Baltimore Ravens and the NFL's 3 Most Overrated Teams
The Baltimore Ravens are 6-2 after Week 9, but don't let the impressive first-half record fool you.
This team is overrated.
The Ravens aren't alone, either. There are four teams with good records heading into Week 10 that will prove to be pretenders before the 2012 season is up.
Follow along to see which teams are getting more love than they deserve midway through the season.
Don't get me wrong here. I'm a huge fan of what Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts have done thus far in 2012, and I love the way the team has rallied around Chuck Pagano during his time of illness.
That said, five of the team's remaining eight games will be played on the road, and Luck hasn't performed well on the road so far in 2012. In his first three road games, he's completed just 56 percent of his passes while throwing two touchdowns and a whopping six interceptions.
Also, opposing teams have been able to run the ball at will against the Colts all season long, and the offensive line is a disaster.
Furthermore, the schedule provides more competition in the second half than this team faced in the first half of the season. The Colts face the New England Patriots, the Houston Texans (twice) and the Detroit Lions.
Prediction: After starting out the season 5-3, the Colts will finish with a record of 8-8.
After losing three of their last four games, it's clear that the Vikings are not going to make any noise in the playoffs. In fact, I'll be shocked if this team ends up winning more than eight games.
Christian Ponder's solid play to start the season was a big key to the Vikings' success.
During the first four games, he threw four touchdowns and zero interceptions, and the Vikings went 3-1. Since then, however, Ponder has fallen apart, throwing six touchdowns and eight interceptions in the past five games.
Furthermore, the team's defense—which had been excellent to start the season—has given up an average of 29.5 points in the last four games.
With five games against the NFC North left on the schedule and road games against the St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans, the Vikings are in for a rough second half.
Prediction: After starting the season with a 5-4 record, the Vikings will finish at 7-9.
There is no doubt the Houston Texans will be one of the top seeds in the AFC this postseason.
That said, the Texans haven't been tested all that much this year.
This team beat the Denver Broncos in Week 3 when Peyton Manning and company were still getting settled and destroyed the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7 at home—a surprise to no one, really, considering how decimated the Ravens defense was heading into that game.
The only big test this team has faced came in Week 6, the game in which Aaron Rodgers thoroughly embarrassed the Texans secondary with six touchdowns and the Green Bay Packers won by a score of 42-24.
As good as the team's front seven is, the secondary is open to exploitation.
As good as Arian Foster and the team's running game is, Matt Schaub doesn't have enough weapons on the perimeter to beat an elite defense through the air if Foster gets shut down.
The Texans will get into the playoffs, but I don't expect this team to beat teams like the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers with the season on the line.
Prediction: After starting out the season with a record of 7-1, the Texans will finish with a 13-3 record—but will lose in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Baltimore Ravens are the most overrated team in the NFL.
Those three teams have a combined record of 5-19.
Furthermore, the once-dominant Ravens defense is now a shadow of its former self, ranking No. 26 in yards per game, No. 15 in points allowed and No. 28 in rushing yards allowed. Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb are both out, Haloti Ngata is playing hurt and so is Ed Reed, so it's not a huge surprise that this defense is struggling.
The biggest reason this team is overrated is because Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback capable of carrying his team. He has serious accuracy issues, and when the pocket breaks down—especially up the middle—he tends to make terrible decisions.
Prediction: After starting out the season with a 6-2 record, the Ravens will finish with a record of 10-6.