How Does This Happen?

The Ravens are a couple of head scratchers from being at least 8-1. photo:board.jokeroo.com

If the playoffs started today . . . whoa, whoa, whoa!  It’s waaay to early for that kind of talk.  But if the playoffs did start today, the Houston Texans would be the top seed in the AFC.  Yes, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC would go through Reliant Stadium.  That’s all fine, well, and good.  Especially if you’re a Texans fan rooting for a team who has yet to even make the playoffs in their franchise history.

I’m not disrespecting the Texans in any way, but the Baltimore Ravens should be the number one seed in the AFC right now.  Sure, they’re a solid 6-3 and are right in the thick of things in the AFC North.  But they should be at least 8-1, a full game and a half ahead of the Texans whom they beat 29-14 head to head in Baltimore on October 16.  I have a theory on this, close your eyes Ravens fans, this will be hard to read.  It’s called the Steeler Effect.

Yes, the Steeler Effect, even when you beat the Steelers you still lose to the Steelers.  Trust me, I hate giving them credit just as much as you do, but let’s take a look at it.  The Ravens opened the season against the Steelers at home.  They absolutely annihilated them 35-7, forced 7 turnovers, dominated in every way possible, and sent the statement of all statements right off the bat.  The next week they go to Nashville and get lit up 26-13 by Matt Hasselbeck and a one dimensional Titans team.

That’s just one fluky example right?  Maybe.  I’m going to throw out the loss to Jacksonville on Monday Night Football.  The offense was nowhere to be found.  The defense allowed just 12 points, so a few first downs and sustained drives by Joe Flacco and company should have been enough to get by the Jags.  I know the NFL is all about parity and balance and that teams go from worst to first and first to worst all the time, but still, c’mon.  Every good team also lays an egg or two at some point during the season, that was one of their egg games.

Let’s move ahead to the next game, a home date against the hapless Arizona Cardinals.  The Ravens dug themselves into a deep 24-3 hole before Anquan Boldin put them on his back and helped them rally to a 30-27 victory, the largest comeback win in franchise history.  Who did Baltimore just happen to be playing the following week?  You guessed it, Pittsburgh at Heinz Field.  Were they looking ahead to the Steelers?  Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t.

They left Pittsburgh with a 23-20 win.  Joe Flacco got all clutch on the Black and Gold, finding Torrey Smith for the game winner with :08 left on the clock.  It was the first time Baltimore had swept the season series from Pittsburgh since 2006.  Time to keep the momentum going right?  Surely they wouldn’t stub their toe against another bad team right after taking care of the Steelers.  Another inferior opponent, another stubbed toe, they went out and confirmed that there might just be something to the Steeler Effect.  One Marshawn Lynch touchdown and five Steven Hauschka field goals later, Seattle somehow improved to 3-6, beating Baltimore 22-17.

Is it the end of the world?  No, but it has to be frustrating for them not to be able to handle teams everybody knows they are better than.  For now they’ll just have to settle for being tied for second in their division behind, you guessed it, Pittsburgh.  All they can do now is hope other teams can beat the Steelers.  Sad news for Houston, Matt Schaub is out for the season with a foot injury.  Even sadder news for Houston, Matt Leinart will take over as their starting quarterback now,  Maybe that #1 spot in the AFC got just a little easier for the Ravens to get. 

Agree, disagree, agree to disagree, it doesn’t matter.  Scroll down and leave a comment below, on the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Hardyboysportsblog or on Twitter @VinnyHardy.

About the Author

My name is Vinny Hardy. I am a freelance sports blogging correspondent for the John Boy & Billy Big Show. I'm from Lynch Kentucky. I currently live in Morristown, Tennessee. My wife Katie and I have been married for 10 years and we have a 3 year old son, Micah. I would like to thank Will West of WNML in Knoxville for urging me to start blogging and the Big Show's very own Terry Hanson for his unbelievable mentoring and support. Without him absolutely none of this is possible. I hope you enjoy the blog. The articles can also be seen on theisn.net, check out that site too. Leave a comment and definitely come back regularly and see what's new.