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Ravens News 12/8: Problem Solving and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Week 13 observations: How will the Ravens replace Marlon Humphrey? What about struggling O-line? - Jeff Zrebiec

Striking a positive tone in response to the loss of one of his best players, Harbaugh said the Ravens could get corners Chris Westry, who missed the past two games with a thigh injury, and Kevon Seymour, who tested positive last week for COVID-19, back for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. He also expressed confidence in the team’s other options.

“We’ll work through the personnel,” Harbaugh said “There’s personnel groups — who you put where, what coverages, what personnel groups. We’ve got guys, and we’ll work through that during the course of the week. Some of it’s who you play, what the matchups are. We’ll figure all that out.”

The most likely scenario is the Ravens starting Westry, assuming he’s healthy, opposite Averett and then keeping Young in the slot. Smith, who has dealt with injuries all year and wasn’t moving particularly well Sunday, could rotate in on the outside and Seymour could also get an opportunity to play a handful of snaps.

There are other options. The Ravens could put starting safety Brandon Stephens, a college cornerback, in coverage more and replace him at safety with Geno Stone. They also have three corners on the practice squad: Jackson, Mazzi Wilkens and Kevin Toliver.

Regardless of what the Ravens do from a roster perspective, they’ll have to fill numerous roles that Humphrey occupied. He plays outside, but also was used inside on certain matchups. He was one of the Ravens’ best tacklers and one of their emotional leaders.

Which NFL teams are healthiest for the homestretch? We do an injury checkup for all 32 - Jamison Hensley

Baltimore Ravens (8-4)

Health rating: 1

Players on IR: 22

Starts missed because of injury: 81

How badly has your team been hurt? Few teams are as banged up as the Ravens, but Baltimore has remarkably been able to overcome the widespread injuries. The Ravens lead the AFC North, which makes you wonder how good this team would be fully healthy. Baltimore isn’t as explosive on offense without its top two running backs (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards). The Ravens aren’t protecting Lamar Jackson as effectively without Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley. And the defense isn’t producing many turnovers without All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters. But the team has been able to survive by winning some close games.

More Worried About Ravens’ Offense or Defense? - John Eisenberg

The pass defense might be OK Sunday against a Cleveland passing offense ranked No. 24 in the league. After that, though, Baltimore ends the regular season against the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, the Bengals’ Joe Burrow, the Rams’ Matthew Stafford and Roethlisberger again – all quarterbacks who can light you up.

It should help that the Ravens are right at the top of the league in rushing defense, third-down defense and red-zone defense. But a habit of giving up big plays and points late in games hasn’t gone away, as Sunday’s loss illustrated.

The offense probably has more to clean up with its short-term goals of cutting down on sacks, penalties and interceptions. (Whew.) But it has the ultimate problem-solving element – Jackson – and that lessens the concern to a degree.

NFL Week 14 picks: Bills shock Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, Cardinals roll past Rams in NFC West showdown - John Breech

Baltimore (8-4) at Cleveland (6-6)

Speaking of the NFL scheduling department, I feel like someone there must really hate the Ravens because they are definitely getting the short end of the stick here. The Browns have basically had three weeks to prepare for Baltimore while the Ravens will just get a few days.

This is the first time in 30 years that a team has gotten to play two straight games against the same team.

The Browns and the Ravens have two of the top-four rushing attacks in the NFL and the crazy part is that they’ve rushed for the EXACT same amount of yardage this season (1,765).

That being said, I have no idea what either of these offenses are going to look like this week and that’s because they’ve both been bad lately. As a matter of fact, it has been MORE THAN A MONTH since either of these teams scored 20 points in a game, so it kind of feels like the first team to 20 is going to win and I’m going to say that team is going to be the Browns, but only because I think the Ravens defense is going to struggle a little bit in their first game without Marlon Humphrey.

The pick: Browns 20-17 over Ravens

Ravens vs. Browns Prediction, Pick: Who wins in Week 14? - Alex Buck

Lamar Jackson doesn’t have the space or time to play effectively the way he can. With pockets collapsing and the edge not being sealed off, he just has nowhere to go a lot of the time. All of that makes for uncomfortable viewing when the Ravens offense is out there.

I just cannot see Baltimore protecting Jackson very well at all in this game. Cleveland will know that’s their weakness, and Garrett has 16 sacks this season. With the threat of Jadeveon Clowney and the speed and versatility that JOK offers, it’s difficult to cover all bases, let alone trying to do so with a patchwork offensive line. The Browns’ defense will be the difference in this one, and I like them to win and cover against a Ravens team headed for a rough end to the season.

Ravens vs. Browns Prediction: Browns 28, Ravens 10