There has been no greater conundrum for defensive coaches this season than the Baltimore Ravens’ offense. Ever since offensive coordinator Greg Roman rebuilt the Baltimore offense from the ground up, the results have been extraordinary and the Ravens look almost unbeatable every time they take the field.
The Ravens are first in rushing, passing and total offensive efficiency as measured by expected points added (EPA) per play, and second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson is the heavy favorite for league MVP. Whether he’s juking defenders or dissecting coverages, Jackson has made this offense look unstoppable.
Despite the appearance of invincibility, the Baltimore offense may not be as dominant as you’d think. They still trail last year’s Chiefs in EPA per play, and they rank sixth in success rate among combined seasonal leaders over the last two seasons. Having said that, you’re still not going to “solve” the Ravens' offense, but you might be able to slow them down enough to come away with a victory.
This is a high-level, numbers-based analysis that leaves ideas about the implementation of strategy and scheme to those more qualified. You can think of this as a piece on how you’d analytically find edges to tilt the odds in your favor, hopefully pointing coaches towards answers and helping contextualize an opponent’s performance.
The best defense is a good offense
Starting at the highest level, you’ll see that the Ravens’ offense has been able to dictate terms to the opposing defense by getting a lead early and playing from ahead.
The Ravens have been dominant on opening drives, averaging a league-leading 4.15 points on such. And they usually maintain that lead, as they currently lead the league with a 6.59 average point differential.
It’s important to note how quickly the Ravens get leads and how well they maintain them because the numbers indicate a potential vulnerability when that doesn’t occur.