- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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There was a lot of playoff talk in our weekly Baltimore Ravens chat. It should be a hot topic with all of the races remaining tight with seven games left. The Ravens (4-5) are 1 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) in the AFC North, and one game behind the New York Jets (5-4) for the last playoff spot in the AFC.
If you want a full transcript of the chat, you can click here. Here are some highlights:
Rich (New Jersey): Great win for the Ravens on Sunday. But with everyone in the division within two games of each other, for the Ravens to get into the playoffs, do they need to win the division or go 5-2 over the last seven and get in as a wild card if they wind up with a 9-7 record?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I feel 10-6 still wins the division. That being said, the Ravens will have to go 5-1 leading up to the season-ending game at Cincy. If they beat the Bengals, they'll sweep and take the AFC North. As far as the wild card, I wouldn't be surprised if 9-7 gets the last playoff spot in the AFC.
James (Baltimore): The Ravens running game has struggled since Week 1, and when one breaks down the film, one sees an ineffective blocking scheme. John Harbaugh insists that changes are being made. Quite frankly, he downplays the role of the ineffective O-line play on the poor seasonal record. Is this a case of doing the same thing and expecting different result or are they doing something behind the scene to correct it?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I've seen changes as far as formations. The Ravens have tried two tight ends, I-formation with Vonta Leach, using an extra blocker with Rick Wagner as well as shotgun/pistol formations. Baltimore also has a new left side of the line since the season started with Eugene Monroe and A.Q. Shipley. I know fans are quick to criticize Castillo, but this line hasn't executed all season.
PJ (Midlo): Hi Jamison, well it was one of those drive over the cliff only to be saved by a parachute games this past Sunday - Wow! What poison does the Raven Defense takeaway from the Bears this week (Matt Forte or Brandon Marshall ?) Thanks.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Has to be Forte. The Bears are starting McKown, who is more of a game manager. He doesn't have the arm to stretch the field to Marshall, if the wind in Chicago gusts over 20 mph (which likely will be the case). The biggest thing with Marshall is getting him to the ground after he makes the catch. As far as Forte, the Ravens have to make sure they know where he's at whether it's running or passing. He has to be the priority of the Ravens' defense.
Renn (Columbia): Do you think the Ravens could still feasibly take the AFC North? The Bengals have played better than the Ravens overall but still have had their fair share of struggles.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): The Ravens have to get to 10 wins. That's how they win the North. The Bengals have lost two games but both have been on the road and in overtime. What they have to prove is their defense can withstand the loss of Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. Injuries have hurt Cincy this month.