I wish I could take all the credit for my bold prediction. I’ll admit, I’m no Pete Prisco.
But I was inspired after reading Don Banks’ thoughts on the Ravens after their losses of both Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis. Banks believes that these Ravens have shifted themselves to an offensive minded team and that in a weak AFC (Ravens are one of only two teams with a winning record), they could still win the North.
Baltimore’s bad luck on the injury front might also be at least coming at a fortuitous time, in that the AFC appears to be a down cycle this season, and the AFC North seems there for the taking. The Steelers are 2-3, having lost two out of their last three games, and have their own battles to fight with injuries and age on defense. The Bengals started fast at 3-1, but have lost the past two weeks to Miami and Cleveland, and have blunted their early momentum. With Cincinnati playing host to Pittsburgh this week, somebody’s going to come out of that game with a losing record, feeling pretty badly about themselves as midseason looms.
In the AFC, the Ravens are one of only two teams above .500, along with this week’s opponent, the Texans (5-1). While Baltimore beat Houston twice last season, including in the AFC divisional playoffs, winning at Reliant Stadium this week could be a difficult task. But even with a loss, Baltimore will enter its Week 8 bye with a 5-2 mark and grip on first place in the division. A tough first-place schedule still must be navigated, but the Ravens will at least have some breathing room as they attempt it. A 10-6 mark could easily win the AFC North this season.
I’m trying to stay positive. The thoughts of Trent Dilfer, Brian Billick and Don Banks have helped.