The Baltimore Ravens were coming into the 2020-21 season with high hopes. They had added big upgrades on defense with Calais Campbell and Patrick Queen who were supposed to answer their problem with run defense. They also had the reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, on the other side of the ball. The Ravens might have been the one team that could have challenged the Chiefs. Yet now in December midway through the season, the Ravens are 6-4 and third in the division they won a year ago.
Offense has regressed
Lamar Jackson won the MVP last season, and with the breakout season that he had it seemed like the Ravens had found their franchise QB. This season Lamar has regressed, and it has been showing up in the loss column. While Jackson is still a dynamic runner, one of the biggest reasons he got MVP was for his passing ability. This season, his completion percentage is lower than 2019 by 3%, and he has already thrown the same amount of picks as last season with 6 more games still left on the calendar. The offense ran through Jackson in 2019, and now that his play has suffered it seems like the offense has to0. The Ravens are only passing for an average of 183 yards per game which is only higher than the winless Jets. This is due to a drop off on Jackson’s side, but also due to a very poor receiving corps. The Ravens only have 2 players that have eclipsed 400+ yards on the season, and their division rival the Pittsburgh Steelers have 3 players over 500 yards. There is no number one receiver on the Ravens, and while Mark Andrews is a talented tight end he is not the answer to Baltimore’s problem. There was much offseason news about how Marquise Brown was set to take over the number one receiving duties, but he only has 431 yards on the season. Baltimore knows that this is an issue and we have seen them try and make moves such as signing Dez Bryant to their roster. The ground attack has been solid with J.K Dobbins and Mark Ingram, but any team can not be successful unless they can produce in the air and on the ground.
The Defense is solid but not good enough to carry the team
The Baltimore defense has improved, and that was expected from the moves they made over the offseason. Adding Campbell, Queen, and Yannick Ngaouke on a trade from the Vikings helped this team have a top defensive unit. While the defense has been limiting other teams to an average of 19 points per game, it still has not been enough to help the Ravens win some big games. The last team we saw have a defense good enough to carry a team was the 2018 Chicago Bears. This defense is a bright spot on the team, but will need a good offense to help back them up in high scoring games against teams like the Seahawks and Chiefs.
The Ravens are set to play the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday, and if they take another loss then they would be dropped to 6-5. They are fighting with teams like Miami and Las Vegas, when coming into the year they had hopes of fighting with Kansas City and the Steelers.
Top Image: AP Photo/Nick Wass