There’s no way around it. The Baltimore Ravens, right now, are the best team in the NFL. They are the most dominant team in the NFL, as well, scoring easy victories against quality opponents, and since the trade deadline, they have been doing so with efforts from both sides of the ball.
As Pittsburgh Steelers fans, there probably aren’t too many of us who actually like the Ravens, but it’s hard not to appreciate from a football perspective what they’re doing this year. I don’t know if their concepts will be sustainable, but it’s been electric, and as Lamar Jackson continues to get better and better, finding the ‘answer’ to stop him is appearing ever more elusive.
He came just a few yards shy of his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season last night, and that is only because he was pulled from the game thanks to a commanding lead. There is now no question that he will rush for over 1000 yards this season, now about 125 yards away, and it’s likely he will break the all-time single-season rushing record by a quarterback.
Oh, and after his second five-touchdown game, he is also tied with Russell Wilson for the most touchdown passes this season at 24. That puts him on pace for 35 on the year, which is more than Ben Roethlisberger has ever thrown in a single season, although that would only top the league in only one of the past 10 years should he finish with that number.
We can talk about Lamar Jackson on another day, however. Right now, let’s just talk about the Ravens. They have now won seven consecutive games, sitting at 9-2, and looking better than the New England Patriots, whom they only need to slip up once more over the final five weeks to take over the number one seed.
They have also been dominating teams. Since they entered the more challenging part of their schedule, beginning with a win over the Seattle Seahawks on the road in Week Seven, they have recorded wins by two or more touchdowns in five consecutive games.
They have scored at least 30 points in every game, over 40 points in each of the past three, putting up 202 points in that five-game span. Their opponents have scored 62 points in that span, including just 26 points over the past three weeks.
They already entered the game as the number one offense in the NFL. They just set their new franchise record for the most touchdowns in a season…with five more games to play. They also entered the game with the number eight scoring defense. They moved up one spot there, but nobody is close to New England, which is barely allowing 10 points per game over the year.
Next week, they host the San Francisco 49ers, who just blew out the Green Bay Packers and are 10-1. They are pretty much the last serious test on the schedule. That should be an interesting game.