This year's Baltimore Ravens are an interesting case study. They could very well be the best team in the NFL. Actually, they could very well be one of the best NFL teams of the last 40 years. And they are 7-3, just one game ahead in a formidable AFC North. It's weird. Very weird.
Good Morning Football showed a stat this morning showing where John Harbaugh's squad stacks up through 10 games against other teams who simply refused to spend any extended period of time trailing. Only the 1984 Miami Dolphins and 1998 Denver Broncos had played from behind less. This year's Ravens have been more in control than the 1990 Giants and 2007 New England Patriots. All of the other teams on this list were a perfect 10-0 at this point of the season.
Baltimore's third loss came yesterday as they allowed the Cleveland Browns to claw back from a 24-9 deficit. A seemingly unstoppable Ravens offense hit a wall, Lamar Jackson threw a pick-six, and Dustin Hopkins booted a game-winning field goal as time expired. In Week 5 Baltimore jumped out to a 10-0 lead and then stopped scoring completely to help the Pittsburgh Steelers regain control for good with a Kenny Pickett touchdown pass with 1:17 remaining. Back in Week 3 the Indianapolis Colts got the best of Baltimore in a back-and-forth affair decided with another late field goal.
This is a classic good news, bad news situation. Yes, the Ravens are objectively awesome and it wouldn't be hard to find someone who think they're the class of the NFL. But stumbling this frequently while dominating and getting so little yield is a real problem. Especially when one remembers the road to Super Bowls is usually paved with multiple close games
It's all a matter of perspective and I'd be more glass half-full on this puzzler. Although it'd be hard to think of a legitimate AFC contender who would more benefit from homefield advantage.