Lamar Jackson is gunning for a second MVP
You would be hard-pressed to find a quarterback in the NFL playing at a higher level than Lamar Jackson through the first seven weeks of the season. Jackson has completed over 70% of his passes in every game but one this season, and that was a game that included multiple drops. Jackson’s 71.0 completion percentage on the season trails only Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins among quarterbacks with more than one start. Jackson also leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards with 363 and his five rushing touchdowns rank second among quarterbacks, only behind Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The sixth-year quarterback is playing his best and most consistent football since his 2019 unanimous MVP campaign. If Jackson can maintain this level of play for the rest of the season and avoid late-season injuries like he has suffered in back-to-back years, then he could very well bring home his second MVP award.
Mike Macdonald is as good as it gets
Heading into Week 7’s matchup between the Ravens and the Lions, excitement was buzzing around the chess battle between two of the league’s brightest young coordinators as Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald took on Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. What both coordinators have accomplished with their respective units since taking over in 2022 is truly remarkable, but it was Macdonald who had the upper hand on Sunday.
The Lions were unable to get anything going offensively for much of the contest. The Ravens defense held them to just six points for the entire day, with the lone touchdown coming late in the game with the game already out of reach. Baltimore racked up another five sacks, giving them a four-sack lead over the rest of the NFL. To lead the NFL in this category without a bonafide star pass rusher is a testament to Macdonald’s ability to scheme pressure and create favorable matchups for his players up front. If it is not obvious already, Macdonald will likely be near the top of head coach candidates this offseason.
The offensive line is starting to gel
One of the major components holding back Baltimore’s offense from truly exploding so far this season had been the up-and-down play of the offensive line. Continuity was an issue to start the season as left tackle Ronnie Stanley, center Tyler Linderbaum, and right tackle Morgan Moses have all missed time. The starting five have now been on the field together for the previous two games, and if this past Sunday was any indication, the unit appears to heading in the right direction.
Jackson was kept clean for much of the day against the Lions and was not sacked once. Multiple big plays came off the back of Jackson having a ton of time in a clean pocket, allowing him to go through his reads and find the open man down the field. The line also paved the way for 146 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against what was the No. 1 run defense heading into the game. If the offensive line can continue to gel and stay healthy, then the pieces are there for one of the better units in the NFL.