I'm just sayin':
- That it was sure nice to watch the NFL last Sunday and see Pittsburgh, the Jets, Tennessee and Cincinnati get beat and then go to bed in first place in the AFC North. That's what I call a good bye weekend.
- That it would have even been a better bye had the Vikings pulled it out in the fourth quarter and beaten the Patriots. The Vikes had a shot until the final couple of minutes of the game.
- That if the Patriots are the best team in the NFL right now – and they own the top record at 6-1 – then the Ravens are right in the mix. Let's see, playing our fourth road game in six weeks, we dropped a 23-20 overtime decision at New England, which was coming of its bye weekend.
- That watching the NFL Sunday Ticket is exhausting. Every game is interesting. Each one has a reason I wanted to view it…jumping from Miami/Cincy to Jets/Green Bay to Jaguars/Cowboys, back to Dolphins/Bengals – it was taxing. And, a lot of fun. The NFL is pretty good.
- That it says a lot about the quality of the NFL when regular season games get higher TV ratings than the World Series.
- That the NFL's only winless team, the Buffalo Bills, have gone on the road the last two weeks and lost in overtime to two first-place teams: the Ravens and the Chiefs. The league rules – scheduling, draft, waiver procedures, etc. – try to get all teams to 8-8, and the NFL is getting closer.
- That those who think the NFL is watered down and parity is a result are naïve. The players are bigger and better than ever. They are sophisticatedly trained and educated. Because of thorough scouting, more players are discovered than ever before. Coaching is better. In the 1970s, coaching staffs had seven or eight members. Today, most staffs have at least 20 assistants.
I'm just sayin':
- That Cam Cameron said, "How you handle adversity is how you can be measured," after we lost at the Bengals in Week 2. Cam was referring to Joe Flacco. Joe has "measured" very well. Since that game, Flacco is the top-rated quarterback in the NFL, completing 65% of his passes with nine touchdown passes and just one interception.
- That Joe brought a lot of laughter and camaraderie to the locker room with his Halloween haircut. He went to a barber recommended by Tavares Gooden, helped a good cause – Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake – and had all of his teammates buzzing about his new buzz. Joe is highly respected by his teammates and showed us some of the personality that usually only the guys on the team see.
- That stats sometimes don't always tell the story. Of the 32 teams in the NFL, we're currently 14th on offense and 10th on defense. The 6-1 Patriots are 19th and 28th. The 3-5 Chargers are first in both categories.
- That we are investing more money in recent years on offensive players like Anquan Boldin and Matt Birk, which means we are spending less on defense as we become a more-balanced team less reliant on one side of the ball.
- That my favorite memories so far this season are the end-of- game-deciding plays by our 15-year veteran Ray Lewis against the Jets and the Bills, plus the fourth-quarter comeback wins at Pittsburgh (Joe to T.J.) and vs. the Browns at M&T.
I'm just sayin':
- That the midseason All-Pro team picked by Sports Illustrated and NBC-TV's Peter King deserves more attention than most of these types of lists. King works hard and is well connected around the NFL. He has talked to a lot of "inside sources" to select his team, which includes three Ravens: Haloti Ngata, Marshal Yanda and Billy Cundiff. I would argue with Peter's selection of the Steelers Lawrence Timmons over Ray Lewis – although King did acknowledge that this was a "tough call."
- That the Yanda selection by King was especially good. When CBS-TV's Don Criqui asked Coach Harbaugh in the production meeting before our Bills' game: "Who is somebody playing really well, but no one is talking about?" Harbs, without hesitation, said "Marshal Yanda is playing at a high level and so is Chris Carr."
- That ESPN's Dave Fleming, another respected reporter, picked Ray Lewis as the "most irreplaceable player in the NFL."
- That playing Miami Sunday and then at Atlanta on Thursday is a really tough five days. But, the reality is that the rest of the season will be tough, too. We face three defenses currently ranked in the NFL's top five: the Saints (3), the Panthers (4) and the Steelers (5). We also face the talented young QB Matt Ryan in the short week and Pro Bowl QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub and Drew Brees too. Oh boy!
- That I am SO HAPPY the election is over, and we don't have to see any more political ads for awhile…no more O'Malley and Ehrlich, Harris and Kratovil and slots at Arundel Mills.
You fans make a huge difference for us at M&T Bank Stadium, and I'm just sayin':
- That the Ravens have the third-best home record in the NFL over the last 10 seasons. We're 61-22, behind the Patriots (65-19) and Colts (63-20). Oh, and those two teams have been directed by Hall of Fame quarterbacks (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) for almost all of their wins in the decade. (Our Joe Flacco is only in his third season.)
- That the Ravens have averaged 34.2 points over the last five home games – best in the NFL.
- That the Ravens have won six in a row at M&T, currently the third-best streak in the league.
- That the Ravens have allowed the fewest points and yards at home since 2003.
I'm just sayin' the noise and energy you guys generate at our home games are a significant part of this home success. Let's hear from you Sunday, and let's beat those Dolphins. Talk to you next week.
Kevin Byrne, a Ravens senior vice president, has worked in the NFL for 32 years. Byrne has been with the Ravens since the start of the franchise in 1996. Earlier in his career, Byrne was the sports information director at Marquette University, his alma mater, when they won the 1977 NCAA basketball championship under coach Al McGuire.