAnalyst IDecember 21, 2009

BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 20:  Ray Lewis #52, Kelly Gregg #97and Paul Kruger #99 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate a play against the Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bears 31-7. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

The sentiment is two down and two to go for the Baltimore Ravens.

They’ve dispatched of the Lions, and assaulted the Bears in a display reminiscent of the better days from the Monsters of the Midway . One game a showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers stands between the Ravens and a playoff spot (and a trap game against the Oakland Raiders that they can and should win).

But that will likely be all for this team. Their defense, while stout in the last two games against NFC North tomato cans, won’t likely hold soup against the third or fourth seed in the AFC playoffs.

The picture is shaping up to be an opening round game against the Cincinnati Bengals or New England Patriots. Winnable games if you compare what the Ravens have been able to do against what the Bengals and Patriots have produced in the weary and frozen last weeks of the NFL regular season.

I’m not so worried about the Bengals: Carson Palmer is injured , Cedric Benson is just recovering from injury , and in previous contests, the Bengals have shown a propensity to give up big plays, something the Ravens now seek more often than they did in the season’s first half.  Plus, Cincinnati is still smarting from the tragic death of Chris Henry , and there is no telling how deep that wound is for the Ravens’ AFC North rivals.

The Patriots? Yeah, they are always going to be a concern .

And there are still major questions about their defensive secondary, particularly with Ed Reed’s status and the knee injury to Lardarius Webb in yesterday’s game. The Ravens most glaring weakness now has two of its finest defenders hurting, and that’s without mentioning the deactivated Fabian Washington and Samari Rolle.

Add to that mix a passing offense that absolutely has to have Ray Rice get off to have any kind of production, and there is reason for fear in the playoff scenario.

Against teams that will make the playoffs this year, the Ravens are 3-6. Teams out of the playoff picture? 5-0.

And win or loss, it hasn’t been a fluke in favor of or working against the Ravens.

So no, the Ravens don’t look like a team ready to rip it up in the playoffs. They look decent, but Super Bowl runs are run on diesel talent not decent play against mediocre teams.

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