Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner
In a wasteful Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a grind-it-out win Sunday over the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens had an NFL-leading nine red-zone drives — but just two touchdowns. They averaged 3.4 points per drive, according to TruMedia, 25th in the NFL in that span.
The importance of those possessions has become only magnified because the Ravens still aren’t scoring touchdowns from anywhere else. They’re one of only four teams that haven’t reached the end zone from outside the red zone this season, along with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.
The NFC North-leading Detroit Lions, who head to Baltimore on Sunday, have eight touchdowns of 21-plus yards this season (seven passes and one run). Their resurgent defense, ranked third in DVOA, according to FTN, is also good enough to keep the Ravens out of the red zone altogether.
Monken tested Tennessee with a variety of looks. The Ravens ran five plays in both 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers) and 20 personnel (two backs, no tight ends and three wide receivers). The other seven plays were a mix of 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers), 22 personnel (two backs, two tight ends and one wide receiver) and 21 personnel (two backs, one tight end and two wide receivers).
The Ravens ran pre-snap motion on 13 of their 17 plays, which over the first five weeks had led to what the NFL’s Next Gen Stats considers a “successful” outcome on half of their red-zone plays. On Sunday, that success rate dipped to 30.8%.
Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network
The Baltimore Ravens’ defense allowed 3.9 yards per play against the Indianapolis Colts. In 16 drives, they held the Colts to 22 points. The one Indianapolis TD came on a 73-yard drive, and it was their only offensive drive of more than two first downs gained (and the only drive of over 50 yards).
The Houston Texans were likely still trying to figure things out, and Cincinnati’s offense was a train wreck to start the year. Still, the Ravens’ defense has been outrageous so far. They’re currently second in EPA and in success rate.
Baltimore’s defense certainly wasn’t at fault against Pittsburgh. While they ended up allowing the final drive to seal the game for the Steelers, their unit as a whole played another outstanding game. They’re well-coached and incredibly fast at the second level.
Although Derrick Henry looked dominant on the stat sheet with his 97 yards on 12 carries, a 63-yard run complicates his production. The Titans only managed nine non-penalty first downs for the game. They also converted just one first down on nine attempts.
Brad Spielberger, PFF
Trade compensation: 2024 third-round pick, 2025 third-round pick
Contract acquired: One year, $561,111 (fully guaranteed)
You can make a legitimate case that this trade is way too much and also too little. It’s arguably too much because there’s a very realistic scenario where Young becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season and is free to sign with any team for zero draft pick capital. It’s arguably too little because Washington could, in theory, extend fellow edge defender Montez Sweat before the franchise tag deadline and then place the tag on Young.
The Ravens are already in the top three of cash spending for 2023, so pulling off another blockbuster like they did last year in acquiring linebacker Roquan Smith may be tough to accomplish. Giving up premium draft capital also makes it harder to add cheap young talent, further compounding the issue. So, as much as Ravens fans may have wanted to see a move for Carolina Panthers edge defender Brian Burns in this article, we went with a far cheaper option both contractually and in terms of draft capital. From Baltimore’s perspective, they’re effectively buying the right to franchise tag or extend Young after the season.
Another key part of the equation is that the Ravens could choose to let Young walk after the season and recoup a compensatory pick, something they do as well as any franchise in the league. They’d really just move down a bit in the draft one year later while parting ways with a third-round pick for a very talented mercenary pass-rusher during a playoff push. Among edge defenders with at least 50 pass-rush snaps this season, Young’s 20.6% pass-rush win rate and 18.2% pressure rate rank ninth. Perhaps most importantly, given his recent injury history, we’re not just talking about efficiency on a small sample, as Young’s 31 total pressures are the fifth most in the NFL among edge defenders despite his missing Week 1.
Brandon Knapp, Pride of Detroit
Key matchup: Lions front seven vs. Lamar Jackson
As I have said throughout this article, Jackson is the Ravens’ offense. If the Lions are able to shut him down as a passer and a runner, this game can be won by them. Sure the Ravens defense is difficult and I expect this game to be low-scoring because of how good both defenses are playing.
If the Lions’ offense can’t move the ball but the defense is able to hold Jackson in check, I think the Ravens defense will falter first, crack, and eventually get beaten up by this high-powered Lions offense.
The Lions were only able to get one sack on Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield last week and it was linebacker Julian Okwara who got the sack. The Bucs protected Mayfield well and while he saw pressure, he never got taken down by it until the fourth quarter. The biggest challenge here is if the Lions are able to generate pressure on Jackson, he can quickly escape it and use his legs to move the chains. The Lions are going to need to contain him and eliminate his legs as a threat because if Detroit lets Jackson run loose, it’s how the Lions lose this game.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)
This is one of the better games of the week. The Lions are playing back-to-back road games, but the Ravens are coming off a London trip. The Ravens haven’t clicked yet on offense, but it’s coming. The problem is the Detroit defense is really good. Even so, look for the Ravens and Lamar Jackson to find a way to win this one as the offense actually shows better.
Pick: Ravens 23, Lions 17