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Ravens News 12/12: Revolutionary defense, TNF preview and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Ravens are revolutionizing defensive football - Steve Palazzolo

This extreme split has led to the Ravens ranking seventh in pressure percentage, despite their No. 27 ranking in pass-rush grade.

Of course, blitzing isn’t a foolproof method, and uncontrolled chaos is a recipe for disaster against NFL quarterbacks. But Baltimore’s strong secondary allows them to take more chances up front and it forces quarterbacks to get the ball out quickly against one of the best coverage units in the league.

POSITIONLESS FOOTBALL?

The Baltimore defense is unique in how they’re using the players in the back-7 to create confusion for opposing offenses.

Safety Chuck Clark has rushed 88 times, 22 more than any other safety in the league. Thomas’ 48 rushes rank fifth in the league.

Edge rusher Judon has dropped into coverage 85 times, fourth-most in the league. Tyus Bowser ranks 11th with 55.

From building their defense back to forward, to manufacturing pressure through blitzes and stunts, to clouding the definition of player “roles” to the detriment of the offense, Baltimore continues to stay one step ahead of the rest of the NFL this season, and they’re doing it on both sides of the ball.

Jets vs. Ravens Prediction - Chris Kubala

New York Jets Running Offense vs. Baltimore Ravens Running Defense

Who has the Edge?

The Jets simply haven’t been able to run the ball with any kind of success this season. New York’s inability to move the sticks on the ground has put them in tough situations as opposing teams don’t have to respect the run game. Baltimore has had their problems against committed run teams but this isn’t one of them. The Ravens should be able to shut New York down early and put the Jets in a situation where they almost have to abandon the run.

Advantage: Baltimore Ravens

New York Jets Passing Offense vs. Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense

Who has the Edge?

New York has been up and down moving the ball through the air this season as injuries and inconsistency have taken their toll. The Jets have a slew of guys that are banged up in this contest who might not take the field. Baltimore showed an aggressive pass rush against the Bills and you have to think that Wink Martindale will dial up the pressure in this contest as well. The Ravens are an aggressive team and they can shut down teams through the air. Baltimore’s acquisition of Peters was a big move that has really jump started the defense. Look for the Ravens to make life tough for Darnold here.

Advantage: Baltimore Ravens

NFL Week 15 Preview: Players to watch, fantasy football advice and betting projections - PFF

NEW YORK JETS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS

Headline of the Game: The Baltimore blitz should have Sam Darnold seeing ghosts again in primetime

The Patriots forced Darnold into one of the worst quarterback performances of the season back in Week 7, and they did so with a heavy dose of blitzes. Darnold went 8-of-18 for 66 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions against the blitz in that contest. On the season, his passing grade of 48.2 against the blitz ranks just 30th among 32 qualifying passers.

Unfortunately for Darnold and the Jets, the blitz-happiest team in the league is next on the docket, as Baltimore’s 54% blitz rate is over 10% higher than any other team in the NFL. But they’re not just blitzing often, they’re blitzing well. The Ravens are allowing the second-lowest EPA per play when blitzing, and their 72.7 passer rating allowed on those plays is the best mark in the NFL. It could be a long night for Darnold on Thursday.

New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens TNF Betting Preview - Roy Larking

Stepping way up in class, New York is playing a team with a winning record for just the second time over eight games. The other contest was a 34-3 Week 12 win at home over Oakland, who has lost three straight by a 116-33 margin. The Jets defense has allowed 47 sacks, so this is not a good spot for Sam Darnold against the blitz-happy Ravens. Averaging 271.4 total yards on offense, the Jets may not reach double-digit scoring in this contest.

Averaging an NFL-best 33.1 points per game, Baltimore continues to roll on offense. Slightly overshadowed, the defense has allowed just 15.1 PPG during the Ravens’ nine-game winning streak. The Jets’ second-ranked run defense (78.8 YPG) faces a stiff test as Baltimore leads the NFL with 200.9 YPG on the ground. Though he was partially hampered by a quad injury, the Bills did a decent job of “limiting” Jackson last week.

Pick: Ravens -15

NFL picks, predictions for Week 15: Packers beat Bears; Cowboys outlast Rams; 49ers roll - Todd Haislop

New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-14 1/2)

Somebody somewhere will pick the Jets and their seventh-ranked defense in terms of yards allowed per game to stun the heavily favored Ravens. But it won’t be here, because Baltimore has the league’s sixth-ranked defense in addition to its NFL-best scoring offense. Lamar Jackson and Co. will complete the season sweep of AFC East opponents in style as he breaks Michael Vick’s single-season QB rushing record.

Pick: Ravens 30, Jets 17