The Baltimore Ravens’ 2022 Playoff Chances Through Five Weeks

The Baltimore Ravens’ 2022 Playoff Chances Through Five Weeks

October 18, 2022

The Baltimore Ravens are still searching for consistency on offense and defense, but they’re still in a good position at 3-2 through five weeks of play.

Baltimore is still searching for its first winning streak of 2022. After soundly defeating old friend Joe Flacco and the New York Jets, the Ravens blew a 21-point fourth quarter lead to the Miami Dolphins and dropped a heartbreaker 42-38.

After thoroughly dominating the New England Patriots 37-26 at Gillette Stadium in Week 3, the Ravens blew another three-score lead (17 points) and fell to the Buffalo Bills 23-20 at home in Week 4.

Their trend of alternating wins and losses continued in Week 5, as Justin Tucker’s last-second field goal helped Baltimore sneak past the Cincinnati Bengals 19-17 for the club’s first home win of 2022. The win over Cincinnati moved Baltimore to first place in the AFC North.

Sports betting is widely expected to launch in Maryland very soon, and there is some optimism that it will go live before the end of the year. The FanDuel Maryland sportsbook will be among the main apps available, and they’ll presumably offer new customers a $1,000 “No Sweat First Bet” after signing up.

Baltimore will travel to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey for a Week 6 showdown against the surprising 4-1 New York Giants. They’ll return home for a Week 6 tilt against the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns before visiting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football four days later.

As the Ravens look to move two games above .500 for the first time in 2022, now’s a good time to analyze their chances of getting back to the postseason.

The AFC North Is Baltimore’s To Lose

It’s not too early to believe that the AFC North will simply come down to the Ravens and the Bengals.

Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers have become an afterthought, losing four in a row after stunning Cincinnati on the road in Week 1. The Steelers are struggling everywhere on offense and on defense without T.J. Watt.

At this point, Pittsburgh looked poised to finish with their first losing season since 2003. It’s going to take a miraculous second-half surge from rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett and the defense just for Pittsburgh to push for seven wins.

Cleveland fields the NFL’s best rushing attack through five weeks. But the passing game is limited with game manager Jacoby Brissett, who only has Amari Cooper and David Njoku as productive pass-catchers.

On top of that, Cleveland’s defense has regressed unexpectedly following an impressive season-long outing in 2021. Until/unless they get that figured out, the Browns won’t contend for the division.

Baltimore and Cincinnati field elite players at quarterback, the game’s most important position. Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow have shown time and time again that they can mask the flaws of their respective teams and contend for championships.

The Ravens and Bengals boast deep sets of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Balance is necessary to win a tough division, and unlike the Steelers and Browns, Baltimore and Cincinnati have plenty of it.

But the Ravens get the nod here for one key reason: They have the easiest strength of schedule the rest of the way, according to Power Rankings Guru.

Right now, the Giants and Buccaneers are the only teams remaining on Baltimore’s schedule that boast winning records through five weeks. There’s a golden opportunity here for the Ravens to make a run and clinch the division before their Week 18 regular season finale at Cincinnati on Jan. 8.

The Ravens haven’t found their peak on either side of the ball. Lamar Jackson and the ground game can only get better with a healthy Ronnie Stanley back in the fold. The defense will surely look a lot more like the stingy unit we saw in Week 5.

With Marlon Humphrey, Kyle Hamilton, Marcus Williams and Marcus Peters rounding out a deep secondary, the Ravens should have their way with the (many) sluggish offenses remaining on their schedule.

Even if the Bengals manage to snag the division crown, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Baltimore finishes worse than 11-6 from here. There’s too much talent to go around, and the schedule is too easy from Week 11 onward.

When all is said and done, the Ravens should easily claim a playoff spot for the fourth time in five years.

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