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End Of The Road For Ravens Road Woes?

Posted Dec 14, 2013

If the Ravens are going to make the playoffs, they have to get the job done on the road.

As running back Ray Rice said, winning at M&T Bank Stadium in front of the home fans is something the Ravens cherish.

They’ve had a good run over the past three games, playing a complete game against the Jets, toppling their rival Steelers then coming back in thrilling fashion against the Vikings.

But if the current three-game winning streak is going to mean anything, if the Ravens are going to make the playoffs, they need to do the job on the road.

Hanging onto the final playoff spot in the chase for the wild card, the Ravens have two of their final three games in enemy territory. And it starts Monday night in what will be a raucous Ford Field.

“We’ve got to learn how to win on the road to be a championship team,” safety James Ihedigbo said. “To be where we want to be, we have to win on the road.”

The Ravens are 1-5 away from home this season. Their only victory on the road came in Miami on Oct. 6. Since then, they fell in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago. Baltimore also lost in Denver and Buffalo.

It’s an unusual occurance for the Ravens under Head Coach John Harbaugh. They finished under .500 on the road just once over the past five seasons (3-5 in 2009), and that’s the best finish they can ask for this season. Baltimore split on the road (4-4) the past two years.

“There is no disrespect calling a spade a spade,” outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “But the season isn’t over yet. We still have two on the road, and we need these two.”

So what’s been the problem this year?

The offense has scored points. It’s averaged 21.2 points on the road and 21.3 at home. The Ravens have averaged more rushing yards per carry on the ground and allowed fewer sacks.

The biggest problem has been turnovers. Quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown 17 interceptions this season. Of those, 11 have been on the road.

“We’re just not playing well enough consistently, and turnovers are always a big part of that,” Flacco said. “But we’ve put ourselves in a lot of bad situations. We haven’t kept ourselves on the field – converting first downs, turnovers – we haven’t scored touchdowns at times when we’ve needed to consistently enough. It’s been a combination of things.

“We always tend to play a little bit better at home in the regular season, for whatever reason; I don’t really know why that is. So, yes, I’m always a little bit surprised when our record away is so much different than our record at home. But, going down the stretch here, I have all the confidence in the world that we’ll get it going and we’ll play some good games away.”

The Ravens will have to contend with what will likely be a very noisy environment. Combine a Monday Night Football primetime atmosphere, playoff-like stakes and a dome and it’s going to get loud.

“We’re looking forward to it being very noisy in there, because the noise in the dome, it doesn’t go anywhere; it stays right in the dome,” Rice said.

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