After a weekend off, the Ravens (2-6) return to work this week as they prepare to host the Jaguars (2-6) on Sunday. Here are five questions for the Ravens heading into the second half of the season:
1, Can Ravens coach John Harbaugh avoid his first losing season?
The Ravens never expected to be 2-6 at this point. Harbaugh’s worst season since joining the Ravens in 2008 was an 8-8 finish in 2013. Going 6-2 over the final eight games will be difficult, but at least the schedule looks less daunting in November and December, with five home games and just three on the road.
2. Who will the Ravens’ leading pass catcher be without Steve Smith?
Will it be a wide receiver ike Kamar Aiken or Chris Givens, a tight end like Crockett Gillmore, or even a running back like Justin Forsett? Somehow, the Ravens must find a way to move the ball effectively through the air without Smith (torn Achilles), their top receiver by far through the first eight games.
3.Will this be Joe Flacco’s first 4,000-yard passing season?
Flacco already has 2,176 passing yards, so he’s on pace to reach 4,000. However, that’s an indication of how often the Ravens have trailed in games. The Ravens would like to have a more balanced attack, especially without Smith. But Flacco will carry a heavy load in the final eight games, meaning his first 4.000-yard season seems likely.
4. Can the Ravens’ secondary reduce its glaring mistakes?
Giving up big plays will happen from time to time. But too often, the Ravens have left receivers open due to miscommunication or mental mistakes. That needs to change for the Ravens to improve defensively.
5. Can the Ravens force more turnovers?
The Ravens haven’t forced a turnover since Week 3, and they have just three interceptions all season. Forcing more turnovers and generating some easy points would help the Ravens change their fortunes.