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Ravens News 11/10: Primetime Homecoming and more

Baltimore Ravens v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Midseason reset! Ranking NFL offenses from 1 to 32 for the second half - Sheil Kapadia

7. Baltimore Ravens

They’ve leaned on the passing game more than they ever had previously with Lamar Jackson. The Ravens are throwing 54.3 percent of the time on early downs, which ranks 13th league-wide. From 2019 to 2020, they were at 43.2 percent, which ranked 32nd. And it’s worked well. Jackson is completing 65 percent of his passes and averaging 8.3 yards per attempt (YPA). His average pass has traveled 10.4 yards past the line of scrimmage, which is tops among starters.

The numbers suggest the Ravens are a team that can win in multiple ways. They are first in success rate and have seen a league-low 20.4 percent of their drives end in three-and-outs. Meanwhile, their 44 plays of 20-plus yards rank second. The Ravens can string together long drives, and they can be explosive. With Jackson’s role in the run game, they’re one of the toughest teams to prepare for. There’s a lot to like about this group.

NFL Power Rankings: Midseason Chaos - Danny Kelly

The Ravens offense continues to evolve.

Baltimore’s offense has undergone a dramatic shift this season. The Ravens have eschewed the typically heavy, run-first tack we’ve seen from that group over the past few years in favor of a higher-octane, pass-centric style. And with a uniquely talented quarterback like Lamar Jackson under center, this offense has flashed the potential to be more dangerous and prolific than ever. When everything is clicking, the Ravens are as much of a juggernaut as any offense in the league.

Jackson continued to debunk the narrative that he’s ineffective when playing from behind. Granted, the Ravens have made it a concerning habit of starting slow and falling behind by multiple scores this season, but in the team’s increasingly effective passing offense (which has been bolstered by the team’s investments over the last few years in Brown, Andrews, and Bateman), Baltimore is proving to its opponents that no lead is safe. With the comeback victory, Jackson is now tied for the league lead in both game-winning drives (four) and fourth-quarter comebacks (four). He’s also helming an offense that ranks seventh in points per game (27.6) and, intriguingly, eighth in passing yards per game (266.3). The Ravens were dead last in that metric in 2020 (171.2). This is a new-look Baltimore offense, one capable of carrying this team to the postseason.

Ravens Plan ‘Group Effort’ to Replace DeShon Elliott - Clifton Brown

Third-round rookie Brandon Stephens is likely to see his playing time increase, and he played a season-high 69 snaps in Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts when Elliott was out with a quad injury. But Head Coach John Harbaugh also mentioned Jimmy Smith, Geno Stone, Anthony Levine Sr. and practice squad player Jordan Richards as players who may share the load at safety next to Chuck Clark.

Stephens has been a fast learner and has played in every game as a rookie, and Harbaugh has no doubt he can handle more responsibility.

I think he’s going to be very prepared and he has to be,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to be stepping into that bigger role, and it won’t be just him. Other guys will be part of that, too. All those guys will be taking parts of that process. It will be a group effort.”

Expect Smith to play more against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, as Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale prepares for tight end Mike Gesicki, who leads the team in receiving yards (44 catches, 529 yards, two touchdowns).

“I always expect him to play more than that,” Harbaugh said. “I think it just kind of worked out that way with the personnel groups that we ended up calling, based on what they were putting on the field. That would be a good question for Wink when he comes up here. We always plan on him playing more than that. We’ll see where it goes.”

Ravens-Dolphins Week 10 Preview, Prediction, Where to Watch - Todd Karpovich

The Dolphins enter this game ranked 30th in total defense and 30th against the pass. Meanwhile, Baltimore is racking up impressive numbers behind quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The Dolphins have been able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks with defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (5 sacks). The secondary is led by Xavien Howard (2 interceptions), but this will be a tough matchup for the Dolphins’ defense. The Ravens will attack them multiple ways in the passing game and running attack.

Mike Gesicki (529 yards) and Jaylen Waddle (496 yards) are the Dolphin’s top receivers. Miami has the league’s 30th-ranked offense and is scoring just 17.2 points per game, The running attack is led by Myles Gaskin, who has 313 yards rushing. The Ravens defense has been prone to give up some big plays. However, Miami does not have a dynamic offense and the Ravens should be able to contain it.

Prediction

Baltimore has outscored the Dolphins by a combined 137-16 in the last three games. Both teams are playing on a short week, but the Ravens have more depth and talent. It will be a homecoming for Jackson and Brown, so look for them to have big games in this prime-time matchup.

Ravens 36, Dolphins 16

NFL Picks, Predictions Week 10: Can the Patriots or Browns lay down a marker this week? - Ben Rolfe

Thursday Night Football: Baltimore Ravens (-7) at Miami Dolphins

This game is somewhat complicated by the Ravens having to play an extended overtime game against the Vikings in Week 9. That extra time on the field is tough to account for week to week. Last week, we saw both the Titans and Colts succeed despite that extra time on the field. The Ravens should be able to follow suit against Miami.

The Dolphins are a bad football team. Defeating the lowly Houston Texans does nothing to alter that reality. The biggest danger in this game is that Baltimore loses focus thinking about the second half of the season and overlook Miami.

Ravens vs. Dolphins Prediction: Ravens 24, Dolphins 17