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Defense wins championships. For as long as I can remember this was the motto of the NFL if you wanted to win a Super Bowl. And up to this point it was proven true that a powerful defense had the upper hand against a high flying offense. Some examples? Super Bowl 48; the Seattle Seahawks versus the Denver Broncos. Seattle had the number one ranked defense, while the Broncos sported the leagues number one rated offense. Seattle’s defense dominated as they won 43-8. Super Bowl 49; the Patriots held the Seahawks scoreless in the fourth quarter while Malcolm Butler came up with the game sealing interception in the end zone to give the Patriots the victory. Super Bowl 50; the Panthers entered the game with the NFL’s number one offense, while the Broncos held the leagues fourth ranked defense. The Broncos stifled Newton and his offense coming out victorious, 24-10.
Super Bowl 51. A lot of people say the falcons choked, which they did. Up 28-3 at one point, the Falcons were primed to win their first Super Bowl. Yet, the leagues number three ranked offense, led by Tom Brady found a way to crawl back in historic fashion and inevitably win their fifth Super Bowl title. They had been shutdown practically the entire first half, only putting up a field goal. Going into the fourth it was game over until the Pats scored nineteen unanswered and won the game in overtime.
The 2017 playoffs may provide the best reasoning as to how the NFL is now an offensive league. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings advanced to their respective conference’s championship game. Sporting the leagues’ number one and two defenses, as history has shown should have more than likely won their conference and advanced to the Super Bowl. Yet, their opponents and their offenses had other plans.
The Jags travelled to New England to face off against the almighty Patriots who sported the leagues second best offensive unit. Jacksonville jumped out to an early 14-3 lead. Early fourth quarter they held a 20-10 lead. Yet their defense could not hold as they gave up fourteen unanswered and blew their Super Bowl hopes.
The Vikings found themselves in the city of brotherly love as they squared off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Minnesota drew first blood, but that is about all they did as the Eagle’s third ranked offense torched that so called stout Vikings defense for thirty-eight unanswered points on their way to a 38-7 blowout victory.
Now what does any of this have to do with the Ravens? Well, it does not seem to me that Ozzie has come to the same realization as myself. After going defense heavy in the 2017 draft, many fans and analysts alike were scratching their heads as to why this was the direction General Manager Ozzie Newsome decided to take. Yes, Baltimore finished with the sixth best defense in the NFL which is great. But even thought the stats say that Baltimore had the ninth best offense, it was quite obvious all season long that it was much worse than stats will tell.
Stagnant more often than not, with an average receiving core, conservative play calling, and just all around bad football. Now yes it is worth taking into account the injuries that were suffered on the offensive side of the ball, you can not get around that. But if Ozzie might have gone after some weapons for Joe and the offense, maybe those injuries would not have been as severe as they were. Instead of drafting players like Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, and Chris Wormley who barely got any playing time, use those second and third round picks on some offensive playmakers that could have improved on the obvious weak link of the team. The Ravens have never been known to have a flashy offense. It has always been about hard nosed, gritty play of the defensive side of the ball in Baltimore. But it is time for a change as the NFL is evolving into a league of high flying, high scoring offenses. Baltimore must evolve with it or they will be left behind, playing catch up.
While a strong defense is important, it is not as important as a strong offense, especially with the way the NFL is trending. Defense no longer wins championships, offense does.