clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ravens News 12/22: QB Predictions and more

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

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

NFL 2021 playoff picture, standings: Bengals jump back into first in AFC North, Ravens fall out of playoffs - Jeff Kerr

Baltimore Ravens

What to know: The Ravens’ loss to the Packers knocks them out of the AFC North lead — and the playoffs altogether. Baltimore is tied with Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Buffalo for the final playoff spot in the AFC — but are No. 8 in the conference. The Ravens lose the tiebreaker over the Colts and Chargers based on win percentage in conference games and lose the tiebreaker to the Bills based on Buffalo having a better record in common games.

Remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Rams, vs. Steelers

Ravens Rely on Gut Feeling Over Analytics - Todd Karpovich

“We definitely don’t follow the model 100%, by any stretch of the imagination,” Harbaugh said. “The model tells you to go for two, [and] it tells you to go for fourth downs a lot more than we do. In terms of those two situations, I’d say that’s probably the case. Now, what are some of the other analytics things? There’s a lot more to analytics than just those game-time decisions. We take all that information that you get through all the different outlets that you get information [from], and we try to build models and try to gather as much as we can, in terms of our game-planning, too. So, we really apply all that stuff. “

Harbaugh has said that “information is king” and the Ravens are going to try to find an edge any way they can.

NFL Week 16 predictions for every quarterback - Ian Hartiz

MOST LIKELY TO RACK UP SOME RUSHING PRODUCTION: BALTIMORE RAVENS QB LAMAR JACKSON AT CINCINNATI BENGALS

The Bengals have essentially only limited Jackson as a rusher on one occasion during their six career matchups, which occurred in a 27-3 blowout that didn’t exactly require the 2019 NFL MVP to keep his foot on the gas.

2018, Week 11: 26 carries-119 rush yards-0 TD

2019, Week 6: 19-152-1

2019, Week 10: 7-65-1

2020, Week 5: 2-3-0

2020, Week 17: 11-97-0

2021, Week 7: 12-88-0

Perhaps Tyler Huntley is again under center but either way, it’d be rather surprising if the Bengals are still a top-10 defense in fewest rushing yards allowed to opposing quarterbacks by this time next week.

MOST LIKELY TO DOMINATE AGAINST THE BLITZ: CINCINNATI BENGALS QB JOE BURROW VS. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Burrow is PFF’s highest-graded quarterback on the season after another efficient, albeit low volume, performance in Week 15. Up next is a Ravens defense that he shredded for 416 yards and three scores back in Week 7 due to his excellence against the blitz. The Ravens are one of just six defenses to blitz opponents on at least 30% of their dropbacks, and this has generally been a terrible strategy against the 2020 NFL Draft’s No. 1 overall pick. The following metrics denote Burrow’s performance specifically against the blitz in 2021:

PFF passing grade: 91.6 (No. 2 among 44 qualified quarterbacks)

QB rating: 121.1 (No. 6)

Yards per attempt: 10.8 (No. 1)

Adjusted completion rate: 76.7% (No. 14)

Burrow went 10-for-15 for 244 yards with two touchdowns and one interception when the Ravens blitzed him in their first matchup, and expecting different results with an ever more banged-up group of corners is probably wishful thinking for the Bengals’ AFC North rival.

Tyler Huntley’s Hot Hand Has Created a Tough Decision - Ryan Mink

There’s no denying that the Ravens offense has operated better the past couple weeks with Huntley under center. He’s getting rid of the ball faster, seemingly more decisive as a passer and a runner than Jackson was for the past few games before his ankle injury.

For whatever reasons, Jackson often didn’t look comfortable under center since a blowout win over the Los Angeles Chargers two months ago. The offensive line issues seemed to take a toll and the Miami Dolphins’ relentless blitzing opened a floodgate of pressure that Jackson didn’t counterpunch.

Ultimately, Jackson will have to make the call on whether he feels well enough to play. And the Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh will take that information and weigh how effective they believe Jackson will be given the circumstances against how well Huntley has performed in relief.

NFL Week 16 picks: Bills shock Patriots, Colts upset Cardinals on Christmas, Bengals beat Ravens - John Breech

Baltimore (9-5) at Cincinnati (8-6)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

If this turns into a shootout, you have to like the Bengals’ chances going up against a depleted Baltimore defense. On the other hand, the Ravens offense will either be led by a hobbled Jackson or a backup quarterback (Tyler Huntley) while going up against a Bengals defense that held them to just 17 points the last time around.

Although the Bengals have a long history of choking in big games, they’ve actually won a multitude of them this season, which is a good thing, because this is easily the biggest game the Bengals have hosted at home since at least the 2015 season. For some reason, I don’t think they’re going to blow this one.

The pick: Bengals 30-23 over Ravens

NFL Picks, Predictions Week 16: Can the Colts, Bengals, and Dolphins get crucial victories? - Ben Rolfe

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5)

In a division that looks set to go all the way to Week 18, this game could be paramount.

The Bengals have the chance to go 4-1 in the division with the head-to-head tiebreaker over both the Ravens and Steelers. They have been a tough offense to judge and have not always looked fluid in the last three weeks.

Baltimore’s offense has also been head-scratching. Furthermore, we don’t know who will be playing QB. Tyler Huntley has put up a spirited performance for them as a replacement, but can he do it against the Bengals? With all of the Ravens’ injuries, especially on defense, the Bengals should win. Still, this game could come with plenty of twists and turns.

Ravens vs. Bengals Prediction: Bengals 27, Ravens 21