By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens are set to begin the second quarter of the season as they prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens overcame an onslaught of games in a short period of time the first four weeks. Baltimore would play four games in an astonishing 17 day period. For the Ravens to withstand that tough grind with only one controversial loss in the record books is as impressive as it gets. Baltimore would get the job done primarily on offense. Joe Flacco looked as good as any quarterback in the NFL. The way he has taken control of the offense remains one of the top stories in all of sports. Flacco and the Ravens played four games in less than three weeks and made it look easy.
But now the Ravens face a new challenge. The team overcame that tough stretch of games primarily because 75 percent of those games were at home. The NFL flipped the script on the franchise by scheduling three of the next four games on the road. The Ravens are just about unbeatable at M&T Bank Stadium, but when the team steps away from Baltimore, they become quite vulnerable. The Ravens were average on the road, going 4-4 in 2012. Three of the four wins came within their own division. If Baltimore wishes to improve from last year, winning on the road would be their best bet.
The Ravens will travel to Kansas City to battle the Chiefs before heading home to face the Dallas Cowboys. Then they head to Houston to battle the red hot Texans, followed by a trip to Cleveland for a Week 4 rematch against the Browns. It’s a tough stretch, but one that is very manageable for a team playing as well as anyone in the NFL. The key will be for Harbaugh to keep the team focused. The Ravens lost three winnable games last year to the Jaguars, Seahawks, and Titans. In those contests, the Ravens didn’t seem to want it as bad as the other team. That falls on the coaching staff. Coach Harbaugh is well aware of the Ravens struggles on the road and will need to make sure those problems are removed this year. That starts with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs are struggling so far this season but still have weapons that can cause problems for Baltimore. Jamaal Charles is second in the league right now in rushing yards. And Dwayne Bowe is the type of receiver that typically gives the Ravens secondary fits. If the Ravens come into that game flat, it will be a sign of things to come on the road for Baltimore. But if the Ravens come firing at all cylinders as they are accustomed to doing at home, this team will be a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the season.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.