Bad defense is usually bad sign for Ravens

November, 1, 2012
11/01/12
1:30
PM ET
The Ravens still lead the AFC North and have the second-best record (5-2) in the AFC. The challenge for Baltimore is to get to the playoffs with a struggling defense, which is something the Ravens have never done before.

In the Ravens' 16 years of existence, they've only failed to field a top-10 defense in four seasons: 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002. Every one of those seasons resulted in losing ones. It didn't matter that the Ravens had top-10 offenses in 1996 and 1997.

This year, the Ravens have fallen to 28th overall in defense, a free fall of 25 spots from the end of the 2011 season. The Ravens are currently giving up 400 yards per game, which is a franchise-worst pace. No Ravens defense has ended a season allowing more than 368.1 yards per game.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after eight weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (17th), run (23rd), pass (11th) and scoring (14th).

Defense: Overall (21st), run (22nd), pass (16h) and scoring (25th-tied).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (29th), run (29th), pass (19th) and scoring (25th).

Defense: Overall (26th), run (24th), pass (25th) and scoring (19th-tied).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (16th), run (19th), pass (13th) and scoring (11th).

Defense: Overall (28th), run (30th), pass (24th) and scoring (17th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (10th), run (21st), pass (7th) and scoring (13th).

Defense: Overall (2nd), run (9th), pass (1st) and scoring (9th-tied).

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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