Just a handful of weeks ago, the Ravens were lauded as a team that excelled against the teams they were supposed to beat, or, more specifically, sub-.500 opponents. Entering their Week 2 matchup with Tennessee, the Ravens were 18-1 against teams with losing records in John Harbaugh's tenure as head coach.
Since that time, the Ravens have twice lost to teams with losing records. Both of those defeats - to the Titans and Jaguars - came on the road the week after the Ravens earned a big victory over a conference opponent.
That's the same situation this team finds itself in this week. Following last Sunday's win over the Steelers, the Ravens will head out west this weekend to take on the 2-6 Seahawks, a team that possesses the league's fourth-worst offense and has been whistled for more penalties the last three weeks (29) than it has points (28) during that span.
Despite the lowly numbers Seattle has recorded through the first half of the season, the Ravens understand the pressure is on them to snap their recent trend of faltering on the road after a big win.
"It's reality. And we understand that," Harbaugh said. "We realize that's been our Achilles heel so far this year. And that's something that if we want to win this game, we have to overcome that. It's definitely a factor."
Despite Sunday night's win over the Steelers, Harbaugh didn't give his players the day off on Monday (also known as "Victory Monday"), which is semi-common procedure in the NFL.
Instead, the players came in to the team facility for meetings and film study, knowing full well that they need to come back from the Pittsburgh win focused and ready to ensure that they don't fall to a statistically inferior opponent again.
"If we go out to Seattle and lay an egg, this win has a lot less value," linebacker Jarret Johnson said immediately following Sunday's victory at Pittsburgh. "We've done it before. We've been up on (the Steelers). (We) had a big win on them last year here with a last-second victory and came back and dropped a few games. They went right ahead of us, and we ended up coming (to Heinz Field) in the playoffs."
That's a message which has been repeated throughout the locker room and in meetings this week.
"(Johnson's comment) resonates with us a lot, because you'd give one back," Harbaugh said. "It would still be a division win, it would still be a conference win, but we don't want to win one then give one back. And that's going to be true for the rest of the season. Every game we play is going to be the most important game. This is the most important game of the season that we are going to play, just for what you're saying."
The Ravens' schedule the rest of the way out is not incredibly difficult. Of their eight opponents, only three currently have winning records, and two of those three games against above-.500 competition will come in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium.
Harbaugh's squad will have to fare well against the tough opponents in order to secure a favorable playoff position, but, perhaps more importantly, they need to take care of business against the teams they are supposed to beat. And that starts Sunday in Seattle.
"Everybody's focused, everybody's tuned in to what we've got to do," left tackle Michael Oher said. "We know we can't slip. We're just working to get better and trying to get (win) number seven."