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Ravens News 11/24: Perfect Opponent

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Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Ravens TE Mark Andrews’ absence leaves a big hole in the passing attack. Can Isaiah Likely fill it?

Jacob Calvin Meyer, The Baltimore Sun

When Baltimore travels to Los Angeles this weekend and takes the field against the Chargers, it will mark the official beginning of the Ravens’ new normal for likely the remainder of the season: life without Mark Andrews.

Jackson was honest Tuesday when asked if the Ravens are more prepared for this reality than in years’ past.

“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” said Jackson, who followed his frank uncertainty with his typical praise for the Ravens’ pass catchers.

“[I’m] really just being where my feet are,” Likely said. “As coach always says: ‘Next man up mentality.’ I love Mark, it hurt when he went down. Mark told me, ‘Just stay the course and stay ready all the time.’”

The two best games of Likely’s career came last season with Andrews sidelined. In Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Andrews left with an injury and Likely emerged with six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. He scored a 24-yard touchdown the following week in a win over the New Orleans Saints with Andrews out. Then, in Week 18 with Andrews resting and Jackson injured, Likely drew 13 targets from Tyler Huntley and recorded his only 100-yard game.

What Actually Makes a Good NFL Offensive Coordinator? And Are There Fewer of Them in 2023?

Steven Ruiz, The Ringer

First-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken isn’t interested in discussing how his offense differs from the one Roman ran in Baltimore’s previous four seasons. The team has just wrapped up a midweek practice ahead of a game against the Seahawks, and we’re talking about how an increase in pass calls has allowed Jackson to bounce back into MVP form—he’s currently on pace to set career highs in completion percentage and yards per attempt. “Well, it’s more fun when it works, I’ll tell you that,” Monken offers before deflecting credit to his assistant coaches and Jackson. I ask whether calling plays during the first year on a job differs from calling plays in the second or third year. Once again, Monken steers the discussion away from play-calling.

“I wouldn’t even say [it’s as] a play caller as much as [it’s] our first year together,” Monken explains. “That’s part of what you do, but as a new staff, players, system, … even two or three years from now, we’ll be still striving to be elite in everything we do: how we meet, how we teach, the notes we take, how we practice, how we take care of our bodies, how we carry that over to the field, how we get lined up, how we execute at a high level.

“Ultimately, it’s what you show on Sunday that matters,” Monken said. “That’s what we’re paid to do.” But even if you’re putting up results on game day, it may not be enough to secure your job. Just ask Dorsey.

NFL Week 12: Best Matchups Include Kenny Pickett vs. the Bengals Secondary

Matt Verderame, Sports Illustrated

Baltimore Ravens (8–3) at Los Angeles Chargers (4–6)

Key matchup: The Chargers’ red-zone offense vs. Baltimore’s defense

Los Angeles has struggled in a multitude of ways this season, but the offense has largely done its part. This is especially true in the red zone, where the Chargers are second in red-zone percentage at 66.7%.

This will be tested against the Ravens, who rank third in red-zone defense at 37.9%, only behind the Buccaneers and Titans.

NFL Week 12 Predictions From Pro Football Network: Is Thanksgiving Saved By 49ers at Seahawks?

Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers

This game is pretty self-explanatory. The Ravens have a tendency to throw games away inexplicably, but arguably no team in the NFL does that better, or more consistently, than the Chargers.

Baltimore is arguably the best team in the AFC, especially when they take care of the football on offense. Only Cleveland is better defensively, and Baltimore’s offense can win in the run game and passing attack.

NFL Week 12 picks against the spread: Brock Purdy boosts MVP case on Thanksgiving

Vic Tafur, The Athletic

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers (+3.5) | 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC

The Ravens are up one game in the AFC North where every team remains .500 or better, but it must feel like four or five with the BrownsDeshaun Watson and the Bengals’ Burrow out for the season. Now they face the two mediocre L.A. teams, with the Chargers up first on the road before they host the Rams the next week. The Ravens can’t be too worried about a Chargers defense that has given up 238 points and also lost Joey Bosa to a foot injury last week. But the Chargers do a good job with scrambling quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson. Give me the home underdog, with Austin Ekeler having a big day and Keenan Allen making up for a dropped touchdown pass last week.

The pick: Chargers

Week 12 NFL picks: Cowboys feast on Commanders, Jaguars beat Texans in battle atop AFC South

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo)

The Chargers are having major issues right now and face one of the best teams in the league in this one. The Ravens offense will miss tight end Mark Andrews, but the Chargers defense is perfect for any team throwing the football. The Ravens will win it with a big game from Lamar Jackson.

Pick: Ravens 30, Chargers 23