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No explanations for Ravens' futile offense

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No explanations for Ravens' futile offense

After weeks of deflecting questions about their dual personalities on the road, particularly on offense, the Ravens couldn't call on their security blanket -- "We still got the W" -- after Sunday's 43-13 blowout loss to the Houston Texans.

Instead of "win" they're faced with another "W" word: Why?

They're at a loss trying to explain how such a prolific offense at home (32.2 points per game) loses its potency on road trips (15.0), and they've yet to travel for AFC North division games.

"I don't have an explanation. If I did we'd fix them," Ravens receiver Torrey Smith said. "We're calling the same stuff, running the same stuff, but for whatever reason we haven't been executing on the road well."

The Ravens started out well in their first road trip against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. They posted 17 points in the first half before wilting in a 24-23 loss. They started out well vs. the Texans, driving into their territory on the first drive but settling for a 51-yard field goal from Justin Tucker.

They only got two field goals from Tucker in the second half of the Eagles game, failed to score a touchdown in four quarters at the Kansas City Chiefs in a 9-6 victory and then just one end-zone visit vs. the Texans, who'd already put the game out of reach.

The total yardage for the hurry-up offense in those games has gotten progressively worse. Baltimore had 325 vs. the Eagles, 298 vs. the Chiefs and just 176 Sunday in a battle of 5-1 teams. The Texans had been winless in five tries against their conference rival.

If the Ravens were a young team, having difficulties away from home would be understandable and could be written off as part of the growth process. But they have experience at every key position along the offense, with the exception of rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele.

In going 12-4 last season and advancing to the AFC title game vs. the New England Patriots, the Ravens were 4-5 on the road. They averaged 19.8 points there compared with 26.5 in Baltimore for nine games.

They're certain to be a below-.500 team on the road again at this rate. The Ravens are so dominant at home with a 14-game winning streak that they still may have enough to make the playoffs. But it won't be a deep run.

Ravens safety Ed Reed tried to explain the loss to the Texans, who were coming off a 42-24 spanking to the Green Bay Packers, this way: "They scored 43 points but that's mistakes we made. Houston is a great team. We knew after they played against Green Bay, you got to know they're are going to come and fight their hearts out  and protect their field.

"Like I told the guys, it's like we're two different teams at home and on the road.  We can't be that. We can't go out there and make the mistakes that we made and expect to be in the game. I know I looked up one time we gave up 12 first downs in the first half and we had three first downs on offense. You can't win like that. … We don't get any turnovers and the plays we should make but didn't make, they get turnovers and they score. That momentum shifted and they rode that wave."

After this bye week, they're at the one-win Cleveland Browns on Nov. 4. If the Ravens can't snap out of it there, then maybe it will be time to push the panic button.

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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