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Ravens News 12/20: Red-zone prowess and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Lamar Jackson’s Red-Zone Prowess Is Off the Charts

Jackson leads the NFL with 33 touchdown passes. Twenty-two of those have come in the red zone with zero interceptions.

Jackson’s 62.5 completion percentage inside the 20-yard line is one of the league’s best. Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who is Jackson’s top MVP challenger and has 28 touchdowns, has completed 47.3 percent of his red-zone passes.

The Ravens have scored touchdowns on 68 percent of their trips inside the red zone, the third-best mark in the league.

“Early last year when Lamar was here and we started working in the red zone, right away I was like, ‘Wow, this kid sees things in the red zone better than most,’” Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said.

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7. WR MARQUISE BROWN, BALTIMORE RAVENS

If only we saw Brown at 100% for the whole season, there’d have been a good chance of him being right up in the mix with McLaurin and Brown. Still, we’ve seen more than enough to know that he’s going to be very good. He’s already broken eight tackles on his 43 catches and Lamar Jackson has a passer rating of 137.5 when targeting him.

The NFL’s top-25 offensive linemen through Week 15 - Ben Linsey

4. RG MARSHAL YANDA, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Positional grade rank: 4th at guard

Yanda has put together a career worthy of Canton. He’s not fading at the end of his career, either. He is still very much among the position’s elite, coming in as the fourth-highest graded guard and the fourth offensive lineman overall through 15 weeks.

In 431 pass-blocking snaps in 2019, Yanda has allowed just nine total pressures – eight quarterback hurries, no hits and one sack – for a league-best rate of 2.1% among guards. Lamar Jackson has taken the league by storm in his second season, juking and diming his way to the MVP favorite, but his offensive line has helped pave the way by giving him time to make plays and clearing lanes on designed runs. Yanda has been front and center in that effort.

9. LT RONNIE STANLEY, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Positional grade rank: 4th at tackle

PFF Senior Analyst Sam Monson recently wrote that Stanley is the best pass-blocking tackle in the NFL. He has yet to allow a single sack and has allowed just six pressures total in 412 pass-blocking snaps this season. To put that in context, Stanley’s pressure rate allowed on the season is 1.5%. There is only one other player who has 250 pass-blocking snaps and has allowed pressure on fewer than 3% of the time – Taylor Lewan (2.4%).

It doesn’t matter which way you look at it – true pass-blocking sets, plays in which he doesn’t receive any help from teammates, obvious passing situations – Stanley has been the highest-graded tackle in the NFL in pass protection, and that has him as the highest-graded left tackle this season.

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Baltimore Ravens 30, Cleveland Browns 17

It’s all in front of the Ravens this week: Home-field advantage, revenge for the team’s one bad loss and potentially the final chapter of Lamar Jackson’s airtight MVP case. This ugly Browns season, meanwhile, can grow more unsightly, especially with two offensive linemen injured and Myles Garrett’s absence looming larger by the week. It’s just too hard to imagine one of the great regular-season squads ever losing to this Browns team twice.

NFL Week 16 odds, picks: Ravens hammer Browns, Mahomes leads Chiefs to huge win over Trubisky, Bears - Sean Wagner-McGough

Ravens -10 at Browns

The Ravens are only 8-6 against the spread, but they’re 7-1 in their past eight games. We just watched them cover a 17-point spread against the Jets. This is almost as big of a mismatch.

By DVOA, the Ravens are first. The Browns are 19th. The Ravens have outscored their opposition by 215 points this season -- or an average of 15.4 points per game. The Browns have been outscored by 32 points this season -- or an average of 2.3 points per game. The Ravens have the league’s best player in Lamar Jackson, one of the league’s best offensive lines, and a defense that is peaking. Since their last meeting with the Browns in Week 4, the Ravens have allowed 15.7 points per game. We all know how dominant the Ravens’ rushing attack is and wouldn’t you know it, the Browns’ defense happens to be 28th against the run by DVOA.

This should be a bloodbath.