Baltimore Ravens: 5 Ways To Build Off Big Win
The Ravens 4-Game losing streak is over. This article will explain the 5 ways the Ravens can build off the big win.
Momentum is a big thing in sports, especially in football. If you can get a big win over your rival, it might help you for the rest of the season. Teams that make the playoffs and end up winning the Super Bowl go on long winning streaks. It isn’t always the best team in the NFL that wins the Super Bowl. It normally is the team that got hot at the right time.
The Ravens are a team that hasn’t lived up to their full potential. There is an abundance of talent on this team. Baltimore just got a huge win. There is still plenty of work to do.
The Ravens have eight more games this season to show that they are contenders or pretenders. Below are my five ways the Ravens should build off the win against the Steelers on Sunday.
To build off the win against the Steelers, the Ravens defense will need to step up each and every game. The Ravens might have a shot at the playoffs if the defense plays with discipline. The secondary was fantastic and I don’t think we’ve seen them play that well in a few years. If the Ravens defense shines like that on a regular basis, the Ravens are contenders.
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The defense needs to limit the big plays and stay away from the penalty flags. While the defense has been highly ranked every week of the season, big plays have been a problem. You saw it against the Jets. You saw it against the Giants and the Raiders. Dean Pees just called his best game of the season. The Ravens need a lot more of this kind of defense. Pees normally gets criticized with the way he calls a game, but Sunday he had a great game plan.
Getting pressure and knowing when to a call a blitz is a key for the Ravens. Increasing the pass rush helps the secondary. The Ravens defense has been solid this season. Limiting the mental mistakes, and allowing fewer big plays will give the Ravens a chance to win every week. Rookie Tavon Young has been a sleeper for the Ravens and he’s held his own opposite Jimmy Smith at cornerback.
The Running Game
The Ravens offensive line gave Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon some running room yesterday. If the Ravens running backs can get more of that for the rest of the way, it will open up the offense even more. The offense has become predictable at times so a running game would change that.
Joe Flacco has thrown more passes than any quarterback in football. When in doubt, defensive coordinators can just worry about their pass defense. The running game is an element of their offense that the Ravens haven’t leaned on enough.
I’m used to the Ravens playing smash mouth football. Smash mouth football was a way to run it down the other team’s throat. The game has changed. Now teams don’t have one featured back. The Ravens are following the trend of having two running backs with different running styles. The Ravens need a great running game when the weather gets colder and harsher and the opponents get tougher. The more you run against an opponent, the more they get tired towards the end of the game, which is an advantage.
John Harbaugh was the special teams coach for the Philadelphia Eagles before being hired by the Ravens. He’s always stressed the importance of winning on all 3 phases of the game. This season, the Ravens Special Teams have been, special. No other team in the league has more punts and field goals blocked than the Ravens.
The Ravens have to do a better job returning kickoffs and punts. Devin Hester has been lackluster in his short tenure with the Ravens. Getting more out of the return game would help in the field position battle. Getting better at stopping opposing punt returners would also help the Ravens defense tremendously. If it wasn’t for the Redskins returning that punt for a touchdown, the Ravens would’ve probably won that game.
You never know if a blocked field goal might end up being the difference between a win or a loss. Having a great special teams unit can be the difference maker in an important playoff game. The Ravens have had two of the best field goal kickers in NFL history. First, it was Matt Stover, now it is Justin Tucker. The Ravens lost games due to missed field goals by Steven Hauschka and Billy Cundiff in between the two great kickers. We know we have to appreciate what we have in number nine.
John Harbaugh is a good coach, but his game planning can be a little lackluster. Plenty of Ravens games have started out slow or they end up losing a lead towards the end of the game. John Harbaugh needs to change the way he coaches in hopes of propelling this team into the playoffs again.
The whole team needs to be more aggressive and they need to start off games better. You can’t afford to have slow starts against teams in the playoffs. Starting off slow against a team in the playoffs will make it harder for the Ravens to advance.
The Ravens fired Marc Trestman earlier this season due to the lack of offense. Even after the firing, the Ravens offense struggled. A lot of fans were beginning to wonder if it was John Harbaugh’s fault. How many coordinators can you get rid of before you are the one that loses your job?
If Harbaugh didn’t have his team turn it around after the bye, I would have started thinking about his potential replacements. Now, we have to get back to living in the moment and vying for a playoff run. It’s only one win, but maybe Harbaugh and the Ravens can salvage this season in the weak AFC North Division.
The Offensive Line
The last way the Ravens can improve after a big win is the offensive line. If the offensive line can run and pass block better, the Ravens will be able to sustain long drives. The Ravens did a good job against the Steelers, but it was the first time in a month since all of the offensive line was playing together.
With more playing time together the line can start to come together. The Ravens can get on a long winning streak if the offensive line plays well and mostly penalty free. The longer the offense is on the field, the more it benefits the Ravens defense by giving them rests, so they aren’t tired at the end of the game.
If the Ravens can build off the win with the 5 ways I discussed above, we will be seeing John Harbaugh and the Ravens in the playoffs yet again. The Offensive line to me is most important for the Ravens. One of the perceived strengths going into this season was the offense with the signing of Mike Wallace and Steve Smith Sr. coming back from injury. It also helped that Joe Flacco was going to be behind center and Breshad Perriman was finally healthy. This offense can turn it around.
The line has been a disappointed for most of the season. I saw a lot of promise out of them yesterday and you can see when Flacco finally has time, he can get the ball out instead of running for his life. The Ravens have all the talent in the world to put up a lot of points and stop the other team from scoring. It’s only a matter of time before the Ravens make a run at the playoffs.