Reporters and fans like talking about how a win over a quality team can serve as a "statement win" or a "signature moment".
Players and coaches, they don't usually buy into that stuff.
They have to look at every game as if it's just as important as any other, because if they get caught up in the magnitude of a particular game, it can backfire on them.
But regardless of what you or I or those in the Ravens' locker room choose to call last night's 30-24 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, I think we can all agree that it was as important a win as this team has had all year, and could pay off in a big way as the Ravens make their playoff push.
Listen, we've talked about the Ravens' issues ad nauseum over the last handful of weeks. But that doesn't make them any less true.
Since their Week 6 loss to the Patriots, the Ravens have had unbelievable amounts of trouble closing out games. Their offense has shut down in the second half of contests. Their run game has failed to get going. Their O-line has struggled to keep Joe Flacco upright.
The Ravens' best win on the season was either a Week 4 victory over a Steelers team that started Charlie Batch at quarterback or a win over the Jets all the way back in Week 1 when neither team really knew what it was made of.
Since then it's been losses to quality teams, ho-hum W's over mediocre opponents, and a lot of questions.
That's why, whether they chose to admit it or not, the Ravens needed a win like this going into the playoffs. They needed that tiny boost of confidence that comes from beating a team that you know is a legitimate threat to be the last one standing.
Yesterday afternoon, the Ravens beat a previously 10-3 Saints team which walked into M&T Bank Stadium with the sun glistening off their Super Bowl rings. New Orleans had won six games in a row, has an elite quarterback calling the plays, and possesses the type of air-it-out spread offense that the Ravens have had immense trouble stopping over the last couple years.
They've got a stingy pass defense, blitz the hell out of the opposition, and play with a physical edge.
These are the type of teams that the Ravens will have to face in the playoffs. And up until yesterday, these were the type of teams that the Ravens had yet to beat.
Yup, up until yesterday.
"It's been disappointing that we haven't been as consistent as we would have liked up to this point in the season," cornerback Chris Carr said, "but definitely a game like this, playing a team that good, and playing as well as we did, yeah I think it can come with some confidence."
"Let's not forget, they still are the defending champs until somebody knocks them off," running back Ray Rice said. "To beat them this late in the year when they were peaking and how many games they've won, it just says something about our team. We've been making it pretty interesting, but one thing about our team is we've got a resilient group that can rebound, that can bounce back, especially after a short week, and we played our game."
The Ravens didn't play a perfect game yesterday, and there are still a handful of areas where they need to improve (some significantly) as the postseason gets closer.
Like pretty much every other team in the NFL at this point, John Harbaugh's squad still isn't a finished product. But, yesterday's win - whether you choose to call it a statement one or not - was certainly a step in the right direction.