At 3-1, entering their bye week, the Baltimore Ravens sit in prime position in the AFC.
They have already handled the two teams from last year’s AFC title game rather easily, as both teams appear to be in complete disarray. The Peyton Manning-less Colts, who have given the Ravens trouble time and again, will apparently be a non-factor. The New England Patriots, also at 3-1, look to be for real, but they still have games remaining against most of the other AFC contenders.
The Ravens could very well be 4-0, but lets face it, perfection in the NFL has become unreachable. At 3-1, considering what has transpired in the AFC, the Ravens are in tip top shape to make a run in their conference.
Could the bye week have come at a better time for this team?
Key injuries have hampered the Ravens at a number of positions, most notably at cornerback. Both Jimmy Smith (ankle) and Chris Carr (hamstring) are expected to return to the field by Week 6 when the Ravens welcome the Houston Texans to M&T Bank Stadium. Also, receiver Lee Evans, who has been bothered by a sore ankle, hopes to make his return Week 6 as well. And let’s not forget, the Ravens have been without their best offensive linemen Ben Grubbs, who continues to nurse an injured toe.
Following the Houston Texans in Week 6, the Ravens schedule shapes up nicely, as they will play two very winnable games, at Jacksonville and then home against the Arizona Cardinals, before going to Pittsburgh for their rematch against the Steelers.
From that point on, the only elite competition left on the regular season schedule is the San Diego Chargers, who will host the Ravens in Week 15.
On the flip side, I’m sure the Pittsburgh Steelers would love to have this week off. After losing to the Houston Texans 17-10, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was in a walking boot, and sack specialist James Harrison fractured his facial bone, which will cause him to miss several weeks.
Regardless, we are just four games into the season and nobody should be thinking about scenarios and tiebreakers, especially in a division that features the likes of a Pittsburgh Steelers. Banged up or not, the Steelers usually find a way to be there in the end.
That being said, Ravens fans should be very pleased with how this team has positioned themselves a quarter of the way through the season.