It is almost unfair.
A coach and his team get up for the biggest game on their National Football League regular season schedule, against the undefeated New England Patriots, win it, and then are charged with getting ready for another victory; this time against the only NFL team without a win this season.
It’s just not fair.
The Baltimore Ravens took on the challenge of the Tom Brady led Patriots last Sunday night in primetime, and everyone saw them withstand each advance by Bill Belichick’s team after the Ravens bolted to an early advantage. When Brady appeared to get New England into range to close the gap or take a lead, the Ravens responded with a defensive gem or a fumble causing big hit.
The Ravens were magnificent last week and pinned the Patriots with their first loss of the year, 37-20.
On Monday, a week ago, how focussed do you think the Ravens were on preparing for their home game against the undefeated Patriots?
More focused than I think you or I could imagine.
And that focus, that attention to detail to meet the very best team in the National Football League, led to an explosive team effort that dominated Belichick and his army from start to finish.
Now, where do you think the Ravens attention was this Monday?
Was it a fear of their next opponent? A concern that if they don’t play their best football on Sunday they could lose?
The Ravens focus this Monday, I’m willing and will bet, is more on what they did last week than what is in store for them this week. This week, they have no fear, and all the factors that guided their great performance last week, are replaced by motivationally flattening elements certain to cause a drop off from great preparation to a predictable lets just get through this week with a win mindset.
It’s just not fair that the Ravens go from beating the undefeated to having to play the winless. This is as much of a motivational trap that I have seen in more than 50 years of handicapping the NFL.
There comes a time, when if the factors point to a mouse winning a horse race, you put your money on the mouse.
Money on the mouse this week in Ohio.
Qoxhi Picks: Cincinnati Bengals (+9½) over Baltimore Ravens