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Ravens Defense Must Step Up To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

By Samuel Njoku

The Ravens knew they had a chance to be special this season. Both the coaching staff and the players knew that this team could be great. You felt it when the Ravens coaches would address the media in the offseason. You saw it with the way the players would enter the practice field – genuinely excited to be there. The Ravens are supposed to be great this year.

So what happened…?

The Baltimore Ravens are an above average team with not enough juice to get over the hump. Some of it has to do with the recent play of Joe Flacco. The talent of the other 3 teams in their division doesn’t help. But it’s the defense that has dropped the ball in 2014 –it’s a shame too. If Baltimore had a decent secondary they could very well be 8-2 or better heading into their bye. Instead, they find themselves at 6-4, teetering between the realms of mediocre and underachievers.

“It’s hard not to look back at the ones that got away and feel like, ‘Man, what if we had won this one or that one,” stated Ravens Coach John Harbaugh.

Coach Harbaugh gets it. He knows Baltimore should be running away with the division. But the team is being held back by a secondary that can’t keep the ball in front of them. Even before Jimmy Smith was injured, this team struggled to perform. With him out for the season with a foot injury, fans hold their breath any time an opposing quarterback drops back to pass. Dean Pees will have his work cut out for him these final 6 games. Danny Gorrer and Tramain Jacobs were necessary acts of desperation. Though Anthony Levine played well against Tennessee, there is not an atom of comparison between Zack Mettenberger and Drew Brees. He’ll be tested early and often next week. A true analysis of the new makeshift secondary is coming and fans have a right to be skeptical.

The return of Asa Jackson may be what saves Baltimore’s defense. If he can come back healthy soon and Anthony Levine plays anywhere near as good as he played on Sunday, Baltimore will win this division. But if the defense reverts back to their porous form, the Ravens may find themselves out of the playoffs for a second straight season.

For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.

Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.

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