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Ravens News 1/7: Walk-off Winners and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Detroit Lions

Ranking the NFL’s 32 walk-off winners from most to least thrilling: 2021 set record for final-play victories - Jamison Hensley

17. Ravens 19, Lions 17 (Week 3)

Ravens’ win probability before the final drive: 82.9%

Ravens’ win probability before the walk-off play: 88.2%

What happened: Justin Tucker saved the day by winning the game with the longest field goal in NFL history. His 66-yard kick as time expired avoided a loss to the then-winless Lions and showed once again why he’s the most clutch kicker in the game. Tucker improved to 16-for-16 in his NFL career on field goals in the final minute of regulation. “He’s the best kicker in history,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

18. Ravens 31, Colts 25 in OT (Week 5)

Ravens’ win probability before the final drive: 52.5%

Ravens’ win probability before the walk-off play: 90.1%

What happened: Critics said Lamar Jackson couldn’t lead a major comeback because of his inconsistent passing. But down 19 points in the second half, Jackson rallied the Ravens by throwing for 442 yards and four touchdowns. He won the game in overtime with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown. Jackson became the first quarterback in the league to complete 85% of his passes in a 400-yard game. “It’s one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

24. Ravens 34, Vikings 31 in OT (Week 9)

Ravens’ win probability before the final drive: 46.1%

Ravens’ win probability before the walk-off play: 94.5%

What happened: This marked the third time this season that Lamar Jacksonled Baltimore to a comeback after being down by double digits in the second half. Trailing 14 points in the third quarter, Jackson threw for 266 yards and ran for 120 before setting up Justin Tucker’s winning 36-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in overtime. This was Tucker’s 53rd straight field goal made in the fourth quarter and overtime.

As Ravens’ DL Calais Campbell, CB Jimmy Smith mull future, a potential exodus looms: ‘There’s no guarantees’ - Jonas Shaffer

So much of the Ravens’ future is shrouded in uncertainty, almost held captive by the franchise’s most important question: Just how much do they value quarterback Lamar Jackson? But even a megadeal extension wouldn’t neatly set up the team’s offseason dominos, not with a volatile free-agent market, developing 2022 draft class and the uncertain future of some aging Ravens.

The 33-year-old Smith, who like the 35-year-old Campbell is not signed beyond this season, said Wednesday that he’s joked every year since he arrived in Baltimore that he was considering retirement. “But to actually really think about it, it’s too surreal, to be honest,” he said. The 2011 first-round pick has played in just nine games this season, sidelined for stretches by injuries — a bugaboo throughout his 11 years — and the coronavirus.

But he played every defensive snap in an essentially must-win game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, allowing just one catch on two targets for 6 yards. “When the time comes,” coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday, “he always shows up and plays good football.” The Ravens’ 20-19 loss left Smith feeling even more conflicted about his future. “I don’t know, man,” he recalled thinking to himself. “I can probably still play.”

Steelers vs. Ravens Prediction, Pick: Will Ben Roethlisberger finish with a win in Week 18? - Justin Bales

Lamar Jackson injured his ankle relatively early in a Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He’s missed the last three weeks, and Baltimore hasn’t won a game since Week 12.

Although Tyler Huntley and even Josh Johnson have filled in well for the Ravens, they haven’t been able to win. Even with their individual success, there’s a major difference between what they bring to the table and a former NFL MVP.

This is one of the most difficult games to predict because of Jackson’s status. If he were healthy — or at least healthy enough to use his legs — I’d prefer the Ravens. I don’t love a hobbled Jackson stuck in the pocket with T.J. Watt on the other side, though.

With that being said, it’s impossible to trust Ben Roethlisberger’s arm at this point, and the quickest way to beat the Ravens defense is through the air. I trust Diontae Johnson to make big plays, but will that truly be enough?

Steelers vs. Ravens Prediction: Ravens 24, Steelers 20

NFL picks against the spread - Sheil Kapadia

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) | 1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS

Playoff implications: The Steelers can get in with a win, a Colts loss and the Raiders-Chargers game ending in anything but a tie. The Ravens can get in with a win, a Chargers loss, a Colts loss and a Dolphins loss.

No fan outside of Pittsburgh wants to see the Steelers in the playoffs. I’m not even sure Steelers fans want to see them in the playoffs. They have just been such a tough watch all season. Having said that, this is a rivalry game, and we don’t know if Lamar Jackson is returning. The Ravens have lost five in a row. I’ll take the points.

The pick: Steelers (+5.5)

Week 18 NFL game picks: Chargers edge Raiders to punch playoff ticket; Seahawks upset Cardinals - Gregg Rosenthal

Baltimore Ravens 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 16

WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)

WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS

SPREAD: Ravens -6 | O/U: 41.5

It felt like the Steelers won their playoff game Monday night. Now they turn around to face a decimated, feisty Ravens team that still has faint postseason hopes, too. Unlike Cleveland, Baltimore will remember to test Pittsburgh’s run defense. Moral victories for everyone in the AFC North! (Except the Browns.)