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Expect Torrey Smith to catch fire this winter

Face it, Torrey Smith is the best wide receiver on the Baltimore Ravens.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Torrey Smith is pretty much the best wide receiver on the Baltimore Ravens receiving corps. Look past the production, look over the drops. Smith is the linchpin of this offense, while the other Smith, Steve, plays the role of the band's drummer boy -- making sure they're on beat.

If the people in the city of Baltimore believe that their golden child Joe Flacco will put them on his back and carry the team to the playoffs, then the city better trust in his words also.

"I’ve been saying that Torrey is going to prove to be a huge asset for us, just like he has been," Flacco said. "People were kind of asking, ‘Where is he?’ in the beginning part of the season. I knew as the season would go along and people were starting to worry about Steve [Smith] and Owen [Daniels] and all the guys we have, that Torrey would get chances to make some big plays."

No. 82 ranks fourth on the team list with 27 catches, while his 446 receiving yards is second best to the Senior's 728. His 16.5 average ranks higher than two of the league's leaders in receiving yards (Steelers' Antonio Brown, 13.5, Broncos' Demaryius Thomas 15.4).

These numbers don't mean much until you realize that Brown has been targeted 112 times and Thomas received 101 looks from Peyton Manning, who has 353 pass attempts this season. Smith was only targeted 49 times after 10 games, nine (18 percent of his total), in the last two games.

Ever seen fireworks in the winter sky? It's a beautiful sight. Expect the wideout to catch ... fire in these next two months.

Here's what writer Garrett Downing duly noted:

First five games: 11 catches, 176 yards, 1 touchdown
Last five games: 16 catches, 270 yards, 5 touchdowns

Treat the first month of Ravens' ball as though they were playing in a refinery. Now that the unwanted substances are removed -- the running attack is rejuvenated, the linebacking corps will continue to thrash quarterbacks, Jacoby Jones will pick up his groove -- I expect offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will methodically devise up more game plans for Smith to thrive during this tough, six-game stretch to punch a postseason ticket.

Expect Smith to take things to the next level, and soon.