The Baltimore Ravens have now won their past 6 games after easily defeating the Houston Texans 41-7. The Ravens were in control the entire game. The defense racked up 7 sacks, and Lamar Jackson solidified himself as the MVP frontrunner with 4 total touchdowns.
The Ravens will face another tough team in the Rams on Monday night. Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL, and opposing offenses have to worry about Jalen Ramsey and Eric Weddle in the secondary. However, the Rams offense is coming off two rough performances scoring only 29 combined points across the past two weeks. Jared Goff has thrown 3 interceptions and no touchdowns during that span.
The Ravens will hope their hot offense can continue to run up the scoreboard, and look to take advantage of the Rams on the other side of the ball.
Matt Skura and Marshall Yanda
As I previously mentioned, Donald is easily the best defensive player in the NFL. He recorded 20.5 sacks last season and already has 8 this season. You cannot expect to shut him down, but the Ravens offensive line will have to do their best to slow him down. There is no doubt that Wade Phillips will move Donald around, but he spends the majority of his snaps lined up inside which would match him up against Matt Skura and Marshall Yanda.
Skura has continued to improve this season. His current PFF grade of 63.7 is a career-high. That is largely due to his development as a run blocker. He is still a better pass protector though and has surrendered only one sack all season. The 7-time Pro Bowler, Yanda, is once again playing exceptionally well.
Skura spoke about the importance of blocking Donald with Ryan Mink of the Ravens official site, “That’s going to be our biggest task, for sure, is taking care of him.” Skura and Yanda will have to play at an extremely high level to contain Donald on Monday night. Will Skura be up to the task? Will Yanda be able to slow him down?
The Rams offense has struggled to get going recently, and that partially stems from a down season by Jared Goff. Goff is currently tied for third in the league in interceptions with 10. Marcus Peters thrives at creating turnovers and has been on a tear ever since the Rams traded him. Peters has returned two interceptions for touchdowns already with the Ravens. He should have extra motivation facing his former team. Against a struggling Goff, Peters has a great shot to make more big plays, and all it takes is one to shift the outcome of a game.
The Ravens were dominant on the defensive side of the ball against the Texans. Matthew Judon, in particular, had a big game. Here is his statline from last week: 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble.
The Ravens pass rush got off to a slow start this season, and there were concerns after Pernell McPhee landed on the IR. However, Judon along with Tyus Bowser and Patrick Onwuasor have picked up the pace. Look for Judon to continue his elevated level of play.
Jackson is the current MVP favorite. It has been a long time since a true dual-threat quarterback played at this level. He has been one of the best passers in the league this season, and he can make plays like this with his legs.
“The unusual part of that is that their quarterback is their leading rusher. They’re a great running team, and a part of it is the quarterback gets a lot of rushing yards, too. Had a little bit of that in Atlanta with Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn, but I don’t think we averaged nearly what these guys (are getting now). If I didn’t already, they’ve given me more white hair preparing for a game like this.”
Look for Jackson to make another statement this Monday.