Big Ben Tuesday: Will the Real NFL Contenders Please Stand Up. Can Anyone Take out the Ravens?

Stamford, CT: Happy New Year, my friends. Be on notice that in 2024 I’m not taking any crap and I’m telling it like it is. If you can’t handle some hard truths, maybe cruise over to Huffington Post on Tuesdays. Junoir Blaber, he’s a dead man. Jacob Sternberg – Dead. Angry Ward – Dead. Neidermeyer – Dead. In the meantime, let’s move on to the NFL. The Giants lost in excruciating fashion on a incomplete one yard flip, after an unbelievable punt return. No one seems to care. The Ravens seem like the only really good team in the league right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned back into a pumpkin, the way this season is going. Is anyone else out there a legit threat to take the Lombardi?

Quoth the Raven, See you in Vegas

It seemed like the two seed Dolphins would give the Ravens a fight. Nope. This bloodbath was even worse than the great Christmas Day Massacre of the Niners last week. The play that summed this one up was a fourth and seven from Miami’s 35 late in the second quarter. The Ravens were up by eight. Of course they would bring in Justin Tucker, the mother effing GOAT, to drill a 52-yarder to put them up by two scores. Nope. Harbaugh left the offense on the field and Lamar hit Likely for a 35-yard TD. Game over, man.

Somehow the Niners still have the best odds to win the Super Bowl at +220. The Ravens are second at +300. Oh, the disrespect. Did the oddsmakers not see the aforementioned Christmas Day Massacre? I know that those odds are based on the Niners being in the cupcake NFC and having an easier path through the playoffs. Who’s gonna take them out, the Eagles? I kid.

But is the Ravens path going to be that much harder? The team with the best shot to pull the upset right now might be Joe Flacco and the Cleveland Browns. It’s hard to believe I just typed that sentence.

I’m not buying the Bills. The O-coordinator switch and the commitment to the running game have been wise. But that pass offense sure doesn’t look like it will be there when they need it. And they just barely pulled off single score wins against the lowly Chargers and Patriots.

The Bills, Home Field or Home on the Couch

And speaking of the Bills, did I forget to mention they might not even qualify for the playoff? They will be the AFC East champs if they knock off Miami on Sunday. But if they don’t and other games break badly, they could miss the playoffs. Three things need to happen. The Steelers need to beat the Ravens on Saturday. That could happen, if the Ravens rest starters. The Jags also need to beat the Titans, and the Texans Colts game can’t end in a tie – both likely results.

The Bills could either hosting a playoff game or hosting a cocktail party on Wildcard Weekend. This will be the late game on Sunday, so the Bills will know if they are in danger of missing the playoffs. But it will be exciting either way, since they’ll be playing for the division.

NFC Hopefuls

I don’t care if the penalty on the two point conversion play for the Lions was legit or not. It was a massive blunder for Dan Campbell to still go for two from the seven and from the four. If the Lions hadn’t won their first division in 33 years, there is no way he would have done that. The man was playing with house money. Still, I don’t feel like he’s taking enough flack. Imagine if Mike McCarthy had done that. The success percentage is below 50 percent from the two. It seems like it would be below 25 percent from the seven and maybe below 35 or so from the four. Go to overtime, Dan. He easily could have cost his team home field advantage if they meet in the playoffs. And as you might have heard, the Cowboys have not lost at home all year. They could easily have one loss, if the Lions just kicked the damn extra point.

AFC Hopefuls

I covered the Bills and Browns already, but let’s give a shot out to the Texans, Steelers, and Colts for defying expectations and winning nine games and battling it out for the last playoff spot. How about backup QBs Minshew and Mason Rudolph, plus rookie CJ Stroud coming up big. And Mike Tomlin’s non-losing season streak lives on.

I suppose you can’t rule out Mahomes and the Chiefs getting hot. And with that defense, they could make a run. But with just one game likely to be at home, I’m not buying it. If they can make it to Baltimore, their season will end there. Valdez-Scandling needs to find a new profession.

Who do you think can play dark horse and surprise? Let us know in the comments. Unlike MVS, a guy in the right profession is Angry Ward. He’ll be here tomorrow.

Share Button
About Ben Whitney 396 Articles
Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.