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Jimmy Smith the key to 2016 playoffs?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens offense doesn’t look to change their lack of point scoring anytime soon, meaning the Ravens will once more be counting on a top tier defense and an elite kicker to win football games.

On Sunday the defense produced time and time again, shutting the door against the injured Bengals. Without A.J. Green and Giovanni Bernard they became even more bland. The Ravens D-line read Andy Dalton’s eyes, swatting passes and causing a strip-sack galore.

But they’re missing one vital player, Jimmy Smith.

The Baltimore Ravens have yet to play with a 100% defense. If all goes well this week, the Ravens may finally play all key starters at the same time. With Jimmy Smith on the field expect the defense to really get working. No more easy passes to one side of the field. A more bolstered pass rush, both sides being attacked. A linebacker group capable of covering the field, while the safety tandem slides side-to-side. The 2016 Ravens defense could become truly suffocating.

Jimmy Smith is the key though. Without Smith the Ravens are once more found shuffling cornerbacks. Tavon Young must cover outside, which while he’s good, it’s much better when he’s covering inside. Jerraud Powers hasn’t produced up to expectations while Shareece Wright tanked after week one’s insane performance. With Jimmy back on the field the Ravens can hide their weakness with different packages. Jimmy covering a receiver while the opposite side uses bracket coverage. Meanwhile, Sizzle & Doom attack the edges, Brandon Williams and big Tim Jernigan clog the lanes. Without Jimmy the defenses one blemish becomes exposed.

The cornerback position is the Ravens biggest defensive weakness. It’s clear the defense will be leading this team. If Smith comes back and the rest stay healthy, Baltimore can win ugly close games in January.