Ravens need to not beat themselves

Ravens need to not beat themselves
January 2, 2013, 10:00 am
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Keys for the Ravens

One key part of post-season play is to limit mistakes. That's the first thing the Ravens have to do if they want to make any kind of playoff run.

The playoffs start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, a team that's been rolling lately. The Ravens lost four of their last five heading into post-season play with mistakes not helping matters. 

There's been too many penalties, turnovers at the wrong times, and things that have stopped the Ravens on both sides of the ball. The biggest part of finding success in the playoffs is not making mistakes.

Limit the penalties. Stop the missed tackles. Don't miss assignments. And, more than anything else, don't turn the ball over. 

The Colts are a young team with a spectacular rookie quarterback in Andrew Luck, and if the Ravens give them the ball on their 30-yard line a few times, that could turn the game around. 

The one thing that never changes in the playoffs is the opponents -- you're playing the best of the best in post-season play. There's no 2-14 teams or clubs just playing out the string. Everyone in the playoffs wants to get to the Super Bowl. That's why the best teams don't make mistakes. 

Coach John Harbaugh, like most head coaches, is big on fundamentals. He knows they are the crucial part of what any team does in a big game. He'll want Joe Flacco to not fumble in the pocket or throw interceptions or for silly late-hit penalties to come from the defense. 

Good teams don't beat themselves in the playoffs. They make the opponents do it. If the Ravens can limit the mistakes against the Colts or anyone else, they'll make some noise in the post-season. If not, they won't.