Beating the Baltimore Ravens is never easy. This is one of the NFL's more successful franchises. The Ravens have traditionally fielded ferocious defenses, making it tough to put up points. While this year's Ravens team is not quite up to the standards of prior years, the defense is still a force to be reckoned with.
The offense, however, is another story. For all their defensive nastiness over the years, the Ravens' offense has often operated like the forgotten stepchild of the organization. Rarely have the Ravens fielded top offenses. One way to beat the Ravens traditionally has been by shutting down their offense and eking out just enough points against them to secure a victory.
That brings us to the stat of the week. The formula for beating the Ravens in 2016 hasn't really been clear. The New York Giants did it by torching the Ravens' secondary, but nobody else has managed to do that. The Cleveland Browns are the only team to have run successfully against the Ravens, but they lost anyway. Only two teams have managed to intercept Joe Flacco this year. Both did it twice. Both teams lost. There hasn't really been any clear path to victory in 2016 against the Ravens. So I'm going with the longer view in the stat of the week.
Over Joe Flacco's career he has not been particularly careful with the ball. In 68 of his 128 NFL starts Flacco has been intercepted at least once. In those 68 games the Ravens have produced a 30-38 record. In the 60 games Flacco has gone without an interception the Ravens are 48-12. So despite the fact that the only two teams who have intercepted Flacco in 2016 both lost, long term the way to victory is clear: pick off Flacco.
Unfortunately for the New York Jets this is easier said than done. Only one player on the Jets has recorded an interception this year: Marcus Williams. In six games the Jets have recorded an anemic two interceptions. The way to beat the Ravens might be to pick off Flacco, but it isn't clear the Jets have the players to do that. Sunday would be a very convenient time for the Jets to show otherwise.
Failing that, there is this feeble string of hope to grasp onto. In 2016, the teams that have NOT intercepted Joe Flacco have gone 3-1 against the Ravens. So if the Jets have nobody to intercept the ball, perhaps they have the Ravens right where they want them. That diabolical plan just might be crazy enough to work.