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Ravens News 12/15: Double Coverage and more

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Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Mark Andrews Getting Double-Teamed ‘More Than He Ever Has’ - Ryan Mink

Andrews had two catches for 17 yards Week 14 against the Steelers, and his last touchdown catch was Week 6 against the Giants. Over his past six games, Andrews has averaged 36 receiving yards.

Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said it’s a weekly cat-and-mouse game, looking for ways to counter how opponents are defending Andrews.

“They’re paying a lot of attention to him,” Roman said. “There are times where he’s just purely getting doubled. There’s a lot of ways to build a double, but he’s getting doubled a lot, more than he ever has in a lot of variety of different ways.

“There’s times where you can design some things to beat a double team, and there’s times where the ball has to go elsewhere, or else…you’re playing with fire trying to throw it into the defensive coverage.”

Anthony Brown is testament to Ravens’ approach to signing undrafted rookies - Jeff Zrebiec

In his NFL debut, Brown completed just 3 of 5 passes for 16 yards. However, his 7-yard completion to tight end Mark Andrews on third-and-4 in the fourth quarter helped prolong a nearly eight-minute drive, leading to a Justin Tucker field goal that ultimately stood as the winning points. Otherwise, Brown directed the Ravens’ offense in a hostile environment, didn’t make mistakes, handled the ball well and did an admirable job milking as much time off the play clock as possible in the fourth quarter.

Teams are allowed to bring in 30 prospects for interviews before the draft. The Ravens don’t just use those visits to get a look at players they’re considering selecting on Days 1 and 2 of the draft. They traditionally use some of the 30 allotted visits on players who are projected late-round picks or undrafted free agents. By getting potential undrafted free agents into the building and around their coaches, the Ravens start building relationships that can help them once college free agents begin deciding what NFL team to join.

That process ultimately helped them land Huntley after he went undrafted out of the University of Utah in 2020, and Brown after he wasn’t taken in April. Brown said he met with head coach John Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, quarterbacks coach James Urban and assistant quarterbacks coach Kerry Dixon, and they sold him on how he’d fit with the team. That, plus the organization’s reputation, was enough for him to sign a Ravens contract.

Ravens film study: Breaking down the NFL’s best run defense - Jonas Shaffer

“In our room, our mindset basically is, like, ‘If they can’t run the ball, they can’t win,’” defensive lineman Broderick Washington said Tuesday. “And that’s just kind of what we go with, really.”

The Ravens aren’t letting anyone run the ball these days. The Steelers finished with 65 yards (3.3 per carry), the sixth straight opponent the Ravens have held to fewer than 90 overall, and the fifth team they’ve beaten in that stretch.

Since Week 9, the Ravens lead the league in yards allowed per carry (2.8) and in run defense efficiency. According to the analytics website Football Outsiders, no defensive group has a higher defense-adjusted value over average than the Ravens’ run defense over the past two-plus months. Only two offensive units have a higher DVOA in that stretch: the passing attacks for the now Jimmy Garoppolo-less San Francisco 49ers and the banged-up New York Giants.

NFL offensive line rankings ahead of Week 15 - Sam Monson

4. BALTIMORE RAVENS (DOWN 2)

Projected Week 15 Starters:

LT Ronnie Stanley

LG Ben Powers

C Tyler Linderbaum

RG Kevin Zeitler

RT Morgan Moses

Back at left tackle, Stanley allowed four pressures against the Steelers in Week 14, more than his previous season total up to that point.

The Ravens rank seventh in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency on the season. They have allowed 90 pressures from 440 pass-blocking snaps.

Upcoming Opponent: Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett is the primary threat, but Jadeveon Clowney just tallied six pressures against the Bengals, his best game since Week 2. Both tackles may be under siege in Week 15.

NFL division title predictions: Bengals or Ravens in AFC North? Who takes moribund NFC South? - Eric Edholm

AFC North

Well, this is the one. The schedule makers are rewarded for pairing the Ravens, the team that coughed up the division (and heck, at one point, the AFC’s top seed) last season, against the Bengals, your reigning AFC champions, in a Week 18 bout in The Jungle. It might end up being the biggest regular-season game in Cincinnati in some time, although the Bengals have had two huge ones at home against the Chiefs in the past two years.

Can the Ravens hang on? They’re technically in front — and by a not insignificant margin — despite matching 9-4 records by virtue of a head-to-head win over the Bengals (the first tiebreaker) and having a far better division record (the second tiebreaker). That’s why so much could hinge on the final-week rematch. But is Lamar Jackson going to be healthy enough to stave off Joe Burrow and the swashbuckling Bengals?

We are going against our better instincts and saying yes, the Ravens can prevail. The Bengals are becoming fan darlings in a way, and you can’t overlook how hot they’ve been — and for how long — outside of that Halloween hiccup against the Browns. But their closing schedule is an absolute bear, with road trips the next two weeks to face desperate teams (Buccaneers and Patriots) followed by challenging home games against the Bills and Ravens. It might take Cincinnati going 3-1 or better because it needs to win more games than Baltimore.

It says here that the Ravens, with a much more manageable slate, get it done one year after they could not. But just remember how dangerous the Bengals were on the road last year, winning at Tennessee in the Divisional Round and at Kansas City on Championship Sunday. Not taking the division won’t sink them.

Week 15 NFL picks - Pete Prisco

Baltimore Ravens (+3) at Cleveland Browns

The Ravens won’t have Lamar Jackson, but will they have Tyler Huntley, who suffered a concussion last week? Or will it be rookie Anthony Brown? The Browns are done, so this is a pride game. Deshaun Watson hasn’t been that good, which is a concern. The Ravens are playing consecutive road game, which is tough. They will win it behind their defense, but it’s close.

Pick: Ravens 23, Browns 22