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Ravens News 11/13: Tendency Busters and more

Chicago Bears v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

After Lamar Jackson says defenses calling out plays, Baltimore Ravens OC says that chatter is ‘nothing new’ - Jamison Hensley

A day after quarterback Lamar Jackson said defenses were calling out the Baltimore Ravens’ plays, offensive coordinator Greg Roman chalked it up to the usual chess match that happens during games.

“Calling out plays on the defense is nothing new,” Roman said Thursday. “They’re going to be right sometimes [and] they’re going to be wrong sometimes. I think we know that. But that’s definitely an element of the game. It always has been and probably always will be.”

Asked about the reigning NFL MVP’s comments, Roman gave a two-minute response that began with how Jackson is a great competitor who wants to win every game and every play.

“He definitely gives me feedback on when people are calling something out and whatnot,” Roman said. “That’s definitely part of what we talk about.”

Is Jackson allowed to audible when he hears defenders calling out plays?

“There’s definitely some plays where these audibles are available and built in,” Roman said. “Some quarterbacks audible or have the freedom to audible every play. Sometimes that works out well for them, sometimes it doesn’t. Some people don’t do it at all. I would say we’re somewhere in between there.”

“We’re very aware of our tendencies,” Roman said. “We’re aware that there are some now, and that’s where it gets interesting. When you’re good at something and you can keep pressing that button, then you have the opportunity to flip the script at some point moving forward.”

Jimmy Smith Is Having Pro Bowl Season - Clifton Brown

The Ravens expected Jimmy Smith to provide leadership, consistency, and versatility to their secondary when they re-signed him during the offseason.

He has done that and more. Some believe Smith is playing his best football at age 32, in his 10th season in Baltimore, where he has spent his entire career. The Ravens already have two Pro Bowl corners in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale says they have another.

“I think Jimmy’s having a Pro Bowl season,” Martindale said. “What he’s done, the versatility he’s shown us week in, week out has been awesome. I’m happy for him.”

Smith’s outstanding play is not going unnoticed nationally. Pro Football Focus has given Smith the third-highest grade (79.9) among NFL cornerbacks through Week 9, trailing only Jaire Alexander (88.3) of the Green Bay Packers and Bryce Callahan of the Denver Broncos (87.3).

Smith has displayed his variety of skills in the secondary, playing both corner and safety and matching up against wide receivers and tight ends. His size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and athletic ability makes him a valuable weapon in Martindale’s system because he can cover, he can tackle, and he can blitz effectively.

Ravens vs. Patriots scouting report for Week 10: Who has the edge? - Childs Walker

PATRIOTS RUNNING GAME: Second-year running back Damien Harris has given the Patriots a jolt since he stepped in for injured Sony Michel, with 350 yards and a 5.6 per-carry average in five games. Newton remains one of the league’s most effective running quarterbacks, especially in short-yardage situations. He easily leads the team with eight rushing touchdowns. The Patriots’ starting offensive linemen all grade as very good to excellent run blockers, according to Pro Football Focus. New England ranks fourth in the league in rushing and sixth in yards per attempt.

PATRIOTS PASS DEFENSE: The Patriots are unusual because they rank near the top of the league in pressure and hurry percentage but rarely produce sacks. All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore has missed the last two games with a knee injury and has not played up to his usual level. But running mate J.C. Jackson has been outstanding, with five interceptions and 10 passes defended. Veteran safety Devin McCourty remains a dangerous ballhawk. Opposing quarterbacks don’t test the Patriots often, but they have allowed eight yards per attempt, second worst in the league.

PREDICTION: It feels strange to view a trip to Foxborough, Massachusetts, as a relatively light week on the schedule, but the Ravens are better than the Patriots in almost every area and will benefit from an extra day of preparation. Jackson will need to avoid turnovers against a good secondary, but the Patriots match up poorly against the Ravens’ power and don’t have enough offensive weapons to keep pace. Ravens 31, Patriots 20.

NFL Week 10 game picks: Colts nip Titans; Rams top Seahawks - Gregg Rosenthal

Baltimore Ravens 35, New England Patriots 17

This was a nightmare matchup for the Patriots last season, even when they had a strong defense. Now Bill Belichick coaches the 31st-ranked group in football, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. New England’s especially soft against the run, going up against a Ravens team that leads the league in rushing. Expect to see Robert Griffin III by the IVth quarter.

NFL Week 10 Picks, Odds: Bears bounce back, Bengals hang with Steelers, Justin Herbert topples Tua - Will Brinson

Baltimore (6-2) at New England (3-5)

Is this a trap? How did the Patriots open at +7, nearly lose to the Jets and open back up at +7? The Ravens are better than the Jets. Maybe Lamar Jackson isn’t as good a passer as Joe Flacco (idk, man), but Baltimore should run all day long against New England. This line makes no sense. Neither does 2020. I’m tired of being tricked. Just give me the obvious bet.

Projected score: Ravens 24, Patriots 14

Best Bet: Ravens -7, Under 44