Outsider’s View: Baltimore Ravens – Week 11

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We at TJB love advanced statistics and have long been fans of Football Outsiders.  Now that the season is underway, we’re going to take a look at the weekly opponents through the overall and unit rankings through the lens of Football Outsiders.  Let’s take a look at how the Ravens are stacking up.  

(As a heads up, negative percentages are good on defense, but bad on offense & specials)

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Chicago BearsPass Offense: -2.4% (23rd)
Rush Offense: -28.7% (31st)
O-Line Ranking: Run 31st / Pass 23rd

Analysis: Think things have been bad for the Jets rookie?  The Super Bowl winning quarterback / twenty million dollar man ranks only marginally better than the worst quarterback that Football Outsiders tracks … of course now coming of a four turnover game Geno Smith is that worst quarterback.  Flacco ranks 37th overall, just six spots above the Jets own Geno Smith.  Sigh.  The skill position players have been a major problem for the Ravens.  Ray Rice is not his usual self this season and while their tight ends have been solid if unspectacular, Torrey Smith has done his best to step into the spotlight.  Marlon Brown is the team’s next best thing, but it shouldn’t be more than the Jets can handle if Dee Milliner’s damage to his own team can be limited.

The Jets should have no problem stopping the run and getting after Joe Flacco in the passing game, but the Jets need to be wary of Smith and Brown in the passing game.  The Jets showed last week in Buffalo that their troubles with the deep ball didn’t evaporate once Ed Reed was on the roster.  The Jets are going to have to drop as many in coverage as possible to depend Flacco’s tendency to air it out.

Pass Defense: -1.7% (10th)
Rush Defense: -18.0% (5th)
D-Line Ranking: Run 22nd / Pass 3rd

Analysis:  Obviously, this is the side of the ball that the Jets need to be most worried about.  So far we’re seeing that the Jets struggle to win when opponents can shut down their running game and can match up the Jets with a solid scheme and plus corners.  This defense contains all three of those characteristics.

For the Jets, it is going to be hard to run the ball, but the might have to give it the ol’ college try anyway.  The strength of the Ravens run stopping comes from their linebackers corps, so if the Jets play it right they might be able to grind some first downs on a three yards and a cloud of dust type game.  Even if they can best the Ravens line, the Jets are going to have to throw the ball eventually.  And that means Geno Smith.

While it might put them in some bad down and distances, the Jets should try and throw the ball on some first downs to get the Ravens off their guard.  Using screen passes and throwing the ball to running backs seems to work well against the Ravens, so look to see the Jets work Bilal Powell into the passing game this week.  The Jets are going to have to do a better job of protecting Geno, but Geno is going to have to do a better job of getting the ball to the open man and do so decisively against an attacking Ravens front.

The Jets should try screen passes and short routes to their slot receivers and hope that Bad Ladarius Webb comes to play on Sunday.

Special Teams: 2.0% (12th)

Analysis: The Ravens are a solid special teams unit, but they have some areas of expertise and some areas of weakness.  The Ravens struggle in their punting game behind Sam Koch, they are good at field goals and Tandon Doss is among the league’s best punt returners.  The Jets punting and coverage should be able to match up well against Doss, but one missed tackle on special teams could have a major impact against a player as lethal as Doss is.