Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens reporter: I’m not sure an NFL team could need its bye week as much as the Ravens do right now. But while the week off could allow the Ravens to get a few of their top players back from injury, it’s not going to cure everything that ails this team. Right now, the Ravens are a mess. Even when they do make a big play, such as Terrance West’s long run or the forced fumble on Matt Forte, they nullify it with a penalty or a mistake. Timmy Jernigan’s fumble after the Ravens forced a fumble and C.J. Mosley’s fumble against the Washington Redskins after his interception are perfect examples. The offensive line is probably the biggest problem of all, but that’s not to minimize Joe Flacco’s role in the four-game losing streak. Coach John Harbaugh says every week that the team is not playing winning football. That starts with the quarterback.
Edward Lee, Ravens reporter: The bye comes at a perfect time for the Ravens, who are reeling and in need of a break. In a repeat of their loss to the Redskins on Oct. 9, the defense came away with a potential game-changing turnover but gave it right back, and the New York Jets converted that gift (this time, from Jernigan instead of Mosley) into a touchdown that led to the final score. The second half of the schedule will not get easier for the Ravens, but maybe some time off will help clear their minds and allow them to get healthy. Mike Preston, Ravens columnist: The Ravens played the worst team in the NFL, and they are now closer to that designation after losing to the Jets. The Ravens couldn’t run the ball and they couldn’t stop the run. They lost to not just one but two quarterbacks the Jets no longer want. The Ravens have dug a hole, and it will be hard for them to climb out. They are 3-4, and the second half of the schedule gets tougher. It looks like this is going to be a long season. Mark Selig, Ravens editor: This loss leaves little ambiguity about where the season is headed. The Ravens, now losers of four straight games after three unconvincing wins, again will miss the playoffs. It might be premature, but it’s realistic. After a much-needed bye week, they likely will be favored in just one or two of their final nine games (home against the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins). Sure, the team could turn things around a bit in the second half, but somewhat improved play won’t be enough to make this a 10-win team, given the remaining schedule.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: This is simply one of the worst Ravens teams I’ve seen in my 10 years in Baltimore. Where do we start? How about dumb mistakes, terrible penalties, horrible tackling and an offensive line that can’t block anybody? This game would not have been close if the Jets weren’t so bad. A bye week isn’t going to fix this. The biggest problem? Ozzie Newsome’s past three drafts. There’s no help anywhere. Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens finally unraveled in a game they badly needed to win. Their offense in the second half was as pathetic as we’ve seen it all season. The line could not open any running lanes or protect Flacco, and Flacco looked genuinely rattled, throwing two interceptions and sailing numerous other attempts. It’s hard to find any real reason for optimism heading into the bye week and when looking ahead to a schedule that will get tougher in a hurry. Even the dregs of the league — and the Jets were about as bad as it got through six weeks — get well against the Ravens these days. Peter Schmuck, columnist: Welcome to Harbaugh’s nightmare. In a game that defied explanation, the Ravens found a bunch of new ways to lose and are officially in crisis. The only saving grace is the fact that nobody in the AFC North has taken control of the division, so they can continue to hope and pray that they get healthy during the bye week and stay viable. That’s a nice thought, but if they cannot beat a 1-5 team that lost its starting quarterback in the second quarter, it probably won’t matter whether Ben Roethlisberger is available to play when they face the Steelers in two weeks.