Remember the Baltimore Ravens of old? A questionable offense most weeks, but one thing was certain every week: their defense is what made the team relevant – and very successful. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the usual suspects making a mockery of most teams’ offenses on nearly a regular basis.
But things have changed a bit in Baltimore – and for the good, if current results mean anything to you. They’re high in most power rankings – and for reasons that would be more different than you think.
Don’t get me wrong – they still have a pretty decent defense. Ask the San Diego Chargers last week – remember the highlight reel play of Lewis stuffing running back Darren Sproles on a 4th-down play (which should’ve been a passing play, but I digress)? That should tell you that the defense hasn’t regressed all that much. But what is surprising is that the Ravens’ offense has kicked it up a notch.
So far this season, they have scored 69 points (just behind the New Orleans Saints). But the difference here is that unlike previous seasons, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has incorporated a blend of running and passing (quarterback Joe Flacco is a star in the making and they have a decent two-headed running corps of Willie McGahee and Ray Rice) which thus far, in my humble opinion, is the main reason for Baltimore’s 2-0 start.
And in the ever-competitive AFC North, that’s a big deal because the Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-1 and have yet to play the Ravens.
Now teams have to – as opposed to in the past – actually formulate a game plan for the Ravens’ offense. They have to naturally prep for their defense weekly (they can still be dominant), but they now have another responsibility to deal with. Should Baltimore continue doing what they’re doing, the AFC North should be decided by Week 14. And the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs most definitely would be within reach.