Ravens ‘Will Win the Division by at Least Three Games’

Upon Further Review, Ravens Are As Good As Any Team in the NFL Through Week 10

ESPN analytics writer Seth Walder divided all 32 teams into playoff picture tiers, from Tier 1 (“True Super Bowl contenders”) to Tier 7 (“Rest up for 2023”).

The Ravens were placed in Tier 2 (“Playoff locks”) along with the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys and given a 97.4 percent chance of making the playoffs. However, a solid case can be made for Baltimore joining the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles in the top tier — especially after seeing how Week 10 played out for the latter two teams.

Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), which breaks down every NFL play, ranks the Ravens as the third-best team overall, trailing only the Bills and Eagles. DVOA compares a team’s performance to a league baseline based on situation to determine value over average. The Ravens are No. 3 in offensive DVOA, 13th in defense, and No. 1 in special teams.

But let’s put the metrics aside for a moment and just look at the Ravens’ body of work to this point in the season and how it compares to the teams regarded as the NFL”s best.

They are the only team in the league to have held double-digit leads in every game this season. Only eight other teams in NFL history have accomplished the feat.

The Ravens haven’t been playing cupcakes, either, as only two of their opponents thus far have losing records. According to Football Outsiders, the Ravens have played the third-toughest schedule. They have victories over three teams who would be in the playoffs if the season ended today (New York Jets, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) as well as the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals.

Baltimore’s three losses — to the Miami Dolphins (7-3), Bills (6-3), and New York Giants (7-2) — have been by a combined 11 points.

“Would they like to have another shot at their fourth quarters against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Giants? Of course. They could be 8-1 with a lead in the conference and a stranglehold on the AFC North,” The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker wrote. “But they have built a lead in their division — enhanced by the Bengals’ 0-3 record against AFC North opponents — without facing a single cream-puff opponent. Their roster has grown stronger with the recent additions on defense and will grow stronger still with the expected returns of [tight end Mark] Andrews, running backs Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins, and safety Marcus Williams, Meanwhile, their schedule will grow weaker: sixth easiest in the league the rest of the way, per Football Outsiders.”

Last night, the previously undefeated Eagles lost at home to a Washington Commanders team that entered the contest with a 4-5 record. On Sunday, the Bills lost their second game in a row to fall to 0-2 in the AFC East and the sixth seed in the conference. Preseason MVP favorite Josh Allen has one touchdown pass, four interceptions and a fumble in his past two games and six interceptions in his past three.

The Chiefs are playing well, but their resume this season includes a loss to the Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1) and a come-from-behind, one-point win at home over the Las Vegas Raiders (2-7).

That’s not to take anything away from the Eagles, Bills, Chiefs, or any other team, and there’s still plenty of football to be played. At this point, however, the evidence indicates the Ravens are as good as anybody in the NFL, and as Walker stated, they’re going to be getting a number of key players back from injury in the near future.

“It adds up to an enticing picture for a team that sounded bewildered by its self-defeating nature in the wake of its 24-20 loss to the Giants on Oct. 16,” Walker wrote. “If the Ravens romp through the rest of their schedule, does that mean they’re primed to defeat the Bills or the Kansas City Chiefs with a Super Bowl trip on the line? No. They will still need to prove they can go play for play with these offensive juggernauts in the postseason crucible. But mission No. 1 was getting back to the point where they could ask those questions of themselves, and the Ravens are on their way.”

Russell Street Report’s Tony Lombardi wrote: “Just take care of business, one game at a time, continue to refine and grow as a team, play their best football in December and January, and that ultimate prize is attainable for the Ravens – emphasis upon the one game at a time.”

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