It was a long week in Baltimore following Monday night's second half collapse and against the Texans. Sports talk shows were flooded with disgruntled fans. Columnist in the local paper were writing the obituary for this season. This came following a 24-28 WIN. The 4-9 Ravens will take on the 10-3 defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Sunday in Baltimore.
Oh, wait a minute, the Ravens are 9-4 and most likely headed for a playoff berth. It didn't sound or read that way in the Charm City this week. Granted, the Ravens are a disappointing 9-4, if that’s possible, but expectations were higher for an offense that continues to struggle. Defensively, the Ravens were always a question mark in the secondary, and blowing eight fourth-quarter leads this season shows us that Ray Lewis while doing his best can no longer will this defense as he once could.
With that said, a victory against the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Sunday will make for a great Christmas week in Baltimore, and if the Ravens can get to 10-4, no matter how they get there, fans should feel a lot better about this team’s prospects in January.
The Ravens may have a little karma on their side, and while karma doesn't win football games, it can't hurt.
Longtime Ravens head coach and now Fox NFL analyst Brian Billick will be in the booth calling the game. This is the second time Billick has called a game for Fox involving the Ravens. Last season Billick was in the booth when the Ravens thumped the Chicago Bears 31-7.
The karma Billick brings is his record at M&T Bank Stadium in December. The Ravens were 16-8 at home in December with Billick and 24-14 overall in the month. Billick was 85-67 with one Super Bowl victory in his nine seasons with the Ravens.
By the way, that Bears game Billick called last season involving the Ravens, yeah, that was also in December.
Billick always took criticism from media because he ran soft training camps in August. Billick’s camps were informally known as "Camp Billick", run like a summer camp for kids. The Ravens record under Billick in December would indicate the Ravens were fresher and had better legs under them for the late-season run.
On the flip side, Harbaugh is known for tougher camps where pads are worn constantly in the western Maryland heat. The Ravens do not look very fresh right now and were clearly dragging last Monday night. The Ravens are 6-4 under Harbaugh in December.
Whatever karma or good luck Billick brings, the Ravens will need to execute these five keys if they are to move past Drew Brees and the Saints.