By Trevor Woods
Something special is happening in Baltimore.
Something special has been happening all season long.
And as Karen Carpenter once sang: "We've only just begun."
It has been a record setting season for the Baltimore Ravens. Quarterback Lamar Jackson will be the league MVP, he has an incredible 36 touchdown passes to just six interceptions, he broke the NFL single season rushing record for a quarterback. The Ravens clinched home-field advantage for the first time in franchise history.
Baltimore is averaging more yards rushing per game (204.9) than any team in NFL history.
Yes, something special is happening.
As great as the season has been for the Ravens, they realize the most important part of the story hasn't been written. They realize the biggest roadblocks are drawing near. While celebrations are warranted, the eye is on the prize, the Ravens have a grasp of the full picture.
They want to hold the Lombardi Trophy in February.
"What an accomplishment, okay," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said enthusiastically during his post-game locker room speech after beating the Cleveland Browns. "And we know we're not done. Actually, we are just beginning, everybody agree with that?"
"Yeah!," Players shouted back to Harbaugh.
"We are just beginning, but just because we're beginning doesn't mean we can't take a second to look back, and what was accomplished was the best regular season in the National Football League this year... yeah!" Harbaugh shouted.
"Yeah!," the players shouted back again with thunderous claps.
The road to the Super Bowl goes through Baltimore in the AFC, and no team wants to head to the East Coast and face a Ravens team that is 6-1 at home, a team that has won 11 games in a row.
The Ravens have beat some of the best teams in the NFL. They've conquered the Patriots, 49ers, Seahawks, Texans, and Bills. They've fared well when the tallest of challenges attempt to topple them. And the challenges are about to get even tougher. They're battle tested, and in order to win games in January it'll require muscle memory from those tilts.
They'll have to prepare and perform in the same manner they have all season long.
To get to the Super Bowl, the Ravens can't, and won't get ahead of themselves and declare they're the favorites to win it all.
For now, though, it's time to celebrate their accomplishments, while also acknowledging this is the end of the beginning and the playoffs will ultimately define their 2019 season.
As it stands currently, nobody is better than the Ravens, and that's a stellar position to be in.
"Who's got it better than us?!," Harbaugh asked his team.
"Nobody!," they triumphantly declared.
Indeed ... nobody.