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Ravens Fading Quickly in AFC North

The Baltimore Ravens are currently in a free fall. The Ravens have started the season 1-4 after losing at home to the Cleveland Browns, the AFC North perennial cellar dweller. Baltimore however has taken that spot from the 2-3 Browns.

The Ravens after five weeks of the season are already 4 games out of first place and fading quickly.

In 2013 the Ravens won their second Super Bowl and now just two years and 8 months later are sitting in last past in their division.

On Sunday the Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers and the Ravens barely resemble the team that played the 49ers the Super Bowl just over two years ago. Only four starters are left from that team on the current roster of 53 players.

Baltimore this season has not had the vaunted defense it once was known for. The Ravens have lost fourth quarter leads five times this season and allowed winning scores three times in the last three minutes of a regulation or overtime game.

The Ravens have only a 4.25 points margin of defeat, which is the third lowest in the league. Despite holding a lead of 12 points during the second quarter, Baltimore took their foot off the gas pedal and allowed the Browns back into the game and the Browns won in overtime.

The Ravens have also been beset with injuries this season. Of the 22 starters projected at the start of the season, 9 have missed a full half of one game. It is tough being amongst the best teams in the NFL when your best players sit on the sideline.

During Sunday’s overtime loss to Cleveland, Baltimore did not have the services of; its two top wide receivers in Breshad Perriman and Steve Smith Sr.; its top two backs Lorenzo Taliafero and Justin Forsett; top pass rushers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs; one of its starting defensive ends Chris Canty; and two of its best three cornerbacks Will Davis and Lardarius Webb.

With those injuries, how can anyone point an accusing finger at the Ravens coaching staff?

Offensively, the Ravens lack playmakers. Joe Flacco the Ravens quarterback does not have a talented back like Ray Rice or receiver like Anquan Boldin that were with the Ravens in 2013 during their Super Bowl winning season.

The lack of depth in the defensive secondary has also hurt the Ravens. The four top corners for the Ravens in 2012 are all starting, but two are in Baltimore, one in Seattle and one in Buffalo.

Without that kind of depth from before, the secondary is worn down during the course of a game and is beaten easier on big plays late in game.

With all this against the Ravens, do not look for things to get better anytime soon.

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