1) The Baltimore offensive line is just not creating any kind of separation for the running game to be successful or prevalent.
Over the last eight games there have been many questions surrounding the Raven's franchise running back Ray Rice and his extremely slow start.
The All-Pro running back has had a horrible start to the season making one wonder if the treads on his tires are wearing thin.
However, after watching the entire Ravens' running game produce an abysmal 85 yards on 30 attempts, I have to say I am convinced that it is definitely not just Ray.
The Ravens decided to trade for standout LT Eugene Monroe, formally of the Jacksonville Jaguars, in hope of him bringing size and strength to a line that needs toughness.
It will still need to play itself out in regards to how this trade has worked out, but either way, the running game needs to successful in order for the Ravens to have any hopes of post season play.
2) Players are more enticed to try and intercept than to bat the ball down
How many times have we heard the statement, “Just bat they ball down and don’t tip it in the air??” If I am correct it is the main focal point of the Hail Mary drills each and every NFL team use on a yearly basis.
Unfortunately, every year there seems to be one player who feels he is immune to the rule and decides to try for the interception, instead of just batting it away.
In 2013, that player is James Ihedigbo of the Baltimore Ravens. Consequently, this is the same guy who had two interceptions in this game, but those accomplishments quickly became diminished on the final play. Ihedigbo had the biggest stake in Justin Tucker's leg, beings his conscious rested solely on that last kick. Thankfully for him, the kick was good.
3) Andy Dalton is still an inconsistent game day quarterback
There is always talk in Cincinnati on the topic of the quarterback position. Andy Dalton was given the reins in 2011 and responded by becoming the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns as well as win at least eight games.
This is the moment Marvin Lewis has seen the future of his franchise and where he thought this kid could lead them. However, there have been too many inconsistent weeks in order to think he will ever be a Super Bowl quarterback for this team.
4) The Baltimore Ravens miss their veteran leaders
Following the 2013 Super Bowl winning season, the Baltimore Ravens seen some very important people leave the team for financial reasons, as well as retirement.
Obviously, future Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis, figured to be the main loss because of the spiritual guidance and veteran leadership he bestowed upon this team. When they were down, Ray was always there to pick them up and help them respond.
This, accumulated with Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Cary Williams, and Dannell Ellerbe, some of the most integral parts of the Ravens' defensive foundation were gone, leaving a lot of young and inexperienced players to fill the void, something that is not easy to do.
5) The Super Bowl hangover is real
Every year we talk about how the effects of a grueling NFL season and post season wear on the team and its coaches. There is a lot of mental and physical energy that goes into winning a Super Bowl, leaving one to say it makes you unprepared on how to deal with all issues that arise throughout the entire process.
Obviously the body becomes worn down by the extra games and minutes, but sometimes the brain is so overloaded for those extra two months, that it needs time to properly come back to life and breath some new knowledge into the air. This is what I see form the Ravens this year and do not think it is something they will overcome.
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