The AFC North is still up for grabs
The Ravens appeared to have an opportunity to take a comfortable lead in the AFC North with a two-game lead and games against the Browns and Cincinnati Bengals back-to-back on the schedule. Instead, the divisional race grew tighter as both Cleveland and the Pittsburgh Steelers narrowed the gap between Baltimore to one game by improving to 6-3 in Week 10.
At 2-2 in the division now, the Ravens have little breathing room with the Bengals coming to town on Thursday night. Cincinnati hurt their playoff odds with a loss to the Houston Texans in Week 10 but a win over Baltimore in Week 11 would keep their postseason hopes alive while making the remaining road to a divisional title much harder for the Ravens after falling to 7-4 with a difficult slate of opponents ahead.
Keaton Mitchell should be a focal point
For the second week in a row, undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell stole the show for Baltimore in a limited amount of touches. Mitchell wasted no time in picking up where he left off from the week prior as his first carry of the game on the Ravens’ opening drive went for a 39-yard touchdown. On the very next drive, Mitchell took a screen pass for a 32-yard gain. Despite overwhelmingly successful results when putting the ball in the speed back’s hands early on, Baltimore largely ignored him for the remainder of the game as Mitchell finished the day with just three carries.
Head Coach John Harbaugh addressed questions regarding Mitchell’s lack of carries against the Browns during Monday’s press conference.
“Looking back on it, would we have wanted him out there more? Yes,” said Harbaugh. “I think that’ll factor into this gameplan.”
Mitchell’s blazing speed has been on full display in his small number of opportunities and the Ravens would be wise to lean into it more going forward.
Special teams woes continue
Another week, another mishap on special teams for Baltimore, this time in the form of a blocked kick. Leading 17-6 in the second quarter, Justin Tucker lined up for a 55-yard field goal attempt to go up by 14. Instead, Tucker’s kick was blocked in a game the Ravens ultimately lost by two points. Whether it be blocked kicks or allowing big returns, Baltimore’s special teams unit has hurt the team in multiple games this season.
The Ravens must clean up the errors on special teams or else they will continue to contribute to losses down the stretch and potentially in the playoffs.