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Late For Work 11/14: AFC Doesn't Want To See Ravens In Playoffs


AFC Doesn't Want To See Ravens In Playoffs

The Ravens may be the scariest AFC team with a losing record.

Despite their disappointing 4-5 start to the season, the reigning Super Bowl champs are still considered dangerous and a team that opponents would like to avoid.

"The one team that none of the other AFC playoff teams want to see in the playoffs is the Ravens," wrote's Mike Florio.

Receiver Torrey Smith told "Mike and Mike" on ESPN radio that he feels the Ravens are mathematically in a "great place" within the playoff race.  If the Ravens start clicking, all those close losses could be flipped to wins.

AFC Team Wins Losses
Kansas City Chiefs 9 0
New England Patriots 7 2
Indianapolis Colts 6 3
Cincinnati Bengals 6 4
Denver Broncos 8 1
New York Jets 5 4
Miami Dolphins 4 5
Tennessee Titans 4 5
Cleveland Browns 4 5
Baltimore Ravens 4 5
San Diego Chargers 4 5
Oakland Raiders 3 6
Pittsburgh Steelers 3 6
Buffalo Bills 3 7
Houston Texans 2 7
Jacksonville Jaguars 1 8

"We still haven't played our best ball, which is a positive," Smith said.

And therein lies the potential danger of the Ravens.

They've shown a tendency to go on runs and stack wins once they put everything together.

"Listen, we saw what the Ravens did last year," Heath Evans said on the NFL Network. "We know they're capable of putting lightening in a bottle and kind of getting hot at the right time. Joe Flacco proved me wrong last year, and he might do it again this year."

The chances of getting to the playoffs – where anything can happen – are still good.

The Ravens are just one loss from the division-leading Bengals, and one game away from the second wild-card spot currently held by the Jets.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley predicts that a 10-6 record will win the AFC North, which means Baltimore would have to go on a 5-1 run leading up to the season finale at Cincinnati. If the Ravens don't beat Cincy, he believes that a 9-7 record will be good enough for the final AFC wild-card spot.

"Who will win the AFC North?" asked's Ross Jones and Sid Saraf. "The Ravens – even with an ugly offense – are just one game behind Cincinnati in the loss column. Who knows what will happen?"

Rex Ryan, Ed Reed Reunion?

If former Ravens safety Ed Reed chooses the football field over the golf course, there are two teams that could be interested: the Jets and Patriots.

Reed cleared waivers yesterday after being cut by the Texans, and has returned home to Atlanta to decide his next step, according to's Jason La Canfora.

"Jets head coach Rex Ryan would like to bring him in – Reed starred for Ryan when he coached him in Baltimore – and sources said the Pats also have interest," La Canfora reported. "Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have long been big fans of Reed's and Belichick has a history of bringing in savvy vets late in their career, and late in the season.

"Brady might call Reed soon as well, hoping to lure him to New England for a shot at another ring after Reed's Ravens beat the Pats in the playoffs last year en route to the Super Bowl."

Ryan admitted to media in New York that he had internal conversations about the prospect of adding Reed.

"If we did, I keep that conversation private and all that kind of stuff," Ryan said. "But part of due diligence, if you've coached a player, I'm sure you would want that input. So, did we have it? I think it's safe to say yes. …

"Look, the way I am, I could say absolutely yes, I would like him on our team. And I'll say that knowing you guys know me. Anybody that I've ever coached, that bled for me, I want them."

Do Ravens Players Want Reed Back?

Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed yesterday the Ravens have no plans of reaching out to Reed and re-singing him to the squad.

But would Reed's former Ravens teammates like to see him back in the locker room?

"Well, I've heard some guys say, 'Hey, Ed just got released from the Texans,'" defensive lineman Chris Canty told the NFL Network. "I didn’t hear any grumblings about them potentially bringing him back in.

"But he's a tremendous football player, and no matter where he lands, he's probably going to make an impact for that football team." * *

Zrebiec: O-Line Headed For Offseason Makeover

The Ravens still have seven games to play, but is the writing already on the wall for the offensive line?

The unit has struggled to open holes for running back Ray Rice, who has the worst yards per carry average in the NFL, and has allowed quarterback Joe Flacco to get battered consistently.

"A lot could change over the next couple of months but it's already pretty obvious that the Ravens' much-maligned offensive line is headed for an offseason makeover," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele will be coming off back surgery, and Zrebiec says center Gino Gradkowski hasn't played well enough to be considered the long-term answer in the middle.

Meanwhile, newly-acquired left tackle Eugene Monroe and right tackle Michael Oher are set to become free agents this offseason and it may prove too costly to bring both back. Zrebiec believes Monroe has done enough to be considered the long-term answer on the blind side.

"Trying to replace two or three spots along the offensive line in one offseason is extremely difficult, especially for a team that faces annual salary cap concerns," Zrebiec wrote. "That's why it would make a ton of sense to try to reach agreement on a long-term deal with Monroe sooner rather than later. Monroe, of course, would have to be interested in such an arrangement and after he played his first four-plus seasons in Jacksonville, you could hardly blame him if he was intent on testing the market and picking his landing spot."

Marshall: Webb Dominated Me

One of the game's most explosive wide receivers had plenty of praise for Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb.

Webb will match up against Bears receiver Brandon Marshall Sunday after facing each other twice since 2009.

"When I was in Denver, my last year in Denver, I remember traveling to Baltimore, and he really dominated me," Marshall said on a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "I wasn't prepared. Right before he got hurt [last year], he probably was a top-5 cornerback in the league, if not maybe even playing right behind Darrelle Revis, pushing Darrelle Revis for the best corner.

"Now on tape, you're starting to see him get back to that form, and he's playing lights out. There are some things I see that he probably wants to work on and not give up, but this guy has the potential to be the best corner in the league."

Quick Hits

  • @jamisonhensley: If Reed goes to Jets or Pats, he'll play another game in Baltimore RT @AdamSchefter: Ed Reed went unclaimed on waivers. Now a free agent. [Twitter[
  • With breakout safety James Ihedigbo set to become a free agent this offseason, would the Ravens re-sign him? "The Ravens can re-sign Ihedigbo to a reasonable two-year deal after the season," Hensley wrote. "He likes it here, and he's respected by the players." [ESPN]
  • Who is more important to stop Sunday: Marshall or running back Matt Forte? "Has to be Forte," says Hensley. "The Bears are starting [Josh McCown], who is more of a game manager. He doesn't have the arm to stretch the field to Marshall, if the wind in Chicago gusts over 20 mph (which likely will be the case). The biggest thing with Marshall is getting him to the ground after he makes the catch. As far as Forte, the Ravens have to make sure they know where he's at whether it's running or passing. He has to be the priority of the Ravens' defense." [ESPN]
  • Former Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who was traded to the Dolphins recently, says the bullying situation in Miami has been "exaggerated." [ESPN]
  • In a SportsNation poll asking who the Ravens starting running back should be, only 34 percent of voters picked Rice. The other 66 percent chose backup Bernard Pierce. [ESPN]
  • "Ravens kicker Justin Tucker doesn't miss very often, regardless of his surroundings," wrote Matt Vensel. "But as good as he has been kicking on synthetic surfaces, he has been even better on grass. Tucker has missed just one field-goal attempt on the natural stuff in his career, which is noteworthy with the Ravens traveling to Soldier Field in Chicago to play the Bears this weekend." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @TorreySmithWR: RT @Jermeleon: When was @TorreySmithWR gonna tell us he was the black ranger? [Twitter]
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