Baltimore Ravens week six spotlight: The defensive line

Ravens. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens defense will be taking on a lackluster Philadelphia Eagles offense this week, but we’ll be keeping our eye out on the defensive line.

The Baltimore Ravens defensive line got some major juice this offseason in the forms of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. The two of them joined Brandon Williams and Justin Ellis to make up a solid looking group. Baltimore also drafted two more guys for the unit in the forms of Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington. It looked like the defensive line was set to overachieve and be a point of strength for an all-around terrific defense. To this point, the defensive line has actually underachieved.

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Well, I suppose it depends on what your definition of “underachieved” is.

Baltimore’s defensive line has done a terrific job stopping the run in 2020, surrendering just 92 rushing YPG and 3.7 YPC. This works out perfectly for the Ravens, who now force teams to pass the ball heavily because they’re unable to run the football. Against a secondary boasting Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, this is less than ideal.

While that’s been good and all, they’ve struggled to get after the quarterback. Yes, Baltimore has 16 team sacks, but seven of those came last week vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, five of which were from defensive backs. On the year, only one defensive lineman (Calais Campbell) has recorded a sack. That’s not great for what you’re paying for and expecting from this unit.

This week the Baltimore Ravens face the Philadelphia Eagles, who have fallen well short of expectations. Philadelphia is barely 1-3-1 on the year and has looked worse than mediocre offensively thus far behind Carson Wentz‘s league-leading nine interceptions. While Wentz has struggled behind a bad offensive line and injury-riddled receiving core, he’s still been flat-out bad. This presents the perfect opportunity for Baltimore’s defensive line to step up.

Unfortunately, the unit will be without starters Williams and Wolfe, however. This will put extra onus on Campbell to generate more pressure from the interior. The Ravens will also be looking for its rookies, Madubuike and Washington, to step up as well as Ellis to take over at nose tackle for Williams. It’s a beat-up group, but it’s one that has to play better.

While we shouldn’t expect the defensive line to magically put up 10 sacks with two starters out of the lineup, we are absolutely looking for them to show-out against one of the worst offensive lines in football and a bad offense as a whole. There are simply little-to-no excuses here. It’s now put-up or shut-up time for the defensive line.

Baltimore Ravens defense should rock against Philadelphia Eagles. dark. Next

With the unit a bit banged up due to injuries, we’ll be sure to watch this defensive line and see just how good the depth here is. No, the Philadelphia Eagles are far from a juggernaut, but the Baltimore Ravens will nonetheless be looking for good play. Baltimore’s defensive line needs to roll this week.