How much did injuries affect the Baltimore Ravens' failed push to make the playoffs last season?
Not as much as many would think, according to Football Outsiders. The analytical website ranked the Ravens as the ninth luckiest team in terms of injuries.
Football Outsiders uses an adjusted games lost metric that measures not only games lost by starters and other key contributors because of injuries, but also the severity of the injuries. The three healthiest teams -- Kansas City, Philadelphia and Cincinnati -- all made the playoffs. The rest of the top 10 -- Washington, Cleveland, Tennessee, Buffalo, St. Louis, Baltimore and Minnesota -- did not.
By my count, Ravens starters missed a total of 37 games last season. The offense took most of the hits. Tight end Dennis Pitta missed the first 12 games with a hip injury, and left guard Kelechi Osemele was out for the final nine games after undergoing back surgery. Two of the team's top three wide receivers (Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown) were sidelined a combined six games.
The other factor is how injuries limited running back Ray Rice and quarterback Joe Flacco, even though they only missed one game between them. Rice wasn't the same after hurting his hip in Week 2, and Flacco was not at full strength in the final month of the season because of a sprained knee.
Defensively, only linebacker Jameel McClain (six games, spinal cord contusion) was out a significant period of time. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata, outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and defensive end Chris Canty missed one game apiece.
The Ravens were more banged up in 2012 and ranked 13th by Football Outsiders' injury metric. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and cornerback Lardarius Webb all dealt with significant injuries. The key that season was the Ravens getting healthy at the right time heading into the playoffs, which eventually ended with a Super Bowl title.