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Harbaugh: We Have Work Cut Out For Us

Posted Nov 4, 2013

The Ravens trail Cincinnati and Cleveland in the division, and have fallen behind in the wild-card race.

Since John Harbaugh arrived in Baltimore, making the playoffs has been the norm.

Harbaugh is the only head coach in NFL history to make the playoffs and win at least one playoff game in each of his first six seasons on the job. Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice have never gone through a season without a taste of playoff football.

If that trend is going to continue, the Ravens need to quickly get their season back on track after Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Browns, dropping them to 3-5 on the season. 

“It’s going to be a challenge, we are 3-5,” Harbaugh said Sunday when asked about the playoffs. “The math says it’s going to be a challenge. We’ve got our work cut out for us, we are going to have to win some games.”

The Ravens are now in third place in the division. They trail the Bengals (6-3) by 2.5 games and are a game behind the Browns (4-5).

The wild-card standings are not much better.

The Broncos (7-1) have a stronghold on the first wild-card spot, and then the Jets (5-4), Dolphins (4-4), Titans (4-4) and Chargers (4-4) all have better records than the Ravens. The Ravens have a better record than only four teams in the AFC.

“You’ve got to be positive, you have to keep your head and your eyes forward and that’s what we’re going to do,” Flacco said. “You have to stare it right in the face and just meet it. It’s obviously a little frustrating on Sundays and we just have to continue to work.”

A problem for the Ravens this year is that they have come up short in close games, compared to winning tight contests last season. In their current three-game losing streak, the Ravens lost to the Packers, Steelers and Browns by an average of 3.6 points.

They have lost three games this year by three points or less.

“We have to start winning close games,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the number one thing we need to get done. You do that first of all by not losing the game. You can’t put yourself in that position, you can’t make the kind of mistakes that create opportunities for your opponent. We’ve got way too much of that throughout the course of our season.”

While the conference standings look grim for the Ravens, they still have an opportunity to turn the season around with a run in the second half.

They play five of their final eight games at home, and have two games left to play against the Bengals. The Ravens also face the Jets in Week 12, a primary competitor for a wild-card spot.

The margin for error is razor thin for Baltimore, but the window is certainly still open for the group to make their sixth-straight trip to the postseason. 

“I know our players are good enough to win these games, there’s no doubt about it,” Harbaugh said. “We just have to play better, the mistakes have got to get cleaned up.  We have to make more plays.”

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