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Ravens Defense

Baltimore defense versus AFC North quarterbacks

I’m not a big fan of the Baltimore defense. It led the league in sacks and takeaways last year, but it lost guys and has a new coordinator. As we saw with the Eagles last year, defenses can decline in a hurry.

I think the Ravens might really miss Mike Macdonald. That was a below-average defense when he showed up (19th in scoring defense in 2021), and he was able to get them up to 3rd and 1st in his two years. I think he’s got the touch, with the right feel for figuring out how to deploy guys.

As far as players, Jadeveon Clowney (one of those guys Macdonald was able to maximize) signed with Carolina, while Patrick Queen (Pittsburgh) and Geno Stone (Cincinnati) stayed in the division. (While he’s wearing the unusual jersey number, that’s Clowney in the photo.)

All this said, Andy pointed out to me that the AFC North is defense-friendly division right now. While Joe Burrow is a franchise quarterback, he takes sacks. Deshaun Watson has been struggling. And the Steelers have a pair of quarterbacks who take sacks (Russell Wilson, Justin Fields).

Baltimore’s own Lamar Jackson also takes sacks, so while it’s probably the league’s most rugged division right now, it might also be the most favorable for defensive purposes.

In the chart below, you’re looking at the expected starting quarterbacks, along with the number of interceptions and sacks they’ve averaged as starters the last three years. The final column is the total, using 1 point for sacks and 2 for interceptions (I didn’t include fumbles).

Three rookies are listed; they haven’t started games yet. For the Vikings and Patriots, I went with the veteran quarterbacks since there are numbers to look at (though I do expect Brissett to be starting over Maye for the first half of the season).

For Raiders, I guessed Minshew over O’Connell.

I adjusted Richardson’s number. He’s started four games, but he left two of them after about a quarter, which would make him the No. 1 quarterback on this list. That’s clearly ridiculous, so I changed the total to show where he’d be based on 2.5 games rather than 4 games.

STARTING QB: Sacks & Int per game (2021-23)
PlayerTmStIntSackF Pts
Brock PurdyS.F.27.521.632.67
C.J. StroudHou.
Aaron RodgersNYJ35.461.942.86
Jared GoffDet.51.531.862.92
Jordan LoveG.B.20.701.552.95
Patrick MahomesK.C.60.721.633.07
Tua TagovailoaMia.43.771.653.19
Jalen HurtsPhi.52.622.103.33
Kirk CousinsAtl.42.622.173.40
Justin HerbertLAC48.672.103.44
Josh AllenBuff.56.891.703.48
Derek CarrN.O.50.742.023.50
Jacoby BrissettN.E.16.562.383.50
Trevor LawrenceJac.52.851.883.58
Anthony RichardsonInd.4.251.753.60
Dak PrescottDall.49.802.043.63
Kyler MurrayAriz.34.712.243.65
Geno SmithSea.36.582.583.75
Matthew StaffordLAR46.852.133.83
Lamar JacksonBalt.42.672.573.90
Will LevisTen.9.443.114.00
Daniel JonesNYG35.542.974.06
Russell WilsonPitt.44.573.024.16
Gardner MinshewL.V.17.762.654.18
Sam DarnoldMin.18.892.444.22
Baker MayfieldT.B.43.772.864.40
Joe BurrowCin.49.732.964.43
Deshaun WatsonCle.12.753.084.58
Bryce YoungCar.16.633.885.13
• Bo NixDen.--------
• Caleb WilliamsChi.--------
• Jayden DanielsWas.--------

—Ian Allan

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