Baltimore surrendered their first road loss of the season on Sunday, bringing them to 6-3 overall. The underdog Patriots ran up and down the field on a rainy night in Foxborough with their committee of running backs. Missing defensive line studs Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams created huge holes that haunted Baltimore’s front seven all night. Although Lamar Jackson had a costly interception before halftime, the former MVP played well and put his team in position to score points.
The Ravens will continue to be critiqued for not being able to win games where they must mount a comeback, whether true or not. Regardless, players and coaches should remain positive with the amount of talent on the roster. Baltimore must commit more to their rushing attack, which is often abandoned when playing from behind. If the Ravens expect to make a playoff push, figuring out how they want to move forward with their running back usage must be established. Fans are beginning to wonder if a committee approach is the best option for Baltimore, with young playmakers in Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins standing out as more than rotational backs.
With one of the tougher schedules in the league, the Ravens face yet another difficult challenge in this week’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans handed the Ravens their heartbreaking playoff loss last year, shocking the football world and the league’s most extraordinary offense in dramatic fashion. Titan’s running back Derrick Henry ran all over the Ravens for 195 yards, while the Tennessee defense kept Lamar Jackson in check. No other team in the league had figured out how to shut down the 2019 MVP and his electrifying, record-breaking offense.
Each squad this year is made up of the same core of players, with each side losing a few names to free agency, injuries, or possible COVID-19 season opt-outs. Ryan Tannehill remains at quarterback with Derrick Henry still rushing behind him. The Ravens hope to get back defensive lineman Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams to help stop the big bodied Henry, but with each missing practice this week their availability appears questionable. It is no secret that the Ravens defense is out to redeem themselves after last season’s playoff performance.
Jackson will also be looking for redemption, as the Titans defense seemingly snatched away a ticket to the AFC championship and furthermore a Super Bowl appearance. As competitive as Jackson is, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the young star show off against a team that managed to limit him last go around. Mark Andrews had a few uncharacteristic drops in last year’s playoff loss, and will also see an increase in snap count this week as fellow tight end Nick Boyle went down with a season-ending injury last Sunday night. Look for Jackson and Andrews to right their wrongs against Tennessee and show fans just how good their connection can be.
If Baltimore once again cannot contain Henry and Tennessee holds Jackson to modest production, Ravens fans will be in for a long night filled with déjà vu. On the other hand, Lamar Jackson could bring out one of his MVP performances on Sunday and throw away any concern about his team. Final score prediction: 27-24 Ravens.