clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ravens News 12/24: Regaining Form and more

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

No title, no problem: Ravens still stake claim to best team in AFC North - Jamison Hensley

“I don’t think anybody wants to see the Ravens in January,” said Femi Ayanbadejo, a former Ravens running back and a member of the team’s radio broadcast team.

The Ravens are mathematically eliminated from capturing the AFC North. Even if Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cleveland all finish with 11 wins, the Ravens are knocked out by tiebreakers.

But Baltimore is riding the most momentum in the division, thanks to Jackson looking like one of the top players in the league again. After an uneven first three months of the season, Jackson quarantined for 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19 and returned with more enthusiasm, confidence and swagger.

In his first 10 games of the season, Jackson ranked 23rd in Total QBR (62.0), throwing 15 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He averaged 57.5 yards rushing and ran for three touchdowns.

In his last three games, he ranks No. 1 in Total QBR (94.6), producing six touchdown passes and two interceptions. Jackson has averaged 84.3 yards rushing and has run for four touchdowns.

NFL Week 16 Preview: Fantasy football advice, betting tips and matchups to watch - PFF

NEW YORK GIANTS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS

Headline of the game: The Ravens’ offense is starting to figure things out, which is bad for the rest of the AFC

The Ravens have scored 34, 47 and 40 points in the three games since Lamar Jackson returned from a brief stint on the COVID-19 list. Granted, Baltimore played Dallas, Cleveland and Jacksonville, but this is an offense and a team that many expected to be one of the best in the NFL coming into the season. That certainly wasn’t the case early on, but the Ravens can become dangerous if they start to click as they did for much of the 2019 season.

Their passing offense stuck out as the biggest area for concern, but Jackson is averaging 9.2 passing yards per attempt with a 120.6 passer rating over the past three weeks. Most promising is his improved precision; he has raised his accurate pass rate to 67% from 58% prior to Week 13 while committing just two turnover-worthy plays in the past three weeks compared to 15 in previous weeks. How Jackson performs in those two areas down the stretch will go a long way in determining how the Ravens’ season ends.

Ravens-Giants: Week 16 Preview, Prediction, Where to Watch - Todd Karpovich

Ravens Game Plan

Offense

The Ravens are No. 1 in the NFL with 172.7 yards rushing per game.

Baltimore will face a tougher test against the Giants, who allow 101.8 yards on the ground, which is ranked sixth in the NFL. Baltimore is splitting carries between rookie J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram and they’ve done a solid job wearing teams down. Wide receiver Marquise Brown appears to be breaking out of a slump where he had several drops. Brown caught six passes for 98 yards last week against Jacksonville and he’ll have opportunities to make plays downfield against the Giants, who are allowing 244 .6 yards passing per game.

Defense

The Giants have struggled to move the ball and have the league’s 31st -ranked offense. Colt McCoy .took over at quarterback for the injured Daniel Jones in last week’s 20-6 loss to the Browns.

Prediction

The Ravens are playing with more confidence.

Final Score: Ravens 30, Giants 12

Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Giants: 4 stats that could determine how the Week 16 matchup unfolds - Aaron Kasinitz

The Ravens have held opponents below a 46% third-down conversion rate in 11 straight games

For the season, the Ravens’ defense has held opponents to a 36.6% third-down conversion rate, which ranks fourth in the NFL. And the group has been consistent in this crucial area of the game aside from a Week 3 loss to the Chiefs, when Patrick Mahomes and his offense moved the chains on 10 of 13 third downs

It’s no coincidence Baltimore lost to Kansas City, 34-20, in by far its most lopsided defeat of the season.

Take away that game, and the Ravens have the best, most steady third-down defense in the league.

That’s a credit to the Ravens’ top-notch secondary, which includes Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters at cornerback and a pair of safeties that have been durable and reliable. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s aggressive schemes also have a hand in the success.

The Giants’ offense, meanwhile, ranks 26th in the NFL with a 39.2% conversion rate on third downs, and they’re not especially explosive, either. New York’s average of 5.3 yards per dropback is the 30th most out of 32 teams in the league.

In other words, the Giants struggle to generate big plays. And the Ravens rarely allow opponents to thrive without them.

Week 16 NFL picks: Rams rebound to upset Seahawks, Steelers and Saints get back on track - Pete Prisco

New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens

Latest Odds:

Baltimore Ravens -11

This is essentially a playoff game for these two. They both have to have it. The Giants are playing off a Sunday night loss and now are out on the road, which can be tough. The Ravens seem to be getting back into form. Look for a low-scoring game with the Ravens pulling away late.

Pick: Ravens 24, Giants 10