Ravens at Jaguars (+3.5) (o/u 43.5)
Ravens 27 - Jaguars 28
ATS (Jaguars +3.5)
Over/Under (+/- 43.5)
Over (55 Total Points)
I am sick.
Just when you think the 2022 Baltimore Ravens have figured out how to win, they go and blow a game like this. Hopes for a five-game win streak have been dashed, the defense’s recent success erased, and fans’ confidence brutalized.
Every member of the flock is tortured by the same thought: “How did we lose this game?”
“It’s My Turn to Screw Up”
Well, I’ll tell you. Nearly everyone had at least one moment of weakness.
Lamar was overshooting a wide-open Demarcus Robinson on the first drive of the game. But I guess Robinson wanted to make Lamar feel better, so he made a mistake of his own by dropping a pass in the back of the end zone later in the first quarter.
He wasn’t the only pass catcher to goof up. Mark Andrews had arguably the worst drop of his career, letting an uncontested lollipop from Jackson bounce off his outstretched hands in the end zone.
It became glaringly obvious that something was wrong with the pass catchers when Devin Duvernay dropped his first pass since 2020. Even Gus Edwards, one of the most consistent players on the team, had a costly fumble that handed Jacksonville points on a silver platter.
Everyone made a mistake except, of course, for Desean Jackson. His 63-yard catch on 2nd and 20 to set up the Ravens’ go-ahead score in the fourth quarter should be playing on repeat on every highlight show today.
Instead, the 35-year-old receiver’s catch will slip into the shapeless void to rot with the rest of the forgotten NFL plays that were upstaged by even better one in the same game. The play I’m referring to is, of course, Marvin Jones’ game-winning touchdown catch over Marcus Peters. I’m still not convinced Jones’ calf touched down inbounds, but there was nothing definitive in replay to overturn the call on the field. Either way, we deserved to lose.
No one in the NFL knows how to handle an opposing teams’ two-minute drill.
The Ravens tried it all. They rushed four, they blitzed, they played man, zone and every combination of the two. But nothing could get the Jaguars off the field. They had them in a 3rd and 21, then a 4th and 7, but Jacksonville would not be denied. On the latter play, Jacksonville figured out that cornerback Brandon Stephens was practically a free completion.
In Stephens’ defense, he’s a running back turned cornerback, turned safety, turned hybrid-safety-cornerback special teamer. If that’s confusing for you reading it, imagine what it’s been like for him playing it. Regardless of his mood ring of a career, Baltimore was forced to trust him on the perimeter playing corner. Stephens had a target on his back the whole game and was the victim of Jacksonville’s game-winning, two-point play.
It’s not fair to heap blame on Stephens when the whole secondary, minus Marlon Humphery, is to blame. If you’re an NFL quarterback seeking a career game, come on down and face this defense because Baltimore is giving them away like Oprah.
Where Do We Go from Here?
At this moment, Baltimore is not the best team in their division, even though the standings say they are.
The Bengals have hit their stride and have managed to do so without arguably their best player in Ja’marr Chase. Cincinnati just beat a scrappy 7-4 Titans team that will host a home playoff game later this season. Despite their struggles, Baltimore is still going to win the division. Here’s why:
The Ravens’ next five games leading up to their week 18 matchup with Cincinatti are all against teams with losing records (average of .331 win pct). The Bengals’ remaining five-game slate has an average win pct. of .582 and contains two division leaders. If Cincy upsets the Chiefs this week, it’ll be time to have a different conversation, but as of right now, the division should be sealed before the regular season concludes.
Long term, I’m extremely concerned about this team. I realize my confidence fluctuates week to week, but I don’t trust them to play consistent football. A first-round exit appears to be looming unless they either patch some holes or draw a cupcake opponent.
Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 12/04 at 12:00 pm on CBS