The Baltimore Ravens' defense is a suffocating, smothering bunch, earning three shutouts in the team's five wins this season.
Baltimore is the first team since the 2000 Ravens to record three shutouts in the first 10 games of a season. The 2000 Baltimore squad and 1991 Redskins (both won Super Bowl) are the only other teams in the last 30 season with three shutouts in the first 10 games of a season. Each of the previous teams went on to win the Super Bowl.
Despite the ravenous play of its defense, Terrell Suggs would rather not talk about the shutouts.
"It is like the no-hitter," Suggs said this week, via the team's official website. "This is the NFL. You want to play well every week, especially on defense. We aren't thinking about [shutouts]. Seriously. We'll take the win; 35-34 is good for us."
Perhaps they aren't thinking about shutouts, but Baltimore's defense knows it needs to carry an offense that has been among the worst units in the NFL. The Ravens shut out the Packers last week, and somehow Green Bay still looked like the better offense.
"Instead of being in the game, we need to win the game," safety Eric Weddle said of the defense's mentality.
"It's no slight on our offense or special teams, but let's have that mindset going in that we have to win the game. If other things happen and we're blowing teams out, then so be it, but these next six games and last week, that's our approach."
Baltimore sits in the final Wild Card spot at 5-5 with six games remaining, including Monday night's tilt versus Tom Savage and the Houston Texans. With a few more stifling performances -- even if they aren't shutouts -- the Ravens' defense could carry them back to the playoffs after missing the postseason the past two years.