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Ravens News 11/24: Revamped Defense and more

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NFL: Washington Commanders at Baltimore Ravens Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens film study: The new potential of a revamped defense, and unexpected help in the ground game - Jonas Shaffer

In an era where three-wide-receiver formations have become the default for most NFL offenses, the Ravens’ development of a reliable nickel defense (five defensive backs) could prove hugely consequential. The team will face three of the league’s most efficient “11″ personnel attacks (one back, one tight end, three wide receivers) — the Cleveland Browns (Week 15), Atlanta Falcons (Week 16) and Cincinnati Bengals (Week 18) — over the second half of their season.

Get through them, and even bigger tests could await the Ravens in the playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, all possible AFC playoff opponents, lead the NFL in expected points added per play in 11 personnel, according to TruMedia. (EPA is a measure of efficiency that accounts for situational factors such as down, distance and field position.) Over the season’s first nine weeks, the Ravens’ defense ranked No. 27 against that package by the same metric. Over the past three weeks, however, only the New England Patriots have been better against 11 personnel.

Marcus Williams Returns to Practice, Won’t Play Sunday - Clifton Brown

The Ravens’ dominant defense will get even stronger, as safety Marcus Williams is off injured reserve and back on the practice field.

This opens Williams’ 21-day window to get back into game action. Williams suffered a dislocated wrist injury on Oct. 9 against the Bengals and has missed the five games since.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said Williams will not play in Sunday’s game in Jacksonville, but he isn’t too far off.

Williams went through individual drills during the early portion of practice, but was not thrown any passes to catch.

“He looked good – it was individual – he looked good, he moved well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s his wrist. We have to get him back moving, get him back in shape, and he has a week or two or all that before he’ll be ready to go, but the main thing is the wrist will heal; we just need to make sure he’s in football shape.”

The Ravens have only allowed one touchdown in their last two games, and once Williams rejoins the lineup, it will add another versatile player to the defense. Williams and Marlon Humphrey are tied for the team lead with three interceptions, and Williams’ range and athleticism are valuable assets to the secondary.

NFL offensive line rankings ahead of Week 12 - Sam Monson


Projected Week 12 Starters:

LT Ronnie Stanley

LG Ben Powers

C Tyler Linderbaum

RG Kevin Zeitler

RT Morgan Moses

Ronnie Stanley left the game this week after his ankle was rolled up on, but he seems to have dodged a bullet and avoided any major damage. He had allowed just one hurry on 31 pass-blocking snaps before exiting.

Baltimore’s line has allowed 59 total pressures this season, the fewest in the league.

Upcoming Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville’s defensive front is more about potential than consistent threat. They are above average in pressure rate, and edge rusher Josh Allen is their best player. He has 37 pressures to his name and will generally face the left tackle.

Week 12: Ravens Vs. Jaguars Preview, Where to Watch, Prediction - Todd Karpovich

Jacksonville’s front seven is more talented than Carolina’s. The Jaguars are able to generate a consistent pressure rate with edge rusher Josh Allen, who has three sacks. Defensive end Dawuane Smoot leads the team with five sacks. Consequently, Jackson will have to get rid of the ball quicker.

Baltimore could have Gus Edwards back in the lineup, which would be a boost to a running game already ranked second in the NFL with 162.8 yards per game. The Jaguars have been mostly stout defending the run and linebacker Foye Oluokun leads the team with a stunning 95 tackles. The Jaguars are allowing 20.5 points per game, tied for 14th in the NFL.

The Jaguars will attack the Ravens with their ground attack led by Travis Etienne who has 725 yards rushing and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. The Ravens have been solid against the run and they will try to take away this part of Jacksonville’s game to make Trevor Lawrence beat them through the air.

Lawrence has a solid group of receivers with Christian Kirk (679 yards) 52) and Zay Jones (417). Communication will be key for the Ravens, who could be without rookie safety Kyle Hamilton (knee). Overall, the Jaguars are ranked ninth in the NFL with 362.2 total yards per game.

Week 12 NFL Picks Against the Spread - Sheil Kapadia

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4)

Do you trust this Ravens team? They’re 7-3 and have won four straight. New linebacker Roquan Smith has unlocked fellow linebacker Patrick Queen, and the defense appears to be coming on strong. Then again, they were locked in a 3-3 game against the Panthers last week entering the fourth quarter. Their run game averaged 3.8 YPC, and Demarcus Robinson was their leading receiver. They can win in a number of different ways, but it just feels like the Ravens haven’t quite put it all together.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, have been one of the NFL’s unluckiest teams. They are 1-5 in games decided by seven points or fewer. It doesn’t take much imagination to think that in an alternate universe, this team is competing for a playoff spot. The Jaguars are fifth in offensive success rate; they’ve just come up short in a lot of high-leverage spots. I think there’s a chance they finish out this season strong and take good vibes into 2023.

The pick: Jaguars (+4)