The Baltimore Ravens were the team to watch this season. They started the season 2-2, and people were unsure of what kind of team the Ravens were going to be. Since then, they’ve won 12 straight games, and hold home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which is crucial, considering that they have one of the best stadium atmospheres in the league.
The Baltimore Ravens are not an easy team to beat (obviously.) They have a deep backfield, with Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill all being able to produce. Their O-Line is good across the board, and they have easily the most talented group of tight ends in the NFL.
Nick Boyle is basically another offensive linemen for the Ravens. He’s one of the best blockers at his position, and he’s incredibly selfless. He’s more than okay blocking for others, which you love to see in a player. Hayden Hurst is a multifaceted young player with room to grow, and could get even better in the years to come. Miles Boykin, Seth Roberts, and Willie Snead are all talented players, though none of which can really make over the game.
They have a very talented and young defense. Aside from Earl Thomas, Josh Bynes, and Brandon Williams, every single starter on the Ravens defense is under the age of 28. They’re not the most experienced unit, but that doesn’t matter. They play position football, and have good enough coaching to make the necessary adjustments.
Now here’s the special part. The trio that’s gonna guide Baltimore’s offense for years. Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, and Lamar Jackson.
Mark Andrews is a threat from the tight end position. He finished the season with 64 receptions for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns, at only 24 years of age. No matter how big of a threat he is, he always finds a way to get open.
Marquise Brown may have not had the sane level of season as Mark Andrews while looking at statistics, but if you watched even a single Ravens game this season, you know what he does for this offense. He basically takes one of their safeties out of the game, knowing that if they don’t give him special attention, then they’ll pay for it. He finished the year with 46 receptions for 584 yards and 7 touchdowns. Not the best statistical season, but an impactful one nonetheless, especially when you consider that he’s only 22 years old, and has a whole career in front of him.
Now for the biggest star of them all, quarterback, Lamar Jackson. He’s a once in a generation type player. He finished the year with 3,127 yards through the air, and 1,206 yards on the ground for a grand total of 4,333 total yards. He also finished with 36 passing touchdowns, which isn’t talked about enough. He had double the interceptions that he did last season, but also 5x the touchdowns. He also had more rushing touchdowns, with less fumbles, which is great. He showed a ton of improvement, and he’s only 22 years old.
Well if the Ravens are so great, how come they won’t win the Super Bowl, and the answer to that question, is a sad, but true possibility. Injuries. The Ravens have been plagued with bad health all season, but haven’t slowed down. Players have been able to step up when given the opportunity, but eventually the cracks could start to show.
Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, and Marquise Brown, have all have injury concerns this season. With your top three of your top four playmakers all facing injury problems all season, that could leave the offense vulnerable during late game situations. Gus Edwards, Hayden Hurst, and Willie Snead, are all great players, but none of them can take over the game like Ingram, Andrews, or Brown. Defenses would be able to play more lenient on them, and focus on the real threat, Lamar Jackson.
All it takes is one hit for a game to chance, ask the Philadelphia Eagles, and Carson Wentz. He made the safe play, and slid to avoid contact, only to be drilled with direct, helmet to helmet contact, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the game. If their other three playmakers go down, and the Titans (or whoever they play if the move on,) direct their focus on Lamar, his potential for injury shoots up, especially considering that Matt Skura and Parker Ehinger are both on IR. This team has cracks, and all it takes it one big hit for the castle to come crumbling down.
Obviously, injuries could ruin any teams run, and this may just be speculation, but sports are unexpected. You never know what could happen any given Sunday (or Saturday in Baltimore’s case.) We as sports fans pray for the health of the players, and pray that both teams are able to perform to the best of their abilities, but as we all know, the better team doesn’t always win. That’s why you play the game.