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Late For Work 11/7: Can Ravens Make Playoffs Without Jimmy Smith?


Can Ravens Make Playoffs Without Jimmy Smith?

The short answer is yes.

Yes, the Ravens can make the playoffs without Jimmy Smith.

But don't get it twisted. It won't be easy. WSNT's Nestor Aparicio may have said it best: "Well, the news on Jimmy Smith being done for the year really, really sucks."

Yes it does, Nestor. It really sucks x10.

Smith was arguably the player the Ravens could least afford to lose outside of quarterback Joe Flacco.

"Now, they'll have to make their playoff push without [Smith], a damaging blow to a team trying to climb out of last place in the AFC North," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.

It makes an already bad situation worse.

Lardarius Webb hasn't returned to form after missing training camp and the early part of the season with a back injury. Asa Jackson (toe) is out until at least Dec. 7. The Ravens cut two corners Tuesday, and will rely on rookie free agent Tramain Jacobs and newly signed Danny Gorrer, who is on his fourth team in four years.

"The Ravens secondary went from being depleted to downright depressing," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "There is no player on the Ravens who can match Smith's size, speed and playmaking ability."

OK, OK, we get it. It's gloomy.

But despite it all, Hensley still believes the Ravens can advance to the postseason.

"Given the Ravens' weak remaining schedule, the AFC North's last-place team can still reach the playoffs by winning their last four home games and stealing a game on the road," wrote Hensley. "And, other than Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, the Ravens don't face another top-10 passer this season.

"The Ravens are solid enough in their front seven that they can beat the likes of Zach Mettenberger, Blake Bortles and Ryan Mallett. So making the postseason for the sixth time in seven seasons isn't out of the question for the Ravens (5-4)."

Of course, in addition to Brees and Rivers, the Ravens will have to face receivers like the Texans' Andre Johnson and the Browns' Josh Gordon (returning from suspension). Smith used to be the one the Ravens would stick on opponents' biggest threats.

Still, this Ravens team is relentless and determined. Just take a look at the personnel losses they've overcome so far this season, starting with two of the biggest blows:

RB Ray Rice: cut from the team
TE Dennis Pitta: season-ending hip injury
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore: season-ending Achilles injury
DE Brent Urban: season-ending knee injury
LS Morgan Cox: season-ending knee injury
LT Eugene Monroe: missed four games with knee injury
LG Kelechi Osemele: missed two games with knee injury

Overcoming such devastating setbacks should give hope to Ravens fans. Enough hope for a playoff berth, says Hensley, but don't get your hopes up much higher than that.

"[T]he loss of Smith represents the undoing of the Ravens' championship aspirations," he wrote. "Any thoughts of making a run in January ended with Smith's surgery."

Fair enough, upsetting the likes of upset Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger would be asking a lot.

But, let's see if the Ravens can get there first. After that, anything's possible.

In the video below, Head Coach John Harbaugh talks about how the team will cope.

Browns Pound Bengals, Ravens One Game From First Place

Holy moly, the Cleveland Browns put on a show for the nation last night, pounding the Cincinnati Bengals into submission. The Browns defense is no joke, propelling Cleveland to a 24-3 victory.

And in so doing, the Browns shook up the AFC picture and made the division race even closer. The Ravens currently stand just one game behind the division-leading Pittsburgh Steelers and Browns (tied), yet they are seeded No. 11 in the conference. That's how razor thin the margin is.

Here's the AFC playoff picture as it stands today, per NFL standings:

Playoff Spots
1. New England Patriots: 7-2
2. Denver Broncos: 6-2
3. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-3 (holds division common-games tiebreaker over Cleveland)
4. Indianapolis Colts: 6-3
5. Cleveland Browns: 6-3 (wild card)
6. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-3 (wild card, holds superior AFC record tiebreaker)

In The Hunt
7. Buffalo Bills: 5-3 (holds head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami)
8. Miami Dolphins: 5-3
9. Cincinnati Bengals: 5-3-1
10. San Diego Chargers: 5-4 (holds conference record tiebreaker over Baltimore)
11. Baltimore Ravens: 5-4

Week 10: Titans vs. Ravens Picks

The Browns may have helped the Ravens' chances of regaining the AFC North lead, but they obviously can't rely on that alone.

