AFC North Division round-up: Baltimore Ravens up/down September
Talk about a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team… Just who are the 2019 Baltimore Ravens? Are they AFC North contenders or pretenders? Will the real Baltimore Ravens please stand up?
Look, the 2019 Baltimore Ravens offense is dynamic and can keep up with the best of the best. The defense on the other hand… well, let’s just say the unit needs some work. This is a major bummer, too, as the Ravens have, at times, looked like one of the better teams in the league. That’s failed to be true over the last two games however. Unsurprisingly, Baltimore sits at 2-2 now.
When the Ravens are clicking, they look like a lock to win the AFC North. Lamar Jackson is a legitimate MVP candidate and his receiver Marquise Brown also looks like he could win an award of his own (Offensive Rookie of the Year). The two look like Pro Bowlers, as do Mark Andrews, Ronnie Stanley, and Marshal Yanda. With Justin Tucker a threat to score anywhere on the field, Baltimore’s offense looks unstoppable.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much they can do if the defense can’t hold its end of the bargain. This supposedly “elite” secondary has been repeatedly torched this year, and because of it the Ravens have been passed by the Cleveland Browns for first place in the AFC North. Not a great look for the reigning AFC North champs.
What is Baltimore to do? The solution is simple on paper, but the defense needs to do a better job on locking down their assignments. Tony Jefferson is struggling mightily, but he’s not alone. Coverage needs to be tighter, rushing lanes need to be squeezed, and more discipline is needed.
The defense needs to step up if the Ravens want a shot at the playoffs, let alone the AFC North division crown, because the offense is doing more than enough by exceeding expectations.