Ravens Week 8 Preview: Birds of War
Its a casual Friday here at By The Numbers, so drop those TPS Reports and we’ll bring on the bullets:
- Despite the Ravens’ bizarre loss against the Jags on Monday night, the Baltimore defense remains the best unit in the NFL. The defense tops the Football Outsider’s (FO) and NFL Advanced Stats rankings. In terms of traditional statistics they have given up fewer yards this season than any other unit.
- The Cards haven’t faired as well on the defensive side of the ball. The advanced and traditional metrics are in concert on the Phoenix Defense: awful. The Cards have given up the 26th most yards in the NFL and their defense is ranked 28th and 27th by FO and NFL Advanced Stats respectively.
Who would you take in a fight between these guys and Poe?
- However, the differences in team ability even out once we turn to the offensive side of the ball. After we include the data from last week’s debacle its safe to conclude that the Ravens are a below average offense. They rank 24th and 25th respectively according to FO and NFL Advanced Stats. Furthermore, they rank 20th in the league in yards per game.
- Despite Week 7 featuring 9 QBs who threw at least 2 INTs, Joe Flacco and his 1 INT still only ranked 22nd out of the 27 players to take snaps at QB. The Ravens shied away from the running game on Monday night and despite the game being close, Flacco and the receivers dropped the ball.
- Flacco targeted Anquan Boldin a whopping 12 times, but he only managed to hit him four times, for forty yards. Flacco’s accuracy has always seemed significantly better in Baltimore and its almost impossible for him NOT to improve this week.
- The Cardinals offense has been disappointing this season. After spending money and talent to acquire QB Kevin Kolb, the Arizona passing game has sputtered. The team is 18th in passing yards per game and is rated almost exactly average by NFL Advanced Stats. The Cards rushing game has also been mediocre. After starting the year with several strong performances, Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells knee has become a serious concern. As a result the Cards have fallen to 27th in rushing yards in the NFL and are also rated almost exactly average by NFL Advanced Stats. Furthermore, it appears possible Wells will sit out on Sunday.
- While the Ravens chances of winning this game seem very similar to last week’s they are actually significantly better. Last week the Ravens boasted a 59% chance of defeating the Jags, while they have a 78% chance of earning a victory over the Cards this weekend. These statistics are courtesy of New York Times 5th Down blog. The increase in the Ravens chances of winning can be largely attributed to home field advantage and historical data showing decreased performances from west coast teams traveling east.
- If the Ravens find a way to lose this home game in the week leading up to playing Pittsburgh it will be time to press the panic button. However, until then, let’s follow ‘The Win Column’ lead and view last week as one blown game on the way to the playoffs.