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Ravens News 11/21: Week 12 odds, team of the week and more

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Week 11 NFL Team of the Week - Gordon McGuinness

RUNNING BACK

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens – 90.4 overall grade

The surprise story of the week was the emergence of undrafted rookie Gus Edwards in the Baltimore backfield. His 6.8 yards per carry, and 5.4 yards after contact per carry, were the most of any running back in the NFL with at least 10 carries this week, and he forced eight missed tackles on just 17 carries.

C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens – 90.6 overall grade

Mosley has had a pretty disappointing 2018 season so far but delivered his best performance of the year in the win over the Bengals. Targeted six times in coverage, he allowed three receptions for just 26 yards and came away with a pass breakup.

Gus Edwards will have an opportunity to build on his momentum when the Ravens face the Raiders 31st ranked run defense.

Lamar Jackson or Joe Flacco? Breaking Down the Ravens’ QB Controversy - Andy Benoit

Viewers of the Bengals-Ravens game on Sunday saw Jackson run the ball 27 times for 117 yards, and scamper around to make a handful of improvised throws. It was fun, if not downright electrifying. But what fans can’t see, and what coaches always consider, are the things that don’t happen:

• Passing concepts that were shelved because Jackson is not a developed field-reader.

• Throws that should have been made but weren’t.

• Throws that should have been made early but were made late, which hurts an offense’s rhythm and, more tangibly, a receiver’s run-after-catch production.

• Pre-snap audibles that went uncalled because you’d never ask a QB who rarely even made huddle calls in college to check in and out of plays as an NFL rookie.

So what should John Harbaugh do? The guess is that he will kick the can down the road and decide that Flacco, who will still not quite be 100 percent recovered from his hip injury (because no one recovers 100 percent from anything in the middle of a season), needs just a little more time to get right. That, conveniently, gives the Ravens a week to expand their Jackson-centric offense and see how the rookie responds next week against a Raiders defense that will have seen at least a full game of film on him.

One of three things happens from there: 1) Jackson gets pummeled and Flacco returns; 2) Jackson performs well and Flacco gets ready to hit the dusty trail; 3) This debate resumes in full next week, only with more evidence to inform Harbaugh’s decision.

Could the Ravens employ a platoon system at quarterback? Starting Lamar Jackson and replacing him with Joe Flacco if they fall far behind during the course of a game could be the best of both worlds.

Ravens’ John Harbaugh wants it known Lamar Jackson can and will throw the ball more - AP

In a league that relies heavily on the forward pass, the Baltimore Ravens have gone old-school in their bid to reach the NFL playoffs.

“Oh, he had 27 carries,” Harbaugh said. “You know what he did? He won the game. He played his tail off. Celebrate that, and move on.”

Whatever it takes to win.

”It’s not what we’re going to be shooting for by any stretch, but if it takes that many, Lamar will do it,” Harbaugh said. “But, no, he took some hits. I think they knew the quarterback was going to run the ball. They were going after him a little bit, as you would expect. That’s something that we have to look at going forward.”

“Yeah, we’re going to throw the ball more down the road,” Harbaugh insisted. “All this veiled stuff, `Is he really a thrower?’ I got news for you: He’s a thrower. He’s a quarterback. I don’t appreciate the insinuation of the question. Lamar Jackson is a quarterback.”

The 54-51 Monday night shootout between the Chiefs and the Rams showed that teams need big plays to win big games. The defenses combined for seven takeaways and three touchdowns while the offenses tallied 17 plays that gained more than 20 yards.

To be relevant in December and January, the 2018 Ravens must produce more splash plays on both sides of the ball.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders Preview, Tips, and Odds - Earl Campbell

Ravens vs. Raiders Odds

The Baltimore Ravens are 11 point favorites over the Oakland Raiders in this game. The over/under for total points scored is set at 42.5 points.

Spread: Ravens -11

Total: 42.5

Ravens vs. Raiders Head to Head

This is the fourth straight season that the Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders have met in the regular season. The Ravens beat the Raiders, 30-17, in Oakland a season ago. Baltimore holds an 8-3 series lead over the Raiders, including a 1-0 record in the postseason.

Ravens vs. Raiders Predictions

This is a very intriguing matchup, and this should be a low scoring affair. Lamar Jackson gave the Ravens a big boost in his first career start, but he can’t continue to run the ball 27 times. Oakland has an abysmal offense, but their defense has played well enough to keep them in games this season. Baltimore should win this game, but it will be a lot closer than the 11 point spread. Bet the Oakland Raiders +11.0 against the Ravens.

According to the ELO model, Baltimore has an 83-percent chance of defeating the Raiders and a 37-percent chance of reaching the postseason. At 36 and 22 and 24-percent respectively; Tennessee, Indianapolis and Cincinnati appear to be their main competition for the final wildcard berth.