The Baltimore Ravens sit at 6-5, currently in the driver's seat for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. John Harbaugh's team is in playoff position thanks mostly to a smothering defense.
The Ravens D has the most takeaways (26) and interceptions (18) in the NFL this season. The 17.0 points per game given up, 305.7 total yards per game allowed, 189.9 pass YPG, 34.2 third down percent, 2.7 sacks per game, and 2.4 takeaways per tilt are all better stats than the 2012 squad that went on to win the Super Bowl.
The key to the Ravens defense has been ageless wonder Terrell Suggs, who earned his third multi-sack game of the season in Monday's win over the Houston Texans. Suggs had 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble, one tackle for loss, 3 QB hits, one pass defended, and four tackles on the night. His strip-sack of Tom Savage was the game's biggest play in the fourth quarter.
Harbaugh marveled at the 35-year-old pass-rusher after the game.
"Terrell Suggs, I mean, he's Ponce de Leon -- you should put that on the back of his jersey -- he has found the Fountain of Youth," Harbaugh said.
(Shhhhhhhh, no one tell Harbaugh that Juan Ponce de Leon never actually found the Fountain of Youth -- and most historians believe he wasn't even looking for it. Don't ruin a good nickname, fact checkers.)
"He's playing as well, or better, than I've seen him ever play since I have been here," Harbaugh said of Suggs. "He has always played great. Maybe it's just because I'm seeing it this year, but he can close on a quarterback. He gets an edge on a block, and he goes from here to there to get to the quarterback. You don't see guys his age  do that. He's just a special guy, an amazing guy. He came over after he did it, and he said, 'Do you want to say thank you, Coach?' (laughter) And I said, 'Yes, I do. Have I ever told you I love you?' Beautiful."
Suggs credited former teammate Ray Lewis for spurring him to strip quarterbacks.
"But Ray [Lewis], my rookie year, I was getting some sacks, but I wasn't stripping the ball, and every time I got a sack, he used to come and [say], 'Sizzle, get the ball. Sizzle, I want the ball,'" Suggs said. "He used to always say that to me. Things like 'those are sacks, too. Get the ball.' So I miss some sacks going for the ball. I missed one tonight going for the ball. Every time I'm getting ready to get the ball, I can hear Ray Lewis saying, 'Sizzle, get the ball. I want the ball.' Ray Lewis, he probably made a tackle tonight. He's always gotten credit."