Every Wednesday, reporter Jon Meoli will serve up five stats you should know heading into that week's Ravens game. This week's stats, unpacked as the Ravens look to prevent a three-game losing streak when the Tennessee Titans come to town Sunday, focus on some bigger-picture trends that are emerging from the season.
86.4 -- The Ravens' run defense has been among the best in the league this season, ranking sixth in yards allowed with just 86.4 per game. Expect this game to be another when, in both run-stopping and pass-rushing, the Ravens' front seven shines in front of the home crowd. Rookie Bishop Sankey, whom you're probably glad you didn't draft in your fantasy league, has been the primary running back of late, but he didn't find much running room in the last month.
6.1 -- As Grantland's Bill Barnwell noted in his column today, the Ravens' point differential (plus-66) means its expected record is just a hair better than 6-3, not 5-4. That would make this season look better in a lot of lights. The rub, of course, is which teams the real-life wins that provided that big differential came against, and which teams have wins against the Ravens on their ledger. No amount of window dressing can change the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals swept the Ravens, they split with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and can finish no better than .500 in the division.
4,181 -- Quarterback Joe Flacco hasn't been terribly consistent from week to week, but he is still on pace for a career-high 4,181 yards this year. He's also on pace for a career-high 28 touchdown passes, and is near career highs in completion percentage and yards per attempt. If Flacco is going to build on these and have the career year many expected offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to lead him to, he'll have to take advantage of the Tennessee pass defense that's middle of the road in yards allowed and has allowed 13 passing touchdowns -- same as the Ravens -- despite having played such quarterbacking luminaries as Alex Smith, Blake Bortles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brian Hoyer so far.
31.2 -- Now that he has finally broken a return for a touchdown, it's worth noting that this has been a solid returning year by the numbers for Jacoby Jones. His 108-yard score Sunday in Pittsburgh raised the team's return average to 31.2 yards per return, best in the league. Granted, Jones has had fumble issues while returning punts and is no longer a part of the offense, but for those wondering why he's still around, there's your answer.
11 -- Speaking of wide receivers who are given a hard time, Torrey Smith is the 11th-best rated receiver in football this year, according to Football Outsiders. Their rankings take into account the astonishing 161 yards in penalties Smith has drawn on eight separate fouls this year. Had those been catches, he'd have a much more representative showing for his effort this year. A much different picture would be painted for the fourth-year receiver in a contract year if he had 582 yards in nine games with maybe eight or nine touchdowns on those penalty-inducing deep balls.