Are we there but? Have the Ravens pushed their followers to that great however barely treacherous soccer vacation spot often called “Tremendous Bowl or bust”?
Ordinarily, I’d be hesitant to carry it up. It’s fairly a burden to position on a crew, unfair in a approach. The one applicable ending to an exquisite season is a visit to the Tremendous Bowl? Whew, that’s tough, a excessive bar for any crew to clear in any season. The NFL is insanely aggressive. Stuff occurs. And all these highs you skilled alongside the best way get diminished should you fall brief?
However there’s no avoiding it, I believe, after the Ravens’ large win over the New York Jets Thursday evening.
They haven’t misplaced since September. Shoot, they’ve trailed on the scoreboard for all of 9 snaps since Week 8. They’re blistering opponents. They’re on the verge of a first-round bye and home-field benefit all through the AFC playoffs. Their quarterback is near a lock for league MVP. Their offense is near unstoppable.
What different conclusion is there?
I’ll provide the “intestine” check: After watching Lamar Jackson and the Ravens dominate for thus lengthy, would you are feeling let down in the event that they didn’t get to the Tremendous Bowl?
Oh, positive, there’d be loads to savor in the event that they didn’t make it, beginning with a future as shiny as a sunny spring afternoon. Seth Roberts is the one offensive piece not already below contract for 2020. The entrance workplace may have a ton of wage cap room to make the most of within the upcoming offseason.
It doesn’t matter what occurs within the postseason, a window of alternative has been thrown large open and gained’t shut anytime quickly.
Nonetheless, the Ravens’ odds of going to the Tremendous Bowl can’t be higher than they’re proper now. Sometimes, in all sports activities, you simply watch a crew and perceive it’s their 12 months, their time. A light-weight doesn’t actually come on, however you recognize it while you see it. That’s the place the Ravens are. The items have fallen into place. The standard obstacles have fallen away. A mix of expertise, confidence and momentum has created a suffocating drive.
That’s not native bias. FiveThirtyEight’s statistical mannequin offers the Ravens a 38 p.c probability of successful the Tremendous Bowl. No different crew is increased than 16 p.c. (For the file, I’m simply speaking about making the Tremendous Bowl for now.)
That doesn’t imply a visit to Miami is definite. Important challenges loom within the playoffs. The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs have dealt Jackson two of his three regular-season defeats, together with one in Week three this 12 months. Dismissing the New England Patriots is past silly. The Pittsburgh Steelers all the time play Baltimore robust.
My two cents, the Ravens must be most involved about an opponent in a position to rating with them, i.e., area an offense that may dent Baltimore’s protection sufficient to maintain up with Jackson and his unit on the scoreboard.
I believe you’re in bother in opposition to the Ravens should you can’t rating so much. However should you can, the Ravens’ protection has wobbled at times, most lately Thursday evening early. That’s how potential upsets begin to kind.
However to be clear, essentially the most intense stress will all the time be on the opposite crew, not the Ravens. That’ll be the stress of attempting to match a novel offense and dynamic quarterback whom defenses seemingly can’t cease.
Some will recommend I’m late with this, that followers reached the “Tremendous Bowl or bust” level just a few weeks in the past. Maybe, however like many, I stored ready for some signal that the Ravens would return to earth. Hey, even Professional Bowl guard Marshal Yanda mentioned Thursday evening he’d been ready for Jackson’s “rising pains” recreation.
However Yanda is not ready for that. Jackson is in charge of each recreation, and the Ravens are locked in like by no means earlier than, totally positive of who they’re and what they’re doing.
“That is one of the best crew I’ve ever been on,” Yanda mentioned. “We’ve gained 10 video games in a row. I’ve been on some nice groups, however we by no means gained 10 video games in a row.”
There are occasions to be cautious with expectations. Now isn’t such a time.