Upon further review, Ravens are as good as any other team in the NFL through Week 10
ESPN Analytics writer Seth Walder categorized 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 suspensions”) 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 moving in the major league to join the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles — 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 game ranks the Ravens as the third-best team overall, behind only the Bills and Eagles. DVOA compares a team’s performance based on the situation against a league baseline to determine the above average score. The Ravens are #3 on offensive DVOA, #13 on defense, and #1 on special teams.
But let’s put the metrics aside for a moment and just look at the Ravens’ work so far in the season and how it compares to the teams considered the best in the NFL.
They are the only team in the league to lead in double figures in every game this season. Only eight other teams in NFL history have accomplished the feat.
The Ravens haven’t played cupcakes either, as only two of their opponents have lost records so far. According to Football Outsiders, the Ravens have played the third-toughest schedule. They won three teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today (New York Jets, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) as well as reigning AFC champions Cincinnati Bengals.
Baltimore’s three losses — to the Miami Dolphins (7-3), Bills (6-3) and the New York Giants (7-2) — totaled 11 points.
“Would they like another chance in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Giants? Of course. They could be up 8-1 and have a stranglehold on the AFC North.” Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun wrote. “But they’ve built a lead in their division – bolstered by the Bengals’ 3-0 record against AFC North opponents – without meeting a single windbag opponent. Their roster has grown stronger with the recent additions to defense and will only get stronger with the expected return of [tight end Mark] Andrews, running backs Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins, and safety Marcus Williams. Meanwhile, their schedule is weakening: sixth-easiest in the league for the rest of the way, according to 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 straight game, 2-0 at AFC East and finished sixth in the conference. Preseason MVP favorite Josh Allen has a touchdown pass, four interceptions and a fumble in his last two games and six interceptions in his last three.
The Chiefs are playing well, but their record this season includes a loss to the Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1) and a one-point home win to the Las Vegas Raiders (2-7).
This isn’t meant 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 suggests the Ravens are as good as anyone in the NFL, and as Walker said, they will be getting a number of key players back from injury in the near future.
“It makes an enticing picture for a team that sounded confused about its self-destructive nature after its 24-20 loss to the Giants on Oct. 16,” Walker wrote. “If the Ravens are romping through the rest of their schedule, does that mean they’re ready to defeat the Bills or the Kansas City Chiefs with a Super Bowl trip at stake? no They’ve yet to prove they can play Play these offensive juggernauts in the post-season Crucible. But Mission #1 got back to the point where they could ask those questions of themselves, and the Ravens are on their way.