The Baltimore Ravens had one of the best offenses in the NFL last season. Amazingly they have more star power on defense:
The Baltimore Ravens offense ranked near the top of everything in the 2019 season. Lamar Jackson was the MVP of the NFL. Along with Jackson, Mark Ingram, Ronnie Stanley, Orlando Brown Jr,, Marshal Yanda, Mark Andrews and Pat Ricard all went to the NFL Pro Bowl. With all of this being said and with Yanda enjoying retirement, the Ravens still have more star power on defense than they do on offense.
The Ravens have to All-Pro cornerbacks in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Humphrey and Peters are two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Peters is the best cornerback in the NFL at the pick-six routine. Humphrey may be the best all around cornerback in the game. Earl Thomas being a Pro Bowl free safety gives the Ravens a ton of star power right there.
The Ravens defense also has Calais Campbell on the defensive line. Campbell is a player who has been to the Pro Bowl five times, including the last three. He won the 2019 Walter Payton award for his work off the field. He’s been a superstar in the league for more than a decade.
Say what you want about Matt Judon, but he went to the Pro Bowl last season and he’s playing on the franchise tag this season. He’s a very recognizable star who plays at a high level. It won’t take long before Patrick Queen adds to the star power the Ravens have defensively.
That’s five players on the defense that register some serious star power. On offense you have Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Ronnie Stanley and Mark Andrews as your main attractions. Sure, the tie could go to the offense if you included Marquise Brown, but 46 receptions isn’t getting you superstar status.
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The defense also has some players who fall on the borderline of star power. Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe are very good defensive linemen. Chuck Clark is emerging as one of the better strong safeties in the NFL. Getting a healthy Tavon Young makes the secondary even more loaded.
On offense the Ravens are rolling with one of the most unproven receiving units in the NFL. It will be some combination of Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead, Devin Duvernay and James Proche. Last season it was a combination of Brown, Snead, Boykin and Seth Roberts. The NFL MVP did a lot of the heavy lifting. The Ravens found a very talented quarterback and that is the biggest reason for the success in the passing game.
While Mark Ingram is certainly a player who counts as a star, the run game is also fueled by Jackson and the impact he has on the defense. It’s also a running back by committee approach and J.K. Dobbins just got added to the backfield rotation.
If you take away Jackson you take away they dynamic elements of the offense. The Ravens could still function as a ground and pound offense with Robert Griffin III. Andrews would basically be in the same spot Todd Heap was in for so many years, being an elite tight end in a one dimensional offense. Jackson was the MVP for a reason. He had talent around him, but he also made everybody around him better.
Contrast this with the defense. The Ravens have an star at every level of the defense. They have the most star studded secondary in football; Campbell gives them a headliner on the defensive line and Matt Judon was worth the franchise tag. The defense isn’t good because one person makes everybody better. The defense is good because there is so much talent on it top to bottom.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens have a chance to be the most balanced team in the NFL this season. They have an offense that can put up 30 points on pretty much every team in the NFL. They have a defense that should be able to hold teams to 20 points or less. The Ravens are going to be a hard team to beat because they have so much talent on both sides of the ball. Opponents almost have to hope that they find the Ravens on a bad day (like the playoff game with the Titans) or that they can play a perfect game.
As explosive and dynamic as the offense is, the Ravens have even more star power on defense, at least in quantity. Nobodies star shines quite as bright as Jackson’s and that may never change. The Ravens have so much talent on defense and it’s being overlooked.