Baltimore Ravens Market Correction

Baltimore Ravens Market Correction

The Baltimore Ravens are currently in a rut. They’ve lost three out of the last four games including a demoralizing loss at home to the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens have looming another looming loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers to open December. There is a real chance that Baltimore wakes up on December 2 just one game above .500 and on the outside of the AFC playoff picture. For the Ravens, it seems as if the sky is falling, but it did not have to be this way. It is a case of the Baltimore Ravens market correction being overzealous following the 2019 season.

Baltimore Ravens Market Correction

High Expectations Swayed Reality

Heading into the 2019 season, many analysts predicted that the Ravens wouldn’t finish well. Some reputable sports sites had the Ravens finishing with five or six victories. They often had the Ravens finishing third or fourth in the division. Baltimore overachieved, winning 14 games, and rolled to the number one seed in the AFC. The expectations of Baltimore therefore skyrocketed entering 2020.

The expectation of 2020 was that Baltimore would be a Super Bowl contender. Many people predicted them to win the AFC and even capture their third Lombardi trophy.

However, these people fell into a trap. On a fundamental level, the 2019 Ravens overachieved. Everything went perfectly for them. There were few injuries on offense or defense, and the Greg Roman scheme worked to perfection. Baltimore was the most dynamic rushing offense since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. They set the NFL record for most rushing yards in a season, and they averaged an absurd 5.5 yards per carry.

Defensively, the Ravens added Marcus Peters during the middle of the season, and they transformed into one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. For a 17-game stretch, the Ravens were the No. 1 scoring offense and No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL. The Ravens were excellent. Then, the market corrected.

In regression to the mean, the Ravens began sustaining injuries in 2020. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley broke his ankle, and he will be out for the rest of the season. Mark Ingram has missed time as have Calais Campbell and Marlon Humphrey, all Pro Bowlers in 2019. The rushing offense of 2019 has taken a step back in 2020

The Rushing Attack

Baltimore still has one of the best running games in the NFL. As of writing, they average 4.9 yards per carry. Lamar Jackson is one of the most elusive players in NFL history, and the likes of Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins can keep the chains moving. However, they have become easier to defend through injury, the retirement of Marshal Yanda, and the trade of Hayden Hurst

So what?

Much of Baltimore’s success in 2019 came by exploiting advantages. In the run game, teams began to add extra defensive lineman and linebackers to stop the power game. To adapt, the Ravens begin to utilize the play-action pass. Mark Andrews became a Pro Bowler in large part because he and Jackson have incredible zone instincts.

In 2020, teams have noticed that Baltimore does not have the overwhelming blocking ability that they had in 2019. In 2019, the Ravens had an All-Pro left tackle, two Pro Bowlers on the right side of the line, and a Pro Bowl full back in addition to two of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. At this point in 2020, four of those pieces are gone. The Ravens are now unable to have such dynamic blocking on power plays. The offense is the main source of the Baltimore Ravens market correction.

Power Outage

With the absence of the power run game, the Ravens have resorted to more lateral runs. While Jackson, Dobbins, Edwards, and Ingram can have success on these lateral run plays, they are often more prone to tackles for loss or minimal gains. The defense likes when the Ravens run laterally because they are not gaining yards. For every yard that Jackson runs laterally, the defense doesn’t have to defend him vertically.

With the absence of the power run game, teams can load up with defensive backs. The purpose of the defensive back is two-fold against Baltimore. The main goal of the defensive backs is to contain the lateral run game. The lumbering defensive lineman and linebackers often can’t make plays on lateral runs, but speedy defensive backs can. The presence of extra defensive backs also decreases Baltimore’s efficiency in the play-action pass game because more players on the field are capable of defending the pass.

Not every team has a personnel of the 2018 Los Angeles Chargers or 2020 New England Patriots in terms of being able to throw out six or seven competent defensive backs at a time, but other teams can force Jackson to turnovers like the Pittsburgh game. There seem to be three clear ways to knock off Jackson and the Ravens. First, the Kansas City Chiefs always beat the Ravens. Second, teams like the Steelers can force Jackson into many turnovers and win if they are not playing Mason Rudolph and/or Devlin Hodges. Third, teams can counter Baltimore’s run game by loading up with defensive backs. These teams are no longer at a disadvantage because Baltimore’s blocking has been compromised.


The performance of the Ravens is relatively bad to the expectations they had put on them. However, the Ravens are still one of the better teams in the NFL. At this point, they have lost against teams with the two best records in the NFL, Bill Belichick, and Derrick Henry and the Titans.

As a whole, Baltimore has corrected the market to where it should be, a good team that is competitive weekly, but a team that has flaws. Many people believe that Baltimore was the best roster in the NFL, and that may be true, but the Ravens have had to deal with injuries, just like other teams, and they have failed to adequately replace the talent and they have lost through retirement, trades, and free agency.

Even with a nightmarish season, the Ravens have winnable games in December. After the Pittsburgh game that was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving, the Ravens play the 3-8 Dallas Cowboys, 3-7 New York Giants, 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars, and Joe Burrow-less 2-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals in addition to a Monday Night Football game with the 7-3 Cleveland Browns. Baltimore would be heavy favorites in all five games. It may be time for another Baltimore Ravens market correction.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images