There is a team in the AFC North looking very scary as the 2023 NFL season hits the halfway point. With a quarterback playing at an MVP level and a defense allowing the league in points allowed, the Baltimore Ravens are knocking at the door for the No. 1 spot and are making a major statement as a Super Bowl contender.
With Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles taking the top spot in the NFL.com Week 10 NFL Power Rankings, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens at the No. 2 spot garners no complaints given how the team has performed this season on both sides of the ball. But when it comes to this Ravens team, the defense has been stellar.
Baltimore Ravens defense has been superb and very stingy!
Ranked one spot ahead of another team taking pride in their defense, the Kansas City Chiefs, NFL.com writer Eric Edholm applauds a defensive unit that is looking familiar to those Ray Lewis and Ed Reed days in Baltimore.
“Much of the buzz around this team surrounds Lamar Jackson, and there's little mystery as to why,” Edholm writes. “But the defense deserves heaps of praise, too. Baltimore now leads the NFL in points allowed (13.8 points per game), ranks second in yards per game allowed (262.6) and is third in sack percentage (9.4 percent). Any time you can rack up four sacks and hold a quality opponent to six first downs and three points, you've dominated.”
In winning four consecutive games, the Ravens have certainly benefitted from the stellar play of their quarterback. Jackson has been phenomenal so far this season in getting it done with his arm and legs. The scary part about the Ravens offense and the team as a whole is they really haven’t gotten much out of Odell Beckham Jr. yet and another wide receiver, Rashod Bateman, is just now starting to come on again.
With that offense striving to get even better, the emphasis on how the defense is playing makes the Baltimore Ravens a very dangerous team in the AFC and Lamar Jackson is here for it. Praising his defense on Wednesday, the outstanding quarterback applauded the D side of the ball for making the offense better.
"Not trying to toot our own horn, but I believe our defense has no weakness," Jackson told the media on Wedensday. "Just from the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary, how they're flying around and disguising defenses -- making it look like one coverage, but it's something else -- and how they time up their blitzes, it helps us out a lot, because when we're playing other teams, they're flying around and giving us their best shot. It's like we're seeing one of the best defenses every day."
Speaking of that defense, Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen and them boys are ready to take on Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns in a Week 9 AFC North Battle. Another win may just flock the Ravens into that No. 1 spot.