Home Sports Talk
Options

Are the Ravens the best team in the NFL right now?

doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,011 ✭✭✭✭✭

A lot of analysts are claiming this is the best team in the NFL right now, we'll see, they have some big tests coming up.

Best team in NFL? Ravens not concerned with ‘irrelevant’ standings as they enter midseason on a tear.

The Ravens are tied for the best record in the AFC. They have a 1 1/2 game lead in the AFC North. Their defense, by any number of metrics, is the best in the NFL. And quarterback Lamar Jackson’s career-best 71.5% completion rate leads the league.

Unsurprisingly, coach John Harbaugh, who is fond of saying teams don’t win a championship during the regular season, is unstirred.

Asked Monday if his team has played at an “elite” level and done so against some of the best teams in the NFL, the third-longest tenured coach in the league essentially said it doesn’t matter.

“It’s really not a measuring stick against the other teams,” he said. “It’s irrelevant that way because it doesn’t matter until the end.”

Still, the Ravens (7-2) have stood out through the first half of the season, most notably on defense.

They are first in sacks (35), points allowed per game (13.8), points allowed per play (0.214), yards allowed per play (4.1), red zone defense (33.3%) and touchdowns allowed per game (1.1). Baltimore has also allowed the fewest yards per pass (4.6), is second in passing yards allowed per game (170.7) and is eighth in rushing yards allowed per game (91.9).

Many of those numbers are borne out of having success on all three levels of the defense.

Defensive tackle Justin Madbuike is tops among interior linemen and tied for ninth overall in the NFL with 7 1/2 sacks, already a career high. Inside linebacker Roquan Smith, the physical and emotional leader of the defense, is fourth in the league in tackles with 87, while his running mate Patrick Queen is 15th with 75.

“What the standings are now are not important,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s what the standings are after the last regular-season game that matter. Our guys really understand that.” (Kevin Richardson )
In the secondary, Geno Stone has emerged as far more than a reliable fill-in with a league-leading six interceptions, while Kyle Hamilton continues to be one of the most versatile and talented safeties in the league. There have been plenty of other significant contributors, too, including veteran edge rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy along with the emerging Odafe Oweh, as well as cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens.

“‘Beeks’ was a problem in camp [and] OTAs,” Ravens center Tyler Linderbuam, himself a budding star, said Wednesday when asked what it’s been like to go against Madubuike in practice. “He’s been a problem for us [on the] O-line for a while now. We’ve all seen the issues that he’s caused — the havoc that he’s caused in games, and we’ve gone against that in practice.”

The man behind the scheme, defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, has also emerged over the past two seasons as one of the game’s bright young minds and a potential NFL coach.

Yet the defense continues to find ways to play with a chip on its shoulder.

“I feel like we are getting more respect, but I feel that it’s still not the respect that we want,” Queen said. “Honestly, we haven’t accomplished the things that we want to accomplish yet, so I feel like there is a lot of respect out there to still be taken.”

The same can certainly be said of the offense.

Though Jackson leads the league in completion percentage, he has more fumbles this season (10, six of them lost) than touchdown passes (nine). Baltimore is also just 20th in passing yards per game (208.7) and at times has struggled in the red zone or with dropped passes, albeit briefly in both cases.

Still, Baltimore is first in yards per game on the ground (160.3). Jackson’s 440 rushing yards also lead all quarterbacks by a wide margin, and his five rushing scores are third-most among quarterbacks. His 100.8 passer rating is his highest mark since 2019, when he was the unanimous NFL Most Valuable Player.

“It’s just [that quarterbacks coach Tee Martin] wants us to be perfect,” Jackson said. “Every morning, he’s got something [about] championship quarterbacking, and ‘I want you to be a championship quarterback.’ He always tells me, ‘I’m going to grade you harder than probably anybody else will.’”

It perhaps helps, too, that Jackson faces the league’s best defense every day in practice.

“Not trying to toot our own horn, but I believe our defense has no weakness,” he said. “Just from the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary, how they’re flying around and disguising defenses — making it look like one coverage, but it’s something else — and how they time up their blitzes, it helps us out a lot, because when we’re playing other teams, they’re flying around and giving us their best shot.”

Baltimore’s special teams, meanwhile, have been inconsistent at times — particularly allowing a punt return for a touchdown against the Bengals in Week 2 and having a punt blocked by the Steelers for a safety in Week 5 — but have also excelled.

Kicker Justin Tucker has connected on 16 of 19 field goal attempts. Jordan Stout is averaging 48.5 yards per punt and has often flipped the field or pinned the opposition deep with 17 punts inside the 20-yard line.

But to Harbaugh, all that matters is what’s ahead, including two important games against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and the Cincinnati Bengals four days later in prime time on “Thursday Night Football.”

“What the standings are now are not important,” he said. “It’s what the standings are after the last regular-season game that matter. Our guys really understand that.”

Comments

  • Options
    stevekstevek Posts: 27,749 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is blasphemy and I won't stand for it. The Eagles are 8-1, and the Ravens are 7-2. That is an undeniable fact.

    This act of blasphemy cannot go unpunished. I'm sorry, but at the start of the Cowboys game today, you are forced to remove your beloved Eagles avatar, and replace it with something else.

    Hereby it is so ordered.

  • Options
    LandrysFedoraLandrysFedora Posts: 1,796 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ravens off to an immediate great start this week with a pick 6!

  • Options
    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Of course they are - WHY? Because I picked the Browns today for some stupid reason!

