Winning one-score games is important in the NFL. Outside of exceptions like the 2007 Patriots, an NFL team is going to win more games by a touchdown or less than by 20 points or more. It's even more important if a team wants to go deep into the playoffs, as the teams there are legitimate contenders for the Super Bowl and are too good to get blown out (most of them are anyway, looking at you Colts). The Ravens were not so lucky when it came to one-score games in 2014, going 3-5 in said games, with the victories coming at the expense of the 7-9 Browns, 7-9 Saints, and 4-12 Jaguars.
Going into the season, we all expected that record to improve. The Ravens have one of the better coach-quarterback combos in John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco, they have a quality offensive line and running game to help control time of possession and finish games, and a defense that already ranked fifth in points allowed would be even better now that the secondary would be healthy.
But the Ravens aren't better at winning close games. In fact, they're worse, as their win total can show you. Yes, it's a good thing that the Ravens have been able to avoid getting blown out of games and are still in a position to either force overtime or get a win completely right up until the final tick of the clock, even with all of their injuries. The team still has some spirit. But that doesn't change the fact that the Ravens are 1-6.
There's multiple reasons on why this is going on. The first and most obvious reason is the defense. The defense has allowed 188 points so far this season and is on pace to allow 430 points by the end of the season. Wanna know how bad that is? That's only 11 less points than the franchise worst 1996 Ravens defense allowed. The Ravens can't even score 30 points a game and win comfortably. The defense allowed the Raiders and Browns to march down the field and score with less than two minutes, the Browns were allowed to come back from a 12 point deficit.
The second reason is the young offense. All three of the Ravens tight ends have less than three years of NFL experience. Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle are rookies, the best performing rookies, but still rookies. Kamar Aiken is a second year player in terms of actually being on an NFL field. Breshad Perriman will be a rookie once he makes his debut, Darren Waller is also a rookie. Buck Allen is a rookie. Six out of the Ravens nine major skill position players are first or second year players. Steve Smith, Justin Forsett, and Kyle Juszczyk are the only ones that have three or more. There's going to be some growing pains at tight end and wide receiver. Amazingly, the offense still manages to be okay and score 23 points a game, something that would be passable if the defense could keep the opposing offense from scoring on every drive.
The third reason for this record is injuries. The Ravens have been without Breshad Perriman for almost half the season and that has taken away the Ravens' main deep threat. The tight ends have been banged up. Steve Smith missed a game because of broken ribs. The offensive line has had to play James Hurst for the first few games because Eugene Monroe missed the first few games with a concussion and they might have to do it again based on how Monroe's shoulder is feeling. John Urschel might start in place of Kelechi Osemele if he's not healthy. The Ravens defense has also been suffering from injuries. Terrell Suggs tore his ACL in game one. Lardarius Webb has been banged up. Jimmy Smith isn't 100% healthy yet. Kendrick Lewis and Terrence Brooks both missed yesterday's game. Injuries have taken a toll on this team.
If there's one silver lining to be brought from this situation, it's that the Ravens are probably the best 1-6 team in the league. They've "only" been outscored by 27 points this whole season and the Ravens haven't lost by more than eight points this entire season. With better health, more experience, a new defensive coordinator, and a draft that should bring in some elite prospects, the Ravens should be in for a turnaround next season.