Ravens predicted to finish with a top-five defense in 2022

Ravens. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Ravens. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

No team in the NFL has perhaps as high a bar for defensive excellence as the Baltimore Ravens, and the team’s defense could feasibly soar throughout the rest of the season.

Within the span of a month, the Ravens have gone from having the league’s 30th-ranked defense to the 19th-ranked defense, and that massive improvement is no fluke.

Early in the season, Baltimore ran into some secondary and overall defensive issues as displayed by their several fourth-quarter collapses, falling to the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills and nearly squandering leads against the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.

Despite their relatively recent struggles, one could point to the Ravens’ dominant victory over the New Orleans Saints in Week 9 and see how their defensive unit has been transformed. Can Baltimore’s defense maintain its ascent? One NFL pundit certainly thinks so.

The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec gave a few predictions on the second half of the Ravens’ season and had this to say about their defense:

"With trade acquisition Roquan Smith settling in, rookie second-round pass rusher David Ojabo primed to make his debut after the bye and safety Marcus Williams expected back in December, the Ravens should be only getting better.Five of the Ravens’ final nine games are against teams ranked in the bottom third of the league in total offense, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t drastically improve their defensive rankings over the final two months."

Ravens’ defense is on the rise after Week 9 and could become a top-five unit

Nine weeks into the season, it seems like the Ravens’ defense is finally gelling together. The pass-rush has steadily improved due to efficient performances from Justin Houston and Odafe Oweh, and the unit as a whole recorded an 11.1 percent sack rate from Week 6 to Week 9, good for third-best in the league.

And their pass-rushing corps hasn’t even reached its peak form yet — rookie David Ojabo should get his first taste of NFL action soon, and last year’s sack leader Tyus Bowser should see an increase in his snap counts after a solid first game back from injury.

The Ravens admittedly still rank 28th in average passing yards allowed per game, yet the secondary has limited big plays in the past few games and owns the depth to stay efficient with Marcus Williams sidelined for a month or so.

Baltimore’s front seven played lights out against the Saints in Week 9, and their elite level of production appears sustainable for the rest of the year. Not to mention, linebacker acquisition Roquan Smith adds a new dimension and predatory threat to the defense and should help cover any of Patrick Queen’s inconsistencies in the middle of the field.

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The Ravens have been one of the more unpredictable teams in the league so far, yet their defense should keep them anchored for the rest of the season. Anything below a top-five ranking will be a disappointment for this elite group.