Are the Baltimore Ravens still serious playoff contenders after Week 12’s debilitating defeat? The statistics suggest their offense is screeching to an unexpected halt.
The Ravens blew yet another lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, though this loss draws blame equally from both the offensive and defensive sides.
A defense rejuvenated with the likes of Roquan Smith and resurgent cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey allowed Jacksonville to steamroll its way to a late win in the fourth quarter. Yet Baltimore held a narrow 12-10 lead heading into the fourth, so the game was far from over.
This game felt like a déjà vu experience, reliving the Ravens’ blown leads to the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and New York Giants at the start of the season, though the result feels arguably more painful because this is a game the Ravens really, really should have won.
The defense has a plethora of questions to answer, but then again, so does the offense.
The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin graphed every NFL’s teams offensive and defensive efficiency through 12 weeks of the 2022 season and had the Ravens in a tier firmly below the top AFC contenders.
Ravens’ offense is regressing halfway through the 2022 season
The Kansas City Chiefs are rightfully ahead of the pack with the most expected points per play, and the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Cincinnati Bengals are grouped together behind them.
Baltimore ranks in what could be considered the third-best tier, joined by the occasionally sporadic offenses of the Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, and others.
While this is not necessarily a reason to sound the alarm, it does raise questions as to whether the Ravens’ offense can hold its own against fellow AFC powerhouses.
Even the Bengals, who needed some time to get rolling, came away with a crucial victory against the Tennessee Titans in Week 12 and are flying high after the bye week buoyed by Joe Burrow’s brilliance.
Lamar Jackson remains an elite dual-threat, albeit one who may not be considered the most dangerous quarterback on the ground in 2022 given Jalen Hurts’ MVP-caliber performances of late.
Jackson also mightily struggled on Sunday against an average Jacksonville defense, unable to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities in the red zone.
Baltimore’s red zone issues were first exposed in Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, when the Ravens also failed to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. In Week 12, it appeared as though their offensive problems worsened; worse yet, the Ravens continue running into these hurdles against losing teams.
Against the Jaguars, the Ravens’ receivers saw potential touchdown catches fall through their hands as even the perennially reliable Mark Andrews dropped an easy pass.
Four offensive drives ended in morale-crushing field goals, and that simply shouldn’t happen to potential playoff contenders. Then, there was the scourge of critical offensive penalties and sloppy mismanagement of the play clock, which historically has not been the Ravens’ forte.
Whereas Joe Burrow’s battling Bengals and Patrick Mahomes’ commanding Chiefs continue to trend upward, the Ravens have developed bad habits on both their offense and defense with no quick fix in sight.
The Ravens started their descent from the top of the AFC North right around this time last season, and unfortunately, they may be doomed to go down the same treacherous path in 2022.