Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Strong Defense Is Only Reason Ravens Are In 1st Place

By Chris Schisler

November 28, 2016

The Baltimore Ravens Defense Deserves Nothing But Credit For Giving The Ravens A Chance To Win The AFC North

The Baltimore Ravens offense ranks 25th in points scored per game. They rank 18th in passing yards per game and 28th in rushing yards per game. Needless to say the offense has been disappointing. Despite these very unappealing numbers, the purple and black are 6-5 and due to the head to head tie breaker with the Pittsburgh Steelers, are in first place in the AFC North.

The Baltimore offense has been awful. When you compare the results of the Ravens offense to the results of their opponents, you see how good the defense is. The offense has gained 209 first downs compared to their opponents 183. Joe Flacco and company have gained almost 4,000 yards more than the Ravens opponents have this season. Justin Tucker has gone 27-27 on field goal attempts this season. Baltimore’s opponents have only tried 14 field goals this season and only scored on nine of them. While opponents have combined for six more touchdowns than the Ravens offense, that just shows you how impaired the purple and black are when it comes to scoring.

Baltimore’s defense is allowing just 18.3 points per game, which is the fourth best in the NFL. Dean Pees’s defense ranks in the top 10 in almost every statistical category. The overwhelming conclusion to all of this is simple. The defense is so good, that it is carrying the entire team.

Every week the defense is asked to do it all. The defense knows going into the game that they can’t win in a shootout. The purple and black have to get big time results from the defense to even have a chance of winning. Baltimore has won six games and it is the defense that deserves the most credit.

The Bottom Line

A 2016 Ravens game has a very familiar pattern. The defense gets off to a strong start. The defense keeps the team in the game while the offense wastes their potential. Eventually the dam breaks and the defense gives up a big play or two. It’s hard to win when the defense has to dramatically out perform the offense just to stay in the game. If Baltimore wins the AFC North with this stagnant of an offense, the defense deserves a ton of credit.

Dean Pees is now calling the defense from the sideline and it is making a huge difference. Now Pees can communicate with the players better. This may explain why he seems to fix things and adjust better in the game. Lardarius Webb and Eric Weddle have strengthened the back end of the defense. This has given Pees the freedom to mix of pressures and coverage schemes.

The Baltimore defense may be the most impressive unit in all of football. There are few teams that have asked their defense to do more for them. The defense has been put in bad spot after bad spot and Terrell Suggs and company don’t blink. What could the Ravens do if the offense got their act together?

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