After the Baltimore Ravens week 6 performance vs the Dallas Cowboys, an NFL Staff member writing on this blog stated “New rule: Start your running backs against the Ravens”.
The staffer doesn’t provide much information as to why, but only mentions the following tidbit “More proof that the Ravens rushing defense isn’t what it used to be: DeMarco Murray has 39 yards on four carries and Felix Jones ripped off 21 yards and a TD on his first carry.”
With that said, lets look a little more inside the numbers to see if this is a plausible statement to abide by…
The first two weeks they gave up 100+ rushing yards but managed to curb it in weeks 3+4 (only giving up a combined 128 yards). However, when they did manage to stop the run, they got crushed in the pass game in weeks 3+4 by giving up a combined 633 passing yards. There are not many teams that can win week in and week out giving up 300+ yards a week.
Why the outlook is so bad for the Ravens defense (and why you should start any running back on your team against the Ravens defense): The Ravens have clearly had their defensive struggles but have somehow managed to maintain a record of 5-1, however, Ray Lewis, the Defensive leader of the team not just in terms of experience but also leading the team in tackles this year went down with an torn tricep injury and is done for the season. Also, the Ravens best corner Lardarius Webb is gone for the year with a torn ACL.
For a already struggling defense that now lost arguably their two best players, facing one of the leagues best running backs in Arian Foster and the Texans in week 7, it is simply not possible for the Baltimore Ravens to patch up the defense to stop the run AND stop the pass while trying to replace Lewis and Webb in a single week. The only way they will win vs the Texans or anyone this year is, dare I say, the offensive unit of Flacco, Rice, Bolden, Smith, Pitta putting up consistently good numbers.
Is Baltimore’s new slogan “Offense wins Championships?” It’s something to watch out for in coming weeks.