Baltimore Ravens showcased their stingy, opportunistic defense in a dominating 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 16 in Baltimore.  

Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) strips the ball from Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer (7) forcing a turnover during the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Ravens forced the Browns to commit five turnovers Sunday, the same amount of times they took the ball away from the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener last week. That marks the first time in franchise history that the Ravens have forced five turnovers in back-to-back games.

In all, Baltimore has eight interceptions, along with eight sacks and two fumble recoveries in just two games. That’s truly amazing. 

Baltimore Ravens free safety Lardarius Webb (21) intercepts a pass intended for Cleveland Browns Rashard Higgins (81) during the second half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The last time a defense played this well was in the 2016 postseason, when the Denver Broncos’ defense tore through every opponent en route to a Super Bowl championship. Before that, it was the Seattle Seahawks terrorizing offensive players during their 2013 Super Bowl campaign.

So far, this Ravens unit looks as good as both the 2015 Broncos and 2013 Seahawks. They may even be as good as the 2000 Ravens. 

Despite the defensive success, the Ravens continue to suffer injuries to key players. 

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) pulls in a touchdown pass under pressure from Baltimore Ravens strong safety Tony Jefferson (23) during the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Ravens announced that All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda is out for the season after fracturing his ankle against Cleveland. Yanda is widely regarded as the best guard in the NFL, and his absence is a significant blow to the Ravens offense. 

Ravens star defensive tackle Brandon Williams also suffered a foot injury and left the game early. It’s uncertain how much time Williams may miss.  

Williams and Yanda join Danny Woodhead (hamstring) and Za’Darius Smith (knee) on the Ravens injury list.

Baltimore has high hopes of returning to the postseason this year and if they can remain healthy, they have the makeup to be a serious contender.  But if the injuries persist, all bets are off. 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor