The Baltimore Ravens are off to a hot start after beating the Houston Texans on Sunday by a score of 29-14. Currently sitting atop the AFC North, Baltimore has certainly looked impressive thus far.Baltimore started the season off with a huge statement as they pummeled Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7. The Ravens might have been emotionally spent after that game, because a week later they found themselves losing to the Tennessee Titans 26-13. Since then they have righted the ship with victories over the St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, and the Texans this past week.
The Ravens have been putting up points at a high clip this season. Their 29.6 points per game ranks them fifth in the NFL behind offensive juggernauts such as the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. Not too shabby!
Defensively, the Ravens are tops in points allowed with 14.2, which is two points better than the next closest team, the San Francisco 49ers.
Joe Flacco has been average so far, but still leading their high powered offense.
On the season, Flacco has completed an ordinary 51.4% of his passes for 1,278 yards to go along with his seven touchdown passes.
Ray Rice has been his dominant self, rushing for 398 yards and two scores. Rice still maintains his position as one of the best receivers out of the backfield with his 21 catches for 302 yards and two scores.
Anquan Boldin has been having himself a very nice season so far. Boldin has hauled in 23 passes for 354 yard sand a score, but one number I love about Boldin is that 19 of his receptions have been for first downs. Those are clutch numbers I love to see come playoff time.
Defensively, the Ravens have been beating up opposing offenses as usual. The leader of that defense, Ray Lewis, is yet again among the leaders in tackles with 42 total (his 34 solo tackles rank him 12th in the NFL). Lewis also has two sacks and an interception, at an age where most linebackers have already opted for retirement.
Terrell Suggs is having himself a nice season as well, with four sacks and an interception. Ed Reed and Lardarius Webb lead the team with two interceptions each. The big guy up front, Haloti Hgata, inspires nightmares in opposing running backs, quarterbacks and offensive linemen. So far, Ngata has 21 tackles, two forced fumbles and two sacks.
The next four weeks should tell whether the Ravens make the playoffs, and if they do, whether they get to play some home playoff games at last.
A test is coming as three of their next four games are on the road. Next week Baltimore travels to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars on Monday Night Football before coming back home to play the Arizona Cardinals the following Sunday.
Then, on Sunday November 6, Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh to play a Steelers team hungry for revenge for what the Ravens did to them in week one. After that, another road game for Baltimore as they head out to Seattle to play the Seahawks.
So far the Ravens are looking good, and if they can keep this up, there is no reason they shouldn’t make a serious title run, but let’s just take this one game at a time!
by Andy Mindzak