Plugging the holes: AFC North

Most pressing offseason needs for Ravens, Browns, Bengals and Steelers

Updated: February 20, 2014, 10:46 AM ET
By Cian Fahey | Football Outsiders

Ray RiceJoe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/ Getty ImagesRay Rice and the Ravens' run game would be greatly aided by an improved offensive line.

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Welcome to the 2014 version of Plugging the Holes, an eight-part examination from Football Outsiders of the biggest needs for every NFL team, division by division, going into the offseason.

On Monday, we examined the AFC East. The series continues Tuesday, with Outsiders' look at the AFC North.


Baltimore Ravens: Offensive line

The Ravens followed up their Super Bowl season with an eighth-place finish in the AFC. Their overall DVOA rating on Football Outsiders ranked them as the 22nd-best team in the league because of a 30th-ranked offense and a seventh-ranked defense. (DVOA is Football Outsiders' defense-adjusted value over average metric, explained here.)

For the first time since Joe Flacco became the team's starting quarterback, the Ravens didn't have a running game that ranked in the top half of the league. Since 2008, the Ravens had ranked in the top 10 of rushing DVOA four times and never dropped below 13th overall. In 2013, they finished 31st in the league, barely ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, Baltimore's offensive run DVOA rating was one of the five worst in the 25-year history of DVOA, going back to 1989. (The teams below Baltimore and Jacksonville: the 1991 Colts, 2005 Cardinals and 2002 Texans.)