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Ravens News 12/23: Overreactions and more

Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

NFL overreactions, Week 15: Bears must re-sign Mitch Trubisky! - Brandon Mendoza

The Ravens are the hottest team in football

After the Ravens lost three straight games in Weeks 10-12, everyone was writing off a team that went 14-2 last season behind the eventual 2019 MVP, Lamar Jackson. Three impressive wins later, including Sunday’s 40-14 thrashing of the Jaguars, and it’s time to buy in again.

Sure, two of the three wins came against the Cowboys and Jaguars, who currently carry a combined 6-22 record, but the offense is back on track. Consider that the Ravens’ three-game winning streak while scoring at least 34 points is the second-longest in franchise history, behind the four-game streak recorded last season.

Jackson is back to MVP form, logging 10 total TDs against just two giveaways in his last three games. Jackson also has a passer rating of 100 or better in each of the last three games, a benchmark he failed to hit in any game between Week 5 and Week 11. Running back J.K. Dobbins is coming on strong, having scored a rushing TD in four straight games, a Ravens rookie record. Even Dez Bryant is catching touchdowns — Sunday marked his first score in 1,106 days.

With their final two games coming against the Giants and Bengals, two teams that have started backup QBs in the last few weeks, the Ravens have a good chance to keep this momentum going.

Hollywood Brown Breaking Out of Slump - Todd Karpovich

Brown leads the team with 49 receptions for 703 yards with five touchdowns. He has the speed to get behind secondaries and his performance will be critical to the Ravens playoff push over the final two games.

“That’s where that true confidence just kind of grows inside, where you just do it, and you’ve been there and done it, and know you can do it again,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Marquise certainly doesn’t lack for confidence; he’s got it, and he anticipates making those kinds of plays. I just think the story there, really, is more … When you keep working hard, you keep showing up and doing your best and maintain your high level of confidence, eventually, because he’s a talented person or anybody, you’re going to break through and have success.

“That’s exactly what he’s done, and he’ll build on that, for sure. So, I think he’s gotten through the adversity. He knows that nothing is promised tomorrow, or the next game, or whenever, so he has to bring his best every single week. He’s done a good job of that.”

Rookie Class Is Playing a Big Role Down the Stretch - Clifton Brown

Baltimore’s first-round pick, Patrick Queen, is a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Queen was expected to be a starter from Week 1 and he has played every game and leads the team in tackles with 98, to go along with three sacks, eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown.

Queen had a key fourth-down sack Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half when the game was still close. His presence has made he Ravens’ defense faster, and when Queen has a chance to make an open-field tackle he rarely whiffs.

J.K. Dobbins is an electric running back who has taken over as the Ravens’ lead back in a talented group. His speed and ability to avoid going down on first contact makes him effective as both an inside and outside runner. Dobbins has run for a touchdown in four consecutive games, setting a franchise record for most consecutive game with a touchdown by a rookie.

The Ravens have two rookie defensive linemen who’ve made an impact, Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington. With Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams both missing some games due to injuries and illness, the presence of Madubuike and Washington has become more important. Without Campbell out of the lineup against Jacksonville, Baltimore’s defensive front didn’t miss a beat.

Waving Terrible Towels? Ravens need help to get into playoffs - Jamison Hensley

“Of course, we want to get into the playoffs,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We know we need some help. The focus for us is going to be taking care of our business. It doesn’t matter what anybody else does if we don’t take care of our job. Our job is to win. That’s 100% what we’ll be locked in on.”

“We’ve just got to keep focused on what we have in front of us,” Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “We’ve got the Giants in front of us, now. We’ve got to focus on those guys, get on the film, and watch those guys and pray next week, the ones we need to lose, lose, because we’ve still got to try to get to the playoffs — that’s our goal. But one game at a time. We can’t peak too soon.”

“Everybody knows the mentality,” Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant said. “We have a shot. We have to play good football from here on out, and I think that’s everybody’s focus. We don’t care about anything else. We just want to play good football and give ourselves a chance.”

NFL picks, predictions against the spread for Week 16 - Vinny Iyer

Giants at Ravens (-11.5, 45.5 o/u)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Ravens are rolling again with their 2019 offensive formula around Lamar Jackson with all of his key skill support coming through again. The defense is grinding through a few injuries but get a break with the Giants’ anemic offense, regardless of it being Colt McCoy or Daniel Jones

Pick:Ravens win 27-13 and cover the spread.