Billick Feels Good about Ravens' Progress

The Ravens are 5-3 for the third time in their last four seasons. But coach Brian Billick has a special feeling about this year's group.

The Ravens are 5-3 for the third time in their last four seasons. But coach Brian Billick has a special feeling about this year's group.

"I think this is the best 5-3 team that I've had," Billick said. "That's saying a lot. Certainly, when you compare it to the Super Bowl year and the 2001 season, the balance that we had -- offense, defense, special teams -- we've produced more yards and we've produced more points."

For the first time in franchise history, the Ravens sit atop a division at the midway point of the season. They hold a two-game lead over the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns.

What works in the Ravens' favor is they are entering their strongest point of the season. In five seasons under Billick, the Ravens are 23-10 in November and December, which ranks third-best in the NFL behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans.

"We've got a lot of practical experience at what 5-3 represents," Billick said, "and this team understands that."

The Ravens are entering their toughest part of their schedule. The next three games are at St. Louis and Miami and home against Seattle -- the only teams remaining on their schedule with winning records.

The final stretch is more favorable with four of their last six games at home.

"We're excited about being able to go forward with a 5-3 record and see what the second half of the season brings," Billick said. "They know the second half is going to be difficult. I don't care what order our schedule comes down."

The Ravens' success will weigh heavily on rookie quarterback Kyle Boller.

In the Ravens' five wins, he has committed five turnovers. In their three losses, he has produced seven turnovers.
"I feel a 5-3 record is awesome," quarterback Kyle Boller said. "How we handle that is going to really dictate what kind of team we are."
 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We didn't play really good offensively or defensively. [But] when you come out with a win in a game like that, you have to be happy. Now it's time to hit the second half of the season and get it running." -- Tight end Todd Heap on the Ravens' 24-17 win over the one-win Jaguars.


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