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Ravens News 11/18: Playoff Picture and more

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

2021 NFL Playoff Picture: Here are the projected postseason chances for all 32 teams heading into Week 11 - John Breech

3. Ravens (AFC North Champion)

After a weekend where the AFC North went winless, the computer has no idea what to make of the division. Right now, the Ravens are being projected to win it, but just barely. Baltimore has an 47.5% chance of winning the division with the Steelers (26.1%), Bengals (14.1%) and Browns (12.3%) all being given a realistic shot. The AFC North is the only division in the NFL this week where every team has at least a 10% chance of winning it.

NFL Week 11 Offense Rankings - Sam Monson

7. BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Ravens’ offense has been largely cooking this season, but an upset loss to Miami in Week 11 will be hard to forget. It wasn’t that the team lost — or that the offense struggled — but, rather, it was how completely neutralized the unit was by a very specific game plan that the team failed to adjust for. Miami blitzed defensive backs all game (52% of defensive snaps), and the Ravens couldn’t make the plays in behind or get Lamar Jackson out of the pocket to work his magic. If that was just an anomaly, Baltimore is still cruising. But if that was a template other teams can replicate, it might be the start of a tough run.

NFL MVP watch 2021: Ranking the top candidates and risers in a close race, including Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson - Courtney Cronin

2. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

2021 stats: 2,447 passing yards, 639 rushing yards, 16 total TDs, 8 INTs, 54.1 QBR

Jackson might not be the league’s most impressive quarterback from a statistical standpoint, but he has kept the Ravens’ season alive despite Baltimore’s long list of injuries. And along the way, he has dispelled every notion about his growth and the limitations of his game in his third season by proving he can be an elite passer and shoulder the load while his team is playing from behind. Jackson erased double-digit deficits against the Chiefs, Colts and Vikings in leading the Ravens to wins.

Prior to a head-scratching 22-10 loss to Miami, the Ravens had scored at least 14 points in all 45 of Jackson’s career starts. That was the longest such streak by any starting quarterback to begin his NFL career since 1950 and a testament to his impact on the offense. If Jackson can lead the Ravens to the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, he’ll certainly have a good shot at his second MVP award in three seasons (+1100).

NFL Week 11 underdogs: Will Cowboys conquer Chiefs? Bears to surprise Ravens? - Marc Sessler

Baltimore Ravens AT Chicago Bears

The Bears should feel slighted sitting as six-point ‘dogs at home. I’m not sure I trust Chicago to do much with the insult. That said, Bears fans are filled with waves of fresh hope after watching Justin Fields come into full bloom during a tight loss to the Steelers. Using his legs to scamper for yardage; seeing his receivers; making sound decisions; and, at long last, turning Allen Robinson into something relevant. It’s unclear if Matt Nagy is helping this evolution, but Chicago’s embattled coach would create a keep-my-job-argument for himself by building on the destabilizing lashing Baltimore received from a downtrodden Miami team. The Ravens aren’t without weakness. They struggle to run the ball beyond Lamar Jackson’s wizardry. The star quarterback has been slammed to the turf 28 times and hampered by the blitz, something the Dolphins spotlighted with their Cover 0-heavy, storm-the-gates approach. While everyone assumes Baltimore’s defense is a gift — because that’s what it’s been for eons — it’s actually 25th in DVOA, tied for 20th in sacks, marred by missed tackles and allowing too many big plays. The Bears are no treat, but the Ravens — despite their promise — are flawed.

Ravens-Bears Week 11 Preview, Prediction, Where to Watch - Todd Karpovich

Offense

The Bears are better than the Dolphins on defense and will also keep the pressure on Jackson. The Ravens will have to make adjustments by using quick passes, crossing routes, bunch formations, and deep shots downfield. Robert Quinn (6.5 sacks) and Khalil Mack (6 sacks) are game-wreckers for the Bears. Mack has been out two games because of a sprained foot but is expected to be back in the lineup Sunday. The Ravens might have to use a tight end to pick up some of the pressure from the Bears pass rush. Chicago is ranked 10th against the pass and tied for 23rd against the run. Baltimore cannot afford to get off to another slow start and needs to set the tone with some early scores.

Prediction

Both teams had some extra rest. The Ravens played on Thursday night and Chicago had a bye. The Ravens have never won in Chicago. The Bears have lost four consecutive games, so they will be determined to stop that skid. The Ravens have lost two of three and need a victory to hang onto first place in the AFC North. Baltimore will use its experience to emerge with a victory.

Ravens 26, Bears 24