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Ravens News 10/14: Plus-73 point differential and more

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

D is new MVP: Ravens defense stealing spotlight from Lamar Jackson - Jamison Hensley

When you exclude the Week 3 loss to Kansas City, this defense has created more than twice as many turnovers (nine) as touchdowns allowed (four). In the four wins this season, this defense has totaled more quarterback hits (43) than points given up (42).

It’s been a nonstop barrage of Humphrey punched-out fumbles, Marcus Peters interceptions, Matthew Judon quarterback hits and Queen tackles.

“This defense is fun,” Judon said. “That’s the best way I can describe it. When we hit like that, everybody is on point, and we’re just fired up. We feed off of each other’s energy.”

The Ravens’ defense had plenty of energy last season, when it ranked No. 4 in yards allowed and No. 3 in points given up. But the defense was considered the sidekick to a Ravens offensive attack that regularly put up 40 points and dominated time of possession.

So far this season, Jackson and the Ravens are not reaching the end zone as frequently and not eating up as much clock. This hasn’t affected the defense, which ranks in the top five in yards per play, rushing yards allowed and third-down conversions.

“We want to be the best,” safety Chuck Clark said. “We want to be No. 1 in every category, so that’s our goal. We’ll let the chips fall from there.”

Baltimore Ravens Week 6 situation: AFC North is no cakewalk, a veteran rusher comes to life and more - Aaron Kasinitz

Last season, the Baltimore Ravens waltzed to an AFC North title, finishing with six more wins than any other team in the division. That was partly because the Ravens were a 14-2 juggernaut and partly because their rivals struggled with injuries, inconsistent play and other factors that made them feeble challengers.

The Ravens (4-1) might still be favorites to take home the AFC North crown, but the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0) and Cleveland Browns (4-1) won’t make it easy.

Cleveland leads the NFL in rushing yards and takeaways through five weeks, providing first-year coach Kevin Stefanski with a tried and true winning formula. The Ravens are scheduled to play at the Browns on Monday Night Football on Dec. 14 in a late-season game that could hold significant postseason implications.

Pittsburgh remains the lone unbeaten team in the AFC North, riding the NFL’s second-ranked run defense and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s return to a strong start.

The Ravens play at the Eagles on Sunday before their bye week and then host the Steelers on Nov. 1 in their return to the field. Baltimore is scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh for a rematch on Thanksgiving.

Last Year-itis Is Unfair And Overstated - John Eisenberg

The front office spent the offseason trying to build a defense that could better stop the run and factor more in winning games. It stumbled during a Week 3 loss to the Chiefs, but big picture, the Ravens lead the NFL in fewest points allowed per game and only one team has forced more turnovers.

The Ravens might well end up having better balance between their offense and defense in 2020. Which was the goal.

This year, the Ravens have won games by 32, 17, 14 and 24 points so far. They might have work to do, but they aren’t exactly a sinking ship. Their overall plus-73 point differential is easily the league’s largest.

It’s a new year. This team is going to win games differently. That’s what happens in the NFL, where change is constant.

Eagles DC Has A Telling Comment On Ravens QB Lamar Jackson - Matt Hladik

Lamar Jackson may not be matching last season’s ridiculous numbers so far this year, but the reigning league MVP still commands tremendous respect from opponents.

This weekend, Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens take on the Philadelphia Eagles. The task of strategizing to contain the dual-threat quarterback falls to Philly’s veteran defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Schwartz knows he has his hands full. In a media session this afternoon, he paid Jackson the ultimate compliment, calling him “probably the most dangerous player in the league.”

Through five games, Jackson has thrown for 949 yards and nine touchdowns against just two interceptions. He’s completing 63.7 percent of his throws, down a little from 2019’s mark of 66.1 percent.

Ravens to Play in Front of Limited Fans for First Time in 2020 Season - Ryan Wormeli

The Ravens’ Week 6 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles is going to look a little different than the team is used to this season.

For the first time in 2020, the Ravens will be playing for a limited audience - 7,500 fans to be exact.

The timeline for when the Ravens might allow more fans at M&T Bank Stadium remains unclear, as the ultimate decision for each NFL team is up to their respective local governments. Some stadiums have allowed fans all season, while others have been completely empty since Week 1.