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Are the Ravens really the worst undefeated team in the NFL?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Being the best or the worst undefeated team is pretty worthless in grand scheme of things. Being 3-0 is all that matters to John Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens. No, the Ravens have not been dominant at all, squeaking by in all of their games. No, the Ravens are not the best undefeated team in the NFL, but are they the worst? No way.

The Patriots are clearly the best team, with wins over the Cardinals and Texans, all without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski (yes, Gronk played against the Texans, but he only played 14 snaps). The Broncos are second, with a historically great defense and a new quarterback coming into his own. Plus, they have wins over the Panthers and Bengals.

Once those two are out the way, the rankings of the remaining undefeated teams, Ravens, Eagles and Vikings, is largely up for debate. Strong cases can be made for and against each team.

Let’s start with the Ravens. The offense has been completely stagnant. The running game that was all the rage in the preseason, is now nowhere to be found. Joe Flacco has been only okay, not elite, thus far into 2016. And while the offense has struggled, the defense has thrived. In terms of total defense, the Ravens are second in the NFL. The speical teams has already blocked two kicks, plus the legs of Justin Tucker and Sam Koch have been a huge part of the Ravens success. Based on stats alone, Pro Football Focus ranked the Ravens as the best team in the NFL. The downfall the Ravens face is strength of schedule. If this were college football, the Ravens could not afford to lose anymore than one game to make the College Football Playoff to overcome such a weak, and backloaded, schedule. And that’s why the Ravens are ranked by as the worst undefeated team, they haven't played anyone good, and they sure didn't best them easily. So while stats say the Ravens are one of the best teams in the NFL, strength of schedule says otherwise.

The Vikings are in a pretty similar boat to the Ravens, in terms of how there team has looked so far. The Vikings have an incredible defense, but only a mediocre offense. While the Sam Bradford to Stefon Diggs connection is hard to stop, the Vikings running game is quite the opposite. With Adrian Peterson out for extended time, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata are the lead backs, and neither will put up the kind of numbers the Vikings need out of their backfield. The Vikings offense has greatly decreased potency without Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater, but the defense has been even better than it was last year. The Minnesota defense got to Cam Newton eight times in Week 3. The Vikings are my third best undefeated team, based off of how good the defense has been and how they have recovered from injuries. Plus they have played much better team than the Ravens.

To me, the worst undefeated team is the Eagles. Yes, they did just blowout the Steelers, but outside of that, the Eagles have had an easy schedule of their own. The Eagles others wins are over the Browns and Bears, neither of which are strong opponents. While Carson Wentz does seem to be legit, the rest of the Eagles is a group of pretenders. The running game has been atrocious, Ryan Matthews struggled to get anything going against the Bears. The same Bears defense that Ezekiel Elliott put up 140 yards on the next week. The defense which has been very good, will not be able to keep this up. The Eagles are in the top ten of the NFL in terms of stopping the pass, the secondary just isn’t good enough to keep that up. Especially since the Eagles do have to face two of the best passing teams in the NFL, the Giants and Redskins, two times each.

All aside, the Ravens, Vikings and Eagles are all interchangeable My rankings of the undefeated teams would go as followed:

  1. Patriots
  2. Broncos
  3. Vikings
  4. Ravens
  5. Eagles