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Ravens' 0-2 start makes playoff odds slim

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Ravens' 0-2 start makes playoff odds slim

The Ravens’ odds of making the playoffs are severely stacked against them.

Just 23 of 204 NFL teams (11.2%) have made the playoffs after starting 0-2 since 1990.  That’s when the NFL began the current 12-team playoff format.

The Colts beat the odds last season, reaching the AFC Championship game after losing their first two games. The Panthers made the playoffs after starting 0-2 in 2013.

Will the Ravens do it? Here’s how I rank the nine 0-2 teams and their playoff chances.

BEST CHANCE TO BEAT THE ODDS

1. Seahawks – They haven’t played a home game, and they’ve still got a ton of talent as defending NFC champs. However, they need to get tight end Jimmy Graham the ball more, and it would also help the defense greatly if they settled safety Kam Chancellor’s contract dispute.

2. Giants – Despite finding different ways to lose games late, I still think New York is the best team in the NFC Least. Whoops, I mean NFC East. And while Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is injured, Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford looks uncertain, and Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is unproven, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings and is durable.

3. Colts – Hard to believe how much they are struggling offensively. But I have to believe quarterback Andrew Luck will get his act together, and the AFC South just isn’t that good. I could see the Colts still winning this division.

4. Ravens – Losing Terrell Suggs was a major blow, but the Ravens have a history of playing their best football late in the season. If they don’t let the brutal September-October schedule bury them too deep, the Ravens will be in the hunt come December. Having said all that, if they don’t beat the Bengals on Sunday, I think the Ravens are toast. Even as a wild card.

DON’T SEE IT HAPPENING

5. Texans – Even after running back Arian Foster returns, Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer will be their quarterbacks. Not feeling that.

6. Eagles – Coach Chip Kelly really gambled, parting with offensive weapons as talented as LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson over the past two years. The bad start will only raise doubts among players about Kelly’s system. We’re about to find out how good Kelly really is.

7. Saints – I kept waiting for this team to right itself last year, and it didn’t happen. Now quarterback Drew Brees is not 100 percent healthy. They are not fooling me again.

STICK A FORK IN THEM, THEY’RE DONE

8. Lions – The Lions’ next three games are against teams that made the playoffs last season – Broncos, Seahawks, Cardinals. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford took a beating Sunday against the Vikings. I don’t see Detroit’s season turning around.

9. Bears – Just a hunch, but I’m guessing Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman doesn’t miss coaching Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. 

RELATED: Did Ravens copy Patriots formation trick? 

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Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

The Baltimore Ravens went into the Tennessee Titans' home and completely robbed them in a 21-0 shutout win.

Here are the players and plays that stood out from the afternoon.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME: Ravens Defense

The Ravens defense had a historic afternoon recording a franchise-record 11 sacks. Yup, you read that right. 11 sacks.

Za'Darius Smith led the way with three, followed by Patrick Onwuasor with two and Matthew Judon, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson, Kenny Young, Anthony Levine Sr. and Chris Wormley with one apiece. The 11 sacks tied for the second most by a team in league history and the most in a game since 2012.  It was so historic, the Ravens changed their Twitter name to included 11 S's. 

But that wasn't the only impressive part of the Ravens' afternoon. Marcus Mariota was limited to 10 completions and the defense allowed just 51 passing yards  —  the fewest in franchise history  — and 55 rushing yards. The Titans finished the afternoon 1-for-10 on third down as well.

With the shutout, the Ravens defense cemented its place as one of the NFL's most elite units in 2018. A win that must have been extra sweet after a 12-9 overtime loss to the Browns the week prior and with former defensive coordinator Dean Pees staring back from the opposite sideline. The Ravens remain the only NFL team to not allow a second-half touchdown this season. 

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE GAME: Michael Crabtree

After dropping what would have been the game-winning touchdown Week 5 against the Browns, Michael Crabtree said his priority this week was to get back into the lab and correct his mistakes. Out the gate, the veteran receiver stayed true to his word finishing the Ravens' first drive catching three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Earlier in the week, Joe Flacco had faith his receiver would get over the hump of six drops in five games and was willing to stand by him until it happened.

"Besides just trying to give him the confidence that, you know, I'm still going his way when he calls for it and I still believe that it's going to be the difference...it's something that he'll definitely get over," Flacco said.

The patience worked as Crabtree finished the day with six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown leading all Ravens receivers.

But more importantly, the relationship between Crabtree and Flacco continues to grow.

"That’s trust. That’s what you need in football, you know," Crabtree said postgame. "Quarterback, receiver relationship. It’s only going to get better. It’s all about how much time you put in, how much work you put in. I’m new; this is my first year here so I got to do what I got to do."

STAT OF THE GAME: Flacco makes his way into the history books

With 25 completions Sunday against the Titans, Flacco became the third different quarterback in NFL history to complete 25 or more passes in nine consecutive games, per the NFL's communication department. Drew Brees sits atop the list with 11 and 10 consecutive games followed by Peyton Manning with nine. Flacco finished the 21-0 win 25-for-37 with 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 

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Ravens pile up team-record 11 sacks against former defensive coordinator

Ravens pile up team-record 11 sacks against former defensive coordinator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Baltimore Ravens swarmed around their new defensive coordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale, celebrating after a game that will go down in the record books.

Getting 11 sacks along with a shutout against the man Martindale replaced makes this mark even sweeter.

Za'Darius Smith had a career-high three sacks as the Ravens piled up the franchise-record Sunday in routing the Tennessee Titans 21-0 in the rain, just missing the NFL record shared by five teams by one.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh called it an "historic defensive performance."

The Ravens (4-2) smothered Tennessee, allowing just 106 yards of offense while they turned Marcus Mariota's day into the worst of his NFL career. Eight different Ravens sacked Mariota, and four got their first sack this season at his expense. The Titans never got closer to the end zone than the Ravens 37, each time pushed back with yet another sack.

"We want to be something special out there," Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon said. "For Wink, it's great to go against his predecessor, and he stepped up and we came through and pitched a shutout. You don't ever talk about unicorns while you're doing it, but we got it done. We got it done for him, and we celebrated after."

Martindale was promoted to defensive coordinator when Dean Pees retired after last season. His retirement lasted less than a month with first-year coach Mike Vrabel luring Pees to join him as the Titans' defensive coordinator.

Asked about Pees, Smith only said that the coordinator told him at his pro day at Kentucky that the linebacker would be a Raven.

"Love him to death, but hey, we won tonight, so we're going to leave it at that," Smith said with a smile.

The Titans (3-3) had not been shut out at home since the franchise relocated to Tennessee.

"That's the headline: The `Tennessee Titans didn't do nearly enough on all levels to win the football game,'" Vrabel said. "Or even make it competitive."

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