Yes, but not this year

FACEOFF

Should We Expect The Ravens To Win 10 Games?

November 11, 2008|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG

The problem with low expectations is it's easy to lose all perspective.

If I had told Ravens fans at the start of the season that their team would finish with a 9-7 record and be fighting for a playoff berth in the final week, they would have wanted to hug me.

Now, if I'm prudent and cautious enough to suggest that same outcome, I'm the guy seen as a pessimistic hater. That's OK. I'd rather be wrong than be seen as a homer. And right now, I think the Ravens are most likely to go 3-4 over a brutal seven-game stretch and just miss the 10-win mark.

Like most of you, I've found this season such a delightful surprise, whatever happens from here on is just sprinkles on the banana split. When I watch Joe Flacco fling the ball down the field with effortless grace, I'm not really thinking playoffs. I'm thinking: I wish we could have cut the cord on the "Era of The Offensive Genius" sooner. Think of how many years of Ray Lewis' prime were wasted on Elvis Grbac, Randall Cunningham, Chris Redman, Jeff Blake, Kyle Boller, Anthony Wright and a broken-down Steve McNair. It's criminal. Just reading off those names makes me want to cry.

That said, the Bengals are the only team left on the schedule that the Ravens should be favored to beat. (Although that could change if the Dallas Cowboys continue their pathetic collapse.) The record of the Ravens' first eight opponents is 34-38. (They've played the Browns twice.) The record of their remaining opponents? 35-28. If Flacco can handle the blitz schemes of the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, then maybe it can happen.

I just don't think it's in the cards. That's OK, though. John Harbaugh is building something long term here, and with Flacco behind center, 10-win seasons are going to be a regular occurrence in Baltimore again.

Just not this year. This year is about enjoying the sprinkles.

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