The Ravens earned what was probably their biggest win of the season yesterday afternoon against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints and all but cemented a playoff spot in the process.
But prior to yesterday afternoon's kickoff, the Ravens took some shots from the analysts sitting at the NFL Network and ESPN pregame sets.
While previewing the Ravens-Saints game, the Baltimore defense was the focal point of the discussion over on NFL Network, with two analysts saying that unit is lacking something this year.
"I don't know about mystique, but I know the coach and player personnel is not the same as they used to be," former 49ers and Lions coach Steve Mariucci said in comments released by the NFL Network. "It's like a BLT sandwich without the tomato. It's not a BLT."
Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin agreed with Mariucci.
"This defense still plays great defense for this league, but they have lost some of that 'greatest ever' defense," Irvin said. "When you hear guys like Ed Reed say, 'Only the W matters,' they understand that they are no longer the greatest ever, but they're still wining."
One analyst went against the grain and said that he sees nothing wrong with the play of the Ravens' defense this year, even if that unit isn't quite what it used to be.
"Mystique is something that's overrated," former Bucs and Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "It's what you actually do on the field and this Ravens defense still makes plays."
Over on ESPN, there were questions about the overall philosophy that the Ravens have employed this season.
"On defense, it's an aging defense," former Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson said. "They're never going to be what they were seven, eight years ago, but on offense they have an identity crisis.... When (Joe) Flacco started to throw the ball well as a rookie, they started to think about being a passing football team, and right now they're right in between - a passing football team, and a team that wants to be hard-nosed and run the football -- and that puts them in flux."
Longtime Bears head coach Mike Ditka backed up Jackson's thoughts, adding: "They've gone away from their philosophy of playing. ... Get back to being physical. Hit somebody in the mouth," Ditka said.