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Ravens News 10/25: QB Index, playoff projections and more

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Ravens Sign Defensive Back Jordan Richards, Swapping Players With Patriots - Ryan Mink

Baltimore signed defensive back Jordan Richards Thursday afternoon after he was released by New England Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Baltimore released veteran special teams ace Justin Bethel to save a likely fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Ravens didn’t want to let Bethel go, but they wanted that pick.

The Patriots picked up Bethel, and released Jordan Richards to make room on the 53-man roster. Then the Ravens picked up the 26-year-old Richards, who was a second-round pick out of Stanford in 2015.

QB Index, Week 8: Aaron Rodgers soars; Mitchell Trubisky sinks - Tom Blair

T-3. Lamar Jackson

Let’s take a moment to appreciate all the possible fates Lamar Jackson dodged -- like so many desperate would-be tacklers on an 8-yard scoring run on fourth-and-2 -- in becoming the most successful quarterback of the 2018 class so far.

He wasn’t drafted by a ramshackle team prone to talent-stifling organizational chaos, toxic infighting and disruptive turnover. He wasn’t forced on a coach who didn’t like him or understand how to use him. He wasn’t burdened with sky-high expectations before he’d ever taken an NFL snap. He wasn’t thrown on the field before he was ready. Instead, he landed on a competitive roster directed by a coaching staff and front office with the smarts to develop a plan for him and the temerity to stick to it.

When you see Jackson demolishing opponents by air and by land, remember that this wasn’t a fluke or a mere stroke of good luck. Baltimore saw a quarterback where others refused to see one, and now its offense is run by a burgeoning MVP candidate with limitless potential.

Top 25 second-year NFL players through Week 7 - Ben Linsey

2. QB LAMAR JACKSON, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Is there any player that is more exciting to watch in the NFL right now than Lamar Jackson?

12. TE MARK ANDREWS, BALTIMORE RAVENS

He has been their big-play threat, catching 11 passes of 15 or more yards and notching 449 receiving yards in total, which paces the team by over 100 yards. If the start to his second season as a pro is any indication, Andrews figures to be one of the top receiving threats at the tight end position for years to come.

24. RT ORLANDO BROWN JR, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Among the 29 right tackles with 500 or more pass-blocking snaps since 2018, Brown’s pass-blocking grade of 76.2 ranks sixth. His run-blocking grade is what has held his overall grade down a bit, and it’s the reason he ranks 14th among qualifying right tackles in 2019.

Projecting first-round playoff matchups seven weeks into the 2019 NFL season - PFF

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Per PFF’s simulations, Houston is currently projected to make the playoffs 63% of the time and win the AFC South 39.1% of the time. Baltimore is currently projected to make the playoffs 84% of the time and win the AFC North 75.7% of the time.

In a matchup of two of the great young quarterbacks going in the NFL right now, the Texans and Ravens square off in a rematch of Houston’s first-ever playoff game in 2011. Both Bill O’Brien and John Harbaugh have won our AWS Decision of the Week award, and since the two teams have played a combined four games outside of a touchdown difference this season, those decisions on the margins have been a great deal of difference for them. Both defenses have been suspect relative to past performances through the season’s first seven weeks – both yielding an above-average yards per play, so look for Lamar Jackson (with over 250 rushing yards on designed runs and scrambles so far this season) and Deshaun Watson (with passer rating over 100 on both play-action and non-play-action passes) to put up some points at M&T Bank Stadium.