Ravens offense starting to look Super

Adam Schein/FOXSports.com.
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/b...er-bowl-112610
Nov 26, 2010 4:38 PM ET


The Ravens' offense can help carry them to a Super Bowl.

The Patriots are currently the best team in the NFL. The Steelers are the Steelers. The Jets have been getting the attention since Hard Knocks and have kept the momentum going with a great 9-2 start. Indy employs Peyton Manning. Iím still not sold on the Chargers, but Phil Rivers has been sensational and that top-ranked San Diego defense deserves kudos.

Shhhhhhhh. Donít sleep on the Ravens. This is a boom.

Look, the NFL has never been more wide open. Itís a week-to-week league. And the Ravens' defense, while still very strong, hasnít completely resembled the dominant unit from prior years.

But, which team defense do you trust? Is there an elite defense in the league right now? Even with deficiencies at cornerback, Baltimore, with the great Haloti Ngata and the tested Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, has a defense that still changes games and wins games. Don't sleep on Baltimore's defense.

Which leads us to the Baltimore offense. Ravens receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh has an interesting perspective, seeing the Ravens as a rival for all those years in Cincinnati. Houshmandzadeh told us on Wednesday, "Playing against Baltimore while I was in Cincinnati, I would say by far we now have the best offense I've ever seen the Ravens have. And what's scary is we have the potential to be much better. We are leaving some points on the board."

Scary and true. Sometimes, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron gets too enamored with the pass and forgets he employs Ray Rice. The bread and butter of the Baltimore offense should always be Rice, Willis McGahee, Michael Oher and the Baltimore offensive line, and the power running attack.

And it's not that Joe Flacco isn't up for the challenge in his third year. I love this cat. Flacco has 16 touchdowns against seven picks. And Anquan Boldin has added sizzle to the passing attack with 48 catches and six touchdowns. Houshmandzadeh, signed right before Week 1, is getting in the flow. Todd Heap is back from near extinction. And Rice is a major weapon in the passing attack. Plus, despite a sideline blow-up between Flacco and Derrick Mason, the veteran receiver remains a security blanket on third downs for Flacco. Mason caught his 900th pass last weekend, becoming the 13th player in NFL history to reach that number. He is super consistent.

And I don't fully understand how the greatness of John Harbaugh remains underrated. He doesn't have Belichick's rings or Rex's bravado, but Harbaugh deserves credit for being a great coach who wins games. His teams are smart and physical and they protect home field.

Baltimore has already beat the Jets and Steelers,and went to overtime with the Patriots.

The AFC is wide open. I'm on record saying the Patriots are currently the favorites.

But don't sleep on the incredible balance of the Ravens, who can beat you in a variety of ways, including on offense.