Yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens lost 23-20 to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. Today, ahead of Monday Night Football, Football Outsiders has the Ravens with the third best odds in the NFL to reach the Super Bowl.
Updated Football Outsiders playoff odds!— Aaron Schatz (@FO_ASchatz) October 3, 2022
Current SB favorites:#BillsMafia 24.5%#FlyEaglesFly 19.8%#RavensFlock 9.4%#GoBucs 7.3%#ChiefsKingdom 6.6%#GoPackGo 5.1%#DallasCowboys 4.1%#RamsHouse 3.4%https://t.co/2oG6trKH84
While the Ravens suffered a frustrating defeat at home, their fifth straight at M&T Bank Stadium, there weren’t all negatives. The Ravens’ defense effectively bottled up MVP favorite Josh Allen, holding the vaunted Bills offense to 326 total yards, 4-of-11 on third down, made two red zone stops and fought through several questionable calls. While the they allowed scores in four of the Bills’ final drives, they only allowed two total touchdowns on the day.
Mike Macdonald’s unit also forced a three-and-out in the fourth quarter after the Bills intercepted a Lamar Jackson pass at the 50-yard-line. A fishy roughing the passer call gave Buffalo a first down and put the Bills in field goal range on the Bills’ final drive after the Ravens.
Football Outsiders has the Ravens offensive DVOA leading the NFL while their defense is ranked No. 16. Their special teams rank first and have generated 227% higher DVOA than the next closest team. Considering the Ravens just regained J.K. Dobbins, who is slowly returning to form, Ronnie Stanley and Tyus Bowser are set to return and Lamar Jackson leads the NFL in touchdowns passes, things are not all gloom and doom in Baltimore.
The Ravens will play their first divisional game against the Cincinnati Bengals at home on Sunday night, but don’t have a daunting remaining schedule. The Ravens still play the remainder of their division and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are likely to be favored in the vast majority of their schedule and Football Outsiders sees it the same way.
While the Ravens have struggled to play complimentary football in the second half, their defense appears to be clicking and the Ravens have an elite quarterback with their star left tackle primed to return from a two-year injury saga. The Ravens had every chance to put away the No. 1 team in the DVOA rankings, the Bills. However, with a schedule comprised of winnable games and lessons to be learned early in the season, the Ravens are sitting much prettier than they appear. The Bengals are certainly a formidable opponent, but have had their own struggles. Per Football Outsiders —
15. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow’s under-pressure passing numbers by week:
Week 1: 18 dropbacks, 5-of-8 for 40 yards, 1 TD, 7 sacks.
Week 2: 15 dropbacks, 3-of-7 for 21 yards, 0 TD, 6 sacks.
Week 3: 13 dropbacks, 4-of-10 for 79 yards, 3 TD, 2 sacks.
Week 4: 4 dropbacks, 1-of-2 for 18 yards, 0 TDs, 1 sack.
The non-sack, non-attempt dropbacks are scrambles, of course. The Bengals are cutting down on Burrow’s pressure by relying more on dumpoffs and unproductive Joe Mixon runs, but that’s progress of a sort.
While teams are still making swings week-to-week and the season is early, the Bengals have struggled to protect Joe Burrow and have been absolutely dreadful against cover-2. Per Sports Info Solutions, Joe Burrow is 24/33 for 268 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions against cover-2. He’s also been sacked eight times and pressured 12 times total. The Ravens could possibly have Justin Houston back and/or Tyus Bowser who is now eligible to resume practicing after a four week stint on the injured reserve to start the season.
Their pass rush could consist of Odafe Oweh, Jason Pierre-Paul, Bowser and/or Houston, Calais Campbell, Justin Madubuike, Travis Jones and Broderick Washington. They’ve had success blitzing Patrick Queen, too, who had three quarterback hits Sunday, bringing his total to five on the season. That’s the most of any inside linebacker in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
Weekly injuries are the most underrated factor in determining winners and losers, but the Ravens should be getting relatively healthy at the right time and their schedule looks to be quite winnable in general.