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Ravens News 11/27: Snap counts, playoff chances and more

Oakland Raiders v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

What the Raiders Said After Their 34-17 Loss - Ryan Mink

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(on how the Ravens controlled the game in the second half): “They didn’t make it really complicated. They have a great, I think, future Hall of Fame guard in [Marshal] Yanda. They probably called on their captain, and said, ‘Hey, we’re going after these guys.’ And, that’s what they did. When you can establish the inside run, the perimeter offense, all the bells and whistles with [Ravens’ QB Lamar] Jackson, they’re very hard to defend. You’ve got to stop the inside run, or you have no chance to stop everything else. They took over the game. Credit to them.”

CB Gareon Conley

(on if the Ravens offense surprised him): “They didn’t surprise me at all. We expected them to run the ball a lot, and they did.”

(on his impressions of QB Lamar Jackson): “He played very well today. He really gives them [Baltimore Ravens] a dual threat. He can beat you with the run, he can beat you with the pass. The important thing is to read your keys, and stay with him.”

Oakland’s defense seemed to know what was coming, but still could not stop the Ravens rushing attack. It remains to be seen if this formula will succeed against better teams.

NFL Week 12 Grades: Ravens get an A- with Lamar Jackson, Bengals fail miserably in loss to Browns - John Breech

With Jackson, the entire offense seems to be clicking. The mere threat of Jackson running the ball has opened things up for other runners like Gus Edwards, who most people had never even heard of until last week. Edwards went off for the second consecutive game with 118 yards on 23 carries against the Raiders, and it’s not a coincidence that he’s emerged in the same two weeks that Jackson has been starting (Edwards had 115 yards in Baltimore’s Week 11 win over the Bengals).

When the Ravens are rolling on the ground, they never lose. The Ravens offense totaled 242 yards rushing, and Baltimore is now 14-0 in franchise history when rushing for more than 225 yards. The game against Oakland marked the second week in a row that Baltimore has gone for more than 240 yards, and to put that in perspective, the last time the Ravens did that came in 2000 when they won the Super Bowl.

The argument for starting Jackson is pretty simple: The Ravens are winning, and he’s only going to get better. Jackson’s ability to pass might be his one weakness right now, but he’s already improving. Against the Raiders, Jackson came up with multiple big plays, including a 74-yard pass to Mark Andrews and an eight-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree.

The Ravens need to stop looking toward the future, because the future is now in Baltimore. With Jackson on the field, the Ravens feel like a team that could sneak into the playoffs and potentially make some noise.

Following back-to-back home victories, Baltimore’s playoff chances have improved to 44-percent. Indianapolis is also 6-5 with a 29-percent chance to make the postseason according to these ELO projections.

Baltimore Ravens snap counts: How Lamar Jackson’s presence affects playing time at other positions - Aaron Kasinitz

Big bodies play big roles on offense

Aside from undrafted rookie running back Gus Edwards, who stepped into the spotlight while piling up more than 100 rushing yards each of the past two weeks, two players have benefited most from rookie Lamar Jackson’s presence at quarterback: tight end Nick Boyle and fullback Patrick Ricard.

Boyle saw his snap count decrease each game from Week 6 to Week 9. With veteran Joe Flacco behind center, the Ravens began giving more of Boyle’s snaps to rookie tight ends Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst in effort to make use of their pass-catching skills.

But when Jackson took over for the injured Flacco (right hip) coming off the bye week, the Ravens redesigned their offense around the running game and turned back to Boyle. The fourth-year veteran and sturdy blocker has played the most of any Ravens tight end the past two games, and his 72.9 percent of offensive snaps Sunday was his highest share this season.

Meanwhile, Ricard played a season-high 16 offensive snaps in Jackson’s first start and matched that number Sunday. An emphasis on the running game has pushed the team’s best blockers onto the field more often.

C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle led the defense with 58 snaps apiece. Marlon Humphrey (56 snaps) and Jimmy Smith (53) manned the outside cornerback positions while Brandon Carr (48) filled-in for injured slot man Tavon Young.

Terrell Suggs to play in 2019, likely headed to free agency for the first time in his long career - Jason La Canfora

Ravens legend Terrell Suggs fully plans to continue playing next season, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, and is primed to hit free-agency for the first-time in his potential Hall of Fame career.

Suggs, 36, remains one of the most important cogs on Baltimore’s highly-ranked defense and, with an expiring contract and no talks about an extension, is likely to test the market for the first time in his career.

He has never negotiated a contract with any team but the Ravens, agreeing to multiple contract extensions over the course of his career, and has played on the franchise tag as well, but has never been free to talk to other teams on the market. A return to Baltimore would hardly be out of the question, but it would be surprising if he did not become an unrestricted free agent first, sources said.

T-Sizzle’s 43-yard fumble return was the defense’s only touchdown so far this season.