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Ravens News 12/2: Grinding and more

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Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Odafe Oweh Keeps Grinding Even Though the Sacks Aren’t Adding Up - Ryan Mink

“I talked to Justin [Houston] after the Saints game, he had a good game, and I was like, ‘Man, I wish I could have some of that. Something. Something fall into my hands.’ He just told me you have to just keep on working hard and trusting the process. Don’t deter from what you’re doing just because you think you’re not having success. He said once you get one, the floodgates will open. I know when it comes, it’s going to come. I’m not even tripping.”

“I just think he’s figuring out who he is as a professional. He’s still learning,” Houston said of Oweh. “He wants to be the best. When you think like that and work like he does, you’re going to have success in this league.”

Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald said not to put too much stock into Oweh’s snap counts. He was carrying a heavier load earlier this season, but with the addition of Jason Pierre-Paul, Oweh doesn’t have to play as many run downs.

“His production – stat wise – isn’t exactly where you want it, but he’s doing the things that we’re asking him to do. Right now, we’re happy with where he’s at,” Macdonald said. “He’s setting a good edge right now, and when we’re calling his number to rush, you can feel his fast ball out there.”

NFL playoff confidence levels for the Eagles, Chiefs and other key contenders - Mike Jones

Who’s more worrisome

Baltimore Ravens (7-4): As always, Lamar Jackson has a tremendous amount of pressure riding on him. He’s on pace to set a personal record for passing yards in a season, but lately, the Ravens offense has seriously lacked potency. Baltimore struggled to put the Panthers away, and couldn’t finish drives against the Jaguars and lost. In the last three games, the Ravens have scored touchdowns on just 38.46 percent of their trips into the red zone. That’s the fourth-lowest in the league. They have struggled to keep Jackson’s top supporting cast members on the field, and Jackson himself left practice early Wednesday with a quadriceps injury. Perhaps Sunday’s date with Denver will help reignite things. But then comes a five-game jaunt that includes two meetings with the Steelers, who always play the Ravens tough; and the season finale at Cincinnati, which could challenge for the AFC North title.

Ravens vs. Broncos scouting report for Week 13: Who has the edge? - Childs Walker

The Ravens will try to get back on track against a very good Broncos pass defense led by cornerback Patrick Surtain II and linebacker Alex Singleton. The Broncos traded their best edge rusher, Bradley Chubb, but they blitz on 36.3% of drop-backs, the third-highest rate in the league, and excel at covering No. 1 wide receivers and tight ends. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged a paltry 5.1 yards per attempt against them.

Wilson completed just 19 of 35 passes for 142 yards in that loss and ranks 30th in ESPN’s QBR stat for all-around quarterback efficiency. Denver ranks 27th in Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA despite the presence of talented wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. The Broncos are 30th in third-down conversion rate and last in red-zone conversion rate. Wilson has taken 35 sacks in 10 games.

The Ravens continue to lead the league in special teams DVOA. Justin Tucker’s 67-yard attempt came up just short at the end of the Jaguars game, but he has made 24 of 27 attempts this season, with all of his misses from 56 yards or beyond. Duvernay is normally the league’s best returner, but he made some uncharacteristically poor decisions against Jacksonville to bury the Ravens near their own goal line.

The Broncos rank last in special-teams DVOA and have performed poorly in every area. Kicker Brandon McManus has missed six field goal attempts and two extra point tries. Primary kickoff and punt returner Montrell Washington has not busted any big plays.

Week 13 NFL game picks: Bills handle Patriots on Thursday night; Bengals win third straight vs. Chiefs - Greg Rosenthal

Baltimore Ravens 26

Denver Broncos 10

Finally, a team Baltimore can’t blow a lead against. Denver’s defense has quietly turned average over the last month, worn down by injuries, the Bradley Chubb trade and trying to hold up a pathetic offense. The Broncos are averaging fewer points per game than any team since the 2000 Browns and there’s little reason to think they’ll improve against a talented, ornery Ravens group.

NFL picks against the spread - Vic Tafur

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens should be riding a five-game winning streak. But the offense still looks confused, especially when ahead, and the defense keeps blowing leads in the fourth quarter — Baltimore was up 10 points on the Jaguars last week and lost.

This game is supposed to be an easy one. Russell Wilson and the Broncos’ offense is so bad that his comp is … Zach Wilson. Russell Wilson was 3-of-13 on throws 10-plus yards downfield against the Panthers, according to TruMedia. He’s completed 31.5 percent of his throws at that distance since Week 5, and the only QB that is worse is Zach Wilson (30.8%). The Broncos stink so bad that they were flexed out of a national TV game, even if it meant flexing out Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs as well.

Everyone is betting against the Broncos, and this spread has already moved up from 6.5 points. I hate siding with the public and … while the Ravens have won five of the last seven games, four of those were by an average margin of five points and … Lamar Jackson is 7-15 against the spread as a home favorite of more than 3.5 points (not including openers).

The pick: Broncos +8.5