Five Reasons Ravens Are Trending Up Following Bye - Clifton Brown
Their Rushing Attack Looks Lethal
Baltimore enters Week 11 with the league’s second-best rushing attack averaging 168.1 yards per game, even though Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins have missed significant time. Kenyan Drake has stepped up to lead the backs in rushing yards (344) averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and Lamar Jackson (635 yards) is on is on pace to rush for more than 1,000 yards for the third time in his career.
However, imagine how formidable the Ravens’ rushing attack might be if Edwards and Dobbins are both healthy down the stretch. Edwards hopes to return Sunday against the Panthers, while Dobbins is expected back in several weeks.
There isn’t a rushing attack in the NFL that stresses defenses in as many ways as Baltimore’s does. Meanwhile, the return of All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley has taken an offensive line that was already playing well to another level. Each week, offensive linemen and Pro Bowl fullback Pat Ricard are paving running lanes for ballcarriers. That gives Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman freedom to dial up even more blocking schemes and multiple formations that can keep defenses off balance.
When the weather turns inclement late in the season, or when trying to protect a lead late in games, a potent run game is a huge advantage. The Ravens have one.
The Ravens found their offensive identity, but they won’t go far without a better passing game - Mike Preston
They’ve been one of the top running teams in the NFL in each of the past four seasons, but it hasn’t translated to postseason success. They failed to make the playoffs last year and have one postseason victory in the previous three.
In a perfect world and under ideal conditions, the Ravens appear to be the appropriate foils for the AFC’s best teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, who are both allowing an average of 4.5 yards per carry.
But those teams have something the Ravens don’t: A high-octane offense. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has an abundance of speed at running back and wide receiver and the Bills are led by quarterback Josh Allen and two talented receivers in Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.
“Where would you rank Baltimore’s receiving corps, 25th if not 30th?” asked former Ravens center Wally Williams, now a scout and assistant coach with the Capital City Cyclones of the American Indoor Football Alliance in Tallahassee, Florida. “The Ravens are a definite playoff team and they will be playing in January, but not in February.
We’ve seen this before. The philosophy is sound in theory, but not when the Ravens fall behind early or need a strong passing game in the final two minutes. They don’t need to turn into the “Greatest Show On Turf” Part II, but a milder variation would be nice.
Re-Evaluating the Biggest NFL Trades From the 2022 Offseason - Dallas Robinson
April 28 | Cardinals Acquire Marquise Brown
Terms: Cardinals acquire Marquise Brown and 3-100; Ravens acquire 1-23.
How the Trade Has Worked Out for Baltimore
Brown wasn’t happy with his role in the Baltimore Ravens’ offense and requested a trade. Baltimore’s front office is typically accommodating, and they may not have wanted to get involved in Brown’s looming contract negotiations.
Still, the Ravens could absolutely benefit from having a receiver like Brown. Rashod Bateman is done for the year after suffering a Lisfranc injury, but he wasn’t all that productive before going down. Mark Andrews is Lamar Jackson’s top pass catcher, but Baltimore needs a speed threat to open up the offense (hence why they just signed DeSean Jackson).
The Ravens were counting on Bateman, and they couldn’t have known he’d be injured and ineffective. But even if Bateman were healthy, I think we’d all feel a bit better about Baltimore’s chances in the playoffs if they still had an option like Brown in their wide receiver corps.
Verdict: The Cardinals would redo the Brown deal, but the Ravens probably wouldn’t.
2023 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Top 10 players set to enter free agency - Brad Spielberger
Who else but the 2019 MVP and most electrifying player in the NFL? No one produces more must-see TV than Jackson, and the facade that a quarterback can only win with a certain play style is slowly fading.
Jackson is not just the league’s most electrifying open-field runner at the quarterback position. His 5.1% big-time throw rate since 2019 is a top-15 mark among qualifying quarterbacks, and he boasts a 92.5 passing grade on throws 10-plus yards downfield in that same span.
The Ravens once again elected to largely neglect the wide receiver position this offseason, which doesn’t get discussed enough when people criticize Jackson’s game, as they seemingly love to do. Jackson will never be a pure dropback passer, but the belief this is necessary to win in 2022 needs to disappear, because that’s just not the era of football we’re in anymore.
Ravens Ready to Tackle Familiar Foe in Panthers QB Baker Mayfield - Todd Karpovich
The Ravens have a comprehensive scouting report on Mayfield, but he also knows some of their tendencies even with a new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald running the show.
“I’m sure it helps him,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about the matchup. “He’s had a history with us, as well. So, [I have] a lot of respect for Baker Mayfield. We’ve had some incredible battles with him when he was with the Browns – some great games. We know what he’s capable of doing, we understand his strengths as a quarterback, and we’re going to have to do everything we can do to stop those things.”
Mayfield has gone 3-5 record against the Ravens with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions over his career.
This season, Mayfield has thrown for 1,117 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions for a 78.1 quarterback rating. He started the first five games this season before being sidelined with an ankle injury.