All I could do was laugh when I heard the news that the Baltimore Ravens’ best defender and most valuable player, aside from Joe Flacco, would miss the rest of the season with a foot injury he suffered in Week 8.
It’s a huge blow to a struggling secondary that is now down to three healthy corners: a shell-of-himself Lardarius Webb, recently acquired Danny Gorrer (played for the Ravens in 2011) and undrafted rookie free agent Tramain Jacobs, who was brought up from the practice squad this week.
I’m not big on expressions, but Smith was the straw that stirred the drink that is the secondary. Without him, the Ravens let Ben Roesthisberger throw six touchdown passes. After the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens will have to face Dree Brees, Phillip Rivers and a suddenly hot Ryan Tannehill. The road doesn’t look pleasant. But as we know, it’s hard to ever count out the Ravens. So let’s break it down.
As of Thursday night of Week 10, the Ravens sit behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3, right now they 5 seed), Kansas City Chiefs (5-3, the 6 seed), Cleveland Browns (5-3), Buffalo Bills (5-3), Miami Dolphins (5-3) and San Diego Chargers (5-4).
That’s a lot of teams to bypass with the Steelers possibly hitting their stride at the perfect moment, although I’m very skeptical of their defense. Fortunately for the Ravens, they will face the Browns, Dolphins and Chargers before all is said and done, They also get Houston, with what will probably be Ryan Mallett at quarterback, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens will have their chances to gain some ground in the AFC.
In the end though, I think the loss of Smith is too much to overcome. It would be different if the secondary had competent replacements and complimentary players. But the fact is that they just don’t. Facing the Saints in New Orleans is a tall order even with Smith. The Chargers always play the Ravens tough and the Miami Dolphins might actually be really good. The offense will have to start playing with more consistency to carry the defense to grab two of those three games. and so far the season has suggested that we just cant’t expect that. Add on that the Steelers and Chiefs are playing really good football right now and it’s an uphill battle towards the playoffs.
Verdict: The Ravens finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs.
What do you think? Can the Ravens overcome Smith’s injury?