Baltimore looks to end its two-game skid with a win against the Titans, and Vegas thinks the Ravens will get it done, making them 10-point favorites.

Analysts are on the same page as Vegas …

**Baltimore Sun**: 7 of 7 pick Ravens over Titans
Last week: 6 of 7 picked Steelers over Ravens

Jeff Zrebiec (Ravens 27, Titans 13): "The Titans might be better than their 2-6 record indicates, but they look like an ideal opponent for a team badly in need of a win. The Ravens have been consistent this season in one area – dominating teams that they should."
Last week: Steelers 27, Ravens 23

****: 13 of 13 pick Ravens over Titans
Last week: 10 of 13 picked Steelers over Ravens

****: 7 of 7 pick Ravens over Titans
Last week: 5 of 7 picked Steelers over Ravens

**Pete Prisco**: Ravens 30, Titans 17
"The Ravens are back home after losing consecutive road games, while the Titans are coming off a bye. This will be Zach Mettenberger's first road start. This is a tough place to make it. The Ravens defense regroups after last week's debacle."
Last week: Steelers 28, Ravens 23

****: 2 of 2 pick Ravens over Titans
Last week: 1 of 2 picked Steelers over Ravens

Mike Florio:  Ravens 35, Titans 17
"Michael Oher returns to Baltimore. And that's about the only thing that makes this specific game mildly interesting."
Last week: Steelers 13, Ravens 10

****(Elliot Harrison): Ravens 34, Titans 13
"Tennessee is coming off a bye, which, in theory, is a good thing ... until you realize Ken Whisenhunt is 1-5 coming off byes."
Last week: Steelers 24, Ravens 20

****(Vinnie Iyer): Ravens 31, Titans 6
"The Ravens' defense didn't like being humiliated by Ben Roethlisberger, so Terrell Suggs and friends will take it out on rookie Zach Mettenberger."
Last week: Steelers 23, Ravens 20

****(Peter Schrager):  Ravens 23, Titans 20
"The Ravens couldn't be facing the Titans at a better time. Losers of two straight, now at the bottom of the AFC North standings and battling injuries at every position — this is the perfect cure for their ills."
Last week: Steelers 24, Ravens 20

Disney Mashup NFL Logos Are Awesome

A graphic designer on Instagram, ak47_studios, has created Disney mashup NFL logos, and they are fantastic.

Check them all out here.* *I've put the AFC North logos below, including the "Maleficent Baltimore Ravens," "Cleveland Browns Buzz," "whistle while you work with Snow White and the 7 Steelers," and "Tigger the Cincinnati Bengal."

Quick Hits

  • General Manager Ozzie Newsome testified under oath Thursday that he heard Ray Rice tell Roger Goodell during his June 16 disciplinary hearing that he had hit his then-fiancée. [ESPN]
  • Wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who missed his second straight day of practice with a hamstring injury, is not expected to play Sunday against the Titans. [ESPN]
  • Linebacker C.J. Mosely and guard Marshal Yanda made John Clayton's Midseason All-Pro Team. [ESPN]
  • Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak said the fumble from running back Lorenzo Taliaferro won’t change the rookie’s role. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Linebacker Albert McClellan was fined $8,268 for his personal foul against the Steelers on a punt that was fair-caught by Jacoby Jones. Aaron Wilson outlines six other potential fines that could come from that game. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Ugh. Yuck. Ugh. Former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is in Steelers gear after losing a bet. "Yes it burns my skin!!! But I'm a man of my word and always keep my bets," he wrote on Facebook. "But don't sweat raven fans. Yes we are in last place. We have Tennessee at home this week and then a bye where we are 5-1 in the Harbaugh era coming out if the bye. We don't play a single team with a better record than us to date. We go to New Orleans for Monday night football following the bye and that will be a test but they are in 1st place at 4-4, 3-1 at home in what is arguably the weakest division in football this year the NFC South." []
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