AFC North: Slipping From Divisional Powerhouse Status

shelbydermer
Oct 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) rushes for a one-yard touchdown against the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) rushes for a one-yard touchdown against the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Javorius Allen (37) high fives wide receiver Chris Moore (10) after scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Javorius Allen (37) high fives wide receiver Chris Moore (10) after scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

Baltimore Ravens (4-4)

The Ravens are coming off a 5-11 campaign a year ago. Largely caused by over 20 players on the IR by season’s end, including starting quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore was forced to use four different starters over the 16-game slate.

The Ravens lost nine games last season by eight points or less. But in the first three weeks of 2016, they found a way to pull out close games over a 3-0 start. However, Baltimore reverted back to last season’s form over a four-game losing streak.

But the Ravens bounced back on Sunday, opening up a 21-0 lead over the Steelers before holding on by a touchdown in the game’s final minutes.

Joe Flacco, like he usually is in the regular season, has been average. He has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and has an overall passer rating of just 76 (29th among starters). On top of that, Baltimore owns the AFC’s worst rushing offense, with leading runner Terrance West averaging just 55.6 yards per game.

Baltimore’s defense is holding opponents to just 19.1 points per game, which has been the key to a .500 first-half. With every one of its games being decided by one possession, the Ravens could be 2-6 or 6-2. But so far, they’ve been just good enough to own the top spot in the North, a division they haven’t won since 2012.

Next game: Thurs, Nov 10 vs. Cleveland (0-9)

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