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Ravens News 10/5: NFL’s offensive explosion, Special Teams rankings and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Move over Rams, Ravens are the NFL’s most complete team - Jamison Hensley

The best team in the NFL right now? The consensus is the Los Angeles Rams, who sit atop most power rankings.

But the most complete team in the NFL? That title currently goes to the Baltimore Ravens, and the numbers back this up.

The Ravens are the only team to rank in the top 10 in offense, defense and special teams efficiency, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Ravens (3-1), meanwhile, are clicking in all phases. Baltimore ranks No. 10 in offense because Flacco is healthier than he has been in three years and he has trust in his new targets (John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead). The offense has scored at least 20 points in 13 straight games (dating to last season), which is the longest streak in the NFL.

And Tucker has made 28 of his past 29 field goals (96.5 percent), with his only miss resulting from a blocked kick.

Justin Tucker gives the Ravens an advantage over every team in the NFL at the kicker position. However, the Rams rushing offense is ranked seventh compared to the Ravens at 23rd. On defense, Los Angeles has a better defensive line and more speed at safety while the Ravens linebacker corps is clearly superior. Maybe these teams will have the opportunity to settle this debate in the Super Bowl.

NFL first-quarter special teams rankings - Eric Eager

BALTIMORE RAVENS

SPECIAL TEAMS RANK: 22

Justin Tucker has continued his brilliant career this year, going 3-3 on field goals of over 50 yards so far.

The traditionally strong fifth phase was likely downgraded due to blocked kicks and fumbles. Hopefully coordinator Jerry Rosburg has corrected these issues. Worth noting, Justin Tucker was the Ravens representative on PFF’s first-quarter All-Pro team.

Six Reasons for the NFL’s Early Offensive Explosion - Albert Breer

“They are playing aggressively on early downs,” said one rival quarterbacks coach. “And that’s a trend sweeping the league.”

It’s sweeping the league, mainly because it’s working—and just as the league wants it to. With an influx of gunslinging young quarterbacks, rules changes geared towards juicing offenses, unintended consequences of other rules changes and coaches more open-minded than ever before, passing numbers and scoring have exploded.

The league’s collective completion percentage (65.4) and passer rating (94.5) are also four-week records, topping marks set in 2014 (64.3, 91.5).

Passing yards through four weeks (32,215) also ran at an all-time high, edging the mark set in 2016 (31,616).

Eleven quarterbacks have more than 1,200 yards through four weeks. The previous four-week high there was seven, in 2011.

Seven quarterbacks have double-digit touchdown passes, and 10 have a triple-digit passer rating. Both are four-week high water marks.

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco is among the group with more than 1,200 yards and has a 96.9 passer rating through four games. His highest season-long quarterback rating was 93.6 in 2010.

RB Index, Week 5: Five running backs who merit more touches - Maurice Jones-Drew

Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens: Alex Collins and Allen have been involved in an equal amount of offensive snaps this season, with Collins getting 11 more touches than Allen heading into Week 5. Collins is averaging more yards per touch, but he has one major issue: He fumbles the ball. Collins has fumbled twice (both lost) through four games, including a crucial one at the 1-yard line in Sunday’s 26-14 win in Pittsburgh. Furthermore, Collins has fumbled eight times (five lost) since 2016. Allen hasn’t fumbled at all during that span. You can be the best running back in the world, but fumbles are so detrimental (just ask Adrian Peterson).

Allen has proven to be Baltimore’s better back right now and should be rewarded. The Ravens have already used him in creative ways, but it’s time that Allen’s touches per game increase from 10.5 to around 18.

Jones-Drew believes Baltimore’s Week 5 opponent, Carlos Hyde, has been the eighth best back in the league this season.