Key injuries just a sign of Ravens' defensive downfall

Oct 15, 2012 |
Ray Lewis is one of the aging members of the Ravens defensive corps.
Ray Lewis is one of the aging members of the Ravens defensive corps.
It’s next man up for Baltimore’s ravished Ravens, so battered by injuries that they can’t even enjoy their victory over the Cowboys or their two-game lead in the AFC North.

Baltimore got the word Monday morning that CB Lardarius Webb is out for the season with an ACL tear, and the news wasn’t expected to be any better after tests on LB Ray Lewis, who suffered a probable triceps tear in the win over Dallas Sunday.

Both are damaging blows to a defense whose key components entered the season dangerously close to Medicare age and is also without LB Terrell Suggs, on the PUP list (Achilles tendon) and out until at least mid-November.

Is the Ravens balloon close to popping?

“I think the Ravens have not been the same team defensively with Suggs out, age seeping in, and now some more potentially crippling injuries,” points out Covers Expert Art Aronson. “They have been bad against the run all year and it could get worse. I see total numbers going up for sure. Baltimore is one of the better offensive teams and they can still win on the other side of the ball. However, it sounds like they might have a hard time covering huge numbers with the way their defense looks at this point.”

The Ravens have been reluctant to turn the page on its aging defense, hoping to milk another year or two out of Lewis, Suggs and Ed Reed before stocking up in the draft. And with the offensive needle pointing up, it’s hard to blame them for standing pat.

But when you play Russian Roulette, sometimes the pistol wins. The defense is now ranked 26th, an almost unheard of standing for a team that has been in the Top 10 for the last nine years and in that span was only once lower than sixth.

Baltimore has been a mediocre bet this year (2-4 ATS) and, for the last five weeks, has been living on the edge (four wins by one score or less). Teams are moving the ball on the ground – Cowboys RBs DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones had a combined 185 yards Sunday night, Cincinnati RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 91 yards, and Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles torched them for 141 yards.

The Ravens now play four of their next five on the road, including a dogfight in Houston, where the Texans are giving 5.5 points with a total of 47 points Sunday.
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