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

  • Options
    GroceryRackPackGroceryRackPack Posts: 2,481 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yep Lamar Jackson a scary dude on the grid-iron... >:)

  • Options
    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,011 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @stevek said:
    This is blasphemy and I won't stand for it. The Eagles are 8-1, and the Ravens are 7-2. That is an undeniable fact.

    This act of blasphemy cannot go unpunished. I'm sorry, but at the start of the Cowboys game today, you are forced to remove your beloved Eagles avatar, and replace it with something else.

    Hereby it is so ordered.

    Thank you, thank you, I'll be counting down the minutes!

  • Options
    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,011 ✭✭✭✭✭

    24-17 now.

  • Options
    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,011 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 12, 2023 2:12PM

    It's 31-30 Ravens lead, great game!

  • Options
    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Unbelievable

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

  • Options
    stevekstevek Posts: 27,749 ✭✭✭✭✭

    "Are the Ravens the best team in the NFL right now?"

    Say what? 🤣

    The CU Sports Talk kiss of death is alive and well.
    Hey that goes for my posts included. 🤣🤣🤣

  • Options
    GroceryRackPackGroceryRackPack Posts: 2,481 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Oh Wow... 33 - 31

  • Options
    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lets see - best team in the NFL

    San Fransisco, Cincinnati , Baltimore, NEXT...............

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

  • Options
    stevekstevek Posts: 27,749 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Steven59 said:
    Of course they are - WHY? Because I picked the Browns today for some stupid reason!

    Good pick. 👍

  • Options
    stevekstevek Posts: 27,749 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Despite the Eagles 8-1 record, they are the worst team in the NFL.

    Nah, the CU Sports Talk reverse jinx won't work unless ya mean it. 😂

  • Options
    perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,513 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 12, 2023 2:51PM

    @stevek said:
    "Are the Ravens the best team in the NFL right now?"

    Say what? 🤣

    The CU Sports Talk kiss of death is alive and well.
    Hey that goes for my posts included. 🤣🤣🤣

    Sports illustrated Cover jinx
    Madden football Cover jinx
    CU Sports Talk Jinx

    🤷

  • Options
    MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,897 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Dustin Hopkins just learned the meaning of redemption!! o:)

  • Options
    PillarDollarCollectorPillarDollarCollector Posts: 4,778 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would say Philly and Kansas are at the top.

    Collecting interests: Coins from Latin American (2020-present)

    Sports: NFL & NHL

  • Options
    craig44craig44 Posts: 10,539 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think that a healthy San Fran is as good as it gets. they just murderized the Jax.

    George Brett, Roger Clemens and Tommy Brady.

  • Options
    DarinDarin Posts: 6,323 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @doubledragon said:
    Best team my a..

    DD- that’s why we need you posting here. That was a classic response to your own thread. 🤣🤣

  • Options
    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,484 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We have now learned the way to make a team lose. Label it as “the best team in the league,” and it is bound to lose its next game. It has worked for San Francisco and Baltimore.

    As a Cowboy hater, I’ll give a try. “Dallas is the best team in the league.”

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • Options
    BrickBrick Posts: 4,938 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No way Dallas is better than Pittsburgh. Steelers are obviously the best team in the NFL.

    Collecting 1960 Topps Baseball in PSA 8
    http://www.unisquare.com/store/brick/

    Ralph

  • Options
    stevekstevek Posts: 27,749 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BillJones said:
    We have now learned the way to make a team lose. Label it as “the best team in the league,” and it is bound to lose its next game. It has worked for San Francisco and Baltimore.

    As a Cowboy hater, I’ll give a try. “Dallas is the best team in the league.”

    I have no doubt, honestly, i sincerely mean it, that before Jerry Jones passes, many decades from now, he will have won at last 25 Super Bowls, no make it 50.

  • Options
    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Steven59 said:
    Lets see - best team in the NFL

    San Fransisco, Cincinnati , Baltimore, NEXT...............

    Just thinking - The Browns have beaten all of them but get no consideration? :D

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

  • Options
    2dueces2dueces Posts: 6,252 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Steven59 said:

    @Steven59 said:
    Lets see - best team in the NFL

    San Fransisco, Cincinnati , Baltimore, NEXT...............

    Just thinking - The Browns have beaten all of them but get no consideration? :D

    I included them in a thread somewhere earlier in the year and was laughed off the board and forced to take a week time off. Well not really but laughed at nor forced a time out but got very little feedback on my statement. They have the line, the running back ( unfortunately Chubb went down), the #1 with Cooper and a swarming defense. They could very well be the wildcard in all of the mix and a team no one wants to face in January.
    I said it all came down to Watson but honestly at this point all he has to do is play good football. I don’t see him as the superstar he was 3 years ago but he might find his rhythm at the right time

    W.C.Fields
    "I spent 50% of my money on alcohol, women, and gambling. The other half I wasted.
  • Options
    thisistheshowthisistheshow Posts: 9,386 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Coming back against the Ravens could've been the sign that they are legit.

  • Options
    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Problem with the Browns is you never know if the "Good" Browns are going to show up to play or the "Bad" Browns. If they beat the Steelers then the rest of their schedule is favorable to them (except maybe the JAGWIRES)

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

  • Options
    craig44craig44 Posts: 10,539 ✭✭✭✭✭

    if Watson is able to find the magic again, the browns could be a very dangerous team come January

    George Brett, Roger Clemens and Tommy Brady.

Sign In or Register to comment.