When you look at the NFL standings today and see the Baltimore Ravens at the top of the AFC North with a 4-1 record, does it matter whether or not that 5th win was by a 9-6 score or 90-6? A win is a win in the NFL regardless of the score, just as long as you score at least one pore point that the opposition. That's all that matters, right? Right?
Or does it? The Ravens 9-6 victory over the 1-4 Kansas City Chiefs was unimpressive to say the least. Three measly field goals and not one trip into the end zone for a team that was averaging over 30 points per game in their first four. Against a team that was in total disarray and had lost their two other home games by double-digits.
The Ravens offense never really got untracked and could not take advantage of four Chiefs turnovers, including one inside Baltimore's one-yard line that would have given Kansas City Chiefs the lead in the third quarter. Fortunately for the Ravens, the Chiefs were just a bit more inept than they were, which was just enough to let them escape with the win.
But is a win like this good enough? Sure, it counts just as much as a blowout, but can the Ravens continue to win in this manner against the better teams in the league? It seems clearly evident that the offense just does not perform anywhere as good on the road as it does at home. The offensive line might be able to open holes for Ray Rice to run through, as evidenced by his 102 yards on 17 carries.
However, when it comes to pass protection, they cannot give QB Joe Flacco the time he needs to find his open receivers. To further complicate things, even when they do, Flacco's accuracy is obviously nowhere near as sharp as it is in Baltimore. Completing less than 50% of his pass attempts, his 55.6 QB Rating was easily his worst performance of the season.
Defensively, the team cannot stop the run, giving up over 100 yards to Jamaal Charles in the first half, although to be fair, they did limit him to only 15 more in the second half. However, time and time again, Charles found holes in the defense as the interior of the Ravens line was shoved backwards off the line of scrimmage.
Thankfully, the Chiefs passing attack was abysmal, which limited the chance that Kansas City had to pull off the upset as the game progressed down the stretch and their running game was not nearly as successful. Kudos go out to the edge setters, both Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw, both of whom had solid games.
The Dallas Cowboys come to Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium next Sunday for the team's first 1pm home game this season. While the Ravens are a much better team defending their house, the Dallas Cowboys offense will present a greater threat to the Ravens defense. In addition, a lackluster performance by the offense might not be enough to get a win again.
Or will it?