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Ravens vs. Seahawks: 5 keys to victory

Baltimore will have to be at the top of their game at every level to defeat a team that is very relative to where the Ravens want to be.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Russel Wilson doesn’t turn the ball over but someone will have to force a ball carrier to create turnovers for the offense. Field position will be critical in a game at Seattle.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore has a daunting task ahead of them traveling, to Seattle in search of their fifth win of the season. The Seahawks are a team that the Ravens see in the mirror. A mobile quarterback, deep assets at wide receiver, a solid defense with some holes in it and a serviceable offensive line. The Ravens are playing a team that they should see everyday in practice. Lamar Jackson will need to play at a high level and get this offense moving against a secondary that has had its issues. Russell Wilson has recorded 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions through the first six games of the season, making a case for MVP of the league. Wilson and his offense is bound to turn the football over.

Not only do the Seahawks have an MVP candidate but they also have the notorious 12th man, their fan base. Seattle is an extremely difficult place to play, but Lamar Jackson has played admirably in road games that have difficult environments. Baltimore will have its hands full Sunday against a team that is truly a Super Bowl contender, but this team is very beatable.

Force Russell Wilson to burn the defense deep:

Baltimore hasn’t been tested deep since their game against the Arizona Cardinals. The biggest play that they’ve given up in that time frame is 31 yards through the air. This is a stat that the defense should hang their hat on. Wilson is not known as a quarterback to dink and dunk down the field to beat defenses, he relies on the deep ball to get the ball down the field in a hurry. Baltimore must keep the play in front of them and continue good communications on the back end of the defense.

Marcus Peters, Earl Thomas III, Chuck Clark and Marlon Humphrey have the opportunity to work together to keep the Seahawks offense in check. The defense has greatly improved since the Cleveland Browns loss. This defense has changed drastically since the additions of L.J. Fort and Josh Bynes. Communication is improved and turnovers have been created.

Thomas will have a field day against his former team if he tries to beat them deep. Thomas is well aware of their offensive tendencies and where Russel wants to go with the ball in certain situations. The Ravens defense must be able to communicate effectively so receivers don’t get behind their stacked secondary.

Fists fly to create forced fumbles:

Marlon Humphrey was able to force a fumble late in the Steelers game against JuJu Smith-Schuster to end a late in overtime. The Ravens must create ways to force the ball out against a vulnerable running back like Chris Carson. Carson recorded three fumbles in his first three games of the 2019 season. Wilson simply isn’t turning the ball over this year. He may be forced into throwing balls in tight coverage, but the Ravens defense must put pressure on other players once they have the football in their hands. Chris Carson should certainly be their first target.

Once Brandon WIlliams returned to the field, opposing team’s running game has been shut down. Force Russell Wilson to throw the ball 50 times a game and he will make mistakes and turn the ball over. Every defender must look to try and force a turnover when they are given the opportunity. Sound tackling will obviously still be a necessity, but strips and punches on the football should become a priority.

The Ravens are going to struggle for field position if they aren’t able to win the turnover battle. Seattle has done an admirable job of not turning the football over, but the Ravens have to punch, strip or rip the football out when they touch a ball carrier.

Eliminate third down penalties:

The Baltimore Ravens carry a 5-0 record when Brad Allen’s referee crew takes the field, which is good news considering the trend of refereeing mishaps. Baltimore must get off the field when they can as a defense and must eliminate questionable penalties on 3rd down keeping the Seattle offense on the field. The Seahawks will eat the Ravens alive when given second and third chances.

Baltimore must stay more focused when it comes to crucial penalties that allows the Seahawks to stay in the game as seen on Monday night. Baltimore has made bonehead errors, like 12 men on the field, on countless occasions and this must stop. If you are able to stop an offense like Seattle, then you must get off the field when you can.

It's a shame that this topic even comes up, but in today’s NFL the referees are playing a large part in the outcomes of the games. Brad Allen, please let the players play!

Develop power run offense early:

Seattle made a disruptive trade early in the season to acquire Jadeveon Clowney. This is someone who can lock down an entire side of the field from the line to the sideline. Baltimore’s offense must gash the Seahawks defense in the middle of the field. It will be extremely tough to run RPO’s against a defensive front of this caliber. I’m not saying that the offense shouldn’t be allowed to throw in an RPO or ten, but they must keep the outside linebackers guessing and confused.

Clowney’s athleticism is able to match Lamar Jackson’s without a question. Baltimore must find ways to create holes in the middle of the Seahawks defensive line in order to create a play action and gain first downs when necessary. Mark Ingram will get a heavy dose of carries along with Gus Edwards. Edwards has been quietly playing phenomenally when given the opportunity, especially in short yardage situations.

Baltimore’s offense needs to generate a consistent run game, whether it’s on the back of Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards or Lamar Jackson. Look for a heavy control of the game clock through the running game.

Nick Boyle must prevent Clowney and company:

Nick Boyle will need to bring his “A” run blocking game against Clowney. Look for Boyle to be used in motion to create a headache along the Seahawks defensive front. All of the tight ends will be relied upon, but this is Nick Boyle’s dream matchup and how he makes a living in the National Football League. Refer to my article about Nick Boyle being a player to watch this week in Seattle. For the Ravens to be successful against the Seahawks, they must be able to run the ball effectively and control the clock. This starts with the blockers up front and Boyle is a large part of this group.

Boyle will be a quiet factor in the game. I’m still looking for Boyle to receive his first touchdown catch and I do believe this happens in Seattle.