Super Bowl-Winning WR Predicts Ravens’ Playoff Seeding

Golden Tate

Getty A Super Bowl-winning WR has predicted where the Ravens will finish in the AFC playoff picture.

A6-3 record has the Baltimore Ravens sitting pretty atop the AFC North. The ugly way they’re winning, combined with a soft remaining schedule, gives these Ravens a great chance to earn the top seed for the AFC playoffs.

Doing so would probably require finishing stronger than one or both of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. They are the two most-talented teams in the conference, but a Super Bowl-winning wide receiver believes the Ravens can end the 2022 NFL regular season with a better record than at least one of those powerhouses.

Ravens Backed for Big Finish

Golden Tate knows the importance of playoff seeding. He won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seattle Seahawks when the NFC West outfit was the top seed and enjoyed home-field advantage following the 2013 season.

Tate told Trey Wingo of The 33rd Team how the 2022 Ravens can be “no worse than the second seed” in the AFC playoffs. The 34-year-old based his argument on potential injury woes surrounding Bills’ QB Josh Allen: “If Josh Allen is still able to play, then a three seed, and that will be their (Ravens) lock, in my opinion. Now, if Josh Allen’s out, I think they’re going to press for that one or two seed.”

Allen’s status is a major concern for the Super Bowl hopes of the 6-2 Bills. He’s a frontrunner for league MVP, but Allen is dealing with an elbow injury, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

His colleague Stephania Bell provided more information about the problem in the throwing arm of Buffalo’s QB1:

There are two factors for why the Ravens can finish as the second seed or higher, according to Tate. He pointed to a “very favorable” schedule, something that rings true when games against the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons, all teams with losing records, are still to come for the Ravens.

Tate also referenced how the Ravens are going to get “some of their stars and good players back” from injury. This is the strongest argument possible for the Ravens pipping the Bills or the 6-2 Chiefs to one of the two top spots in the conference.

The Ravens are in a position to welcome back some standout players, including All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews. He missed Week 9’s 27-13 win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, thanks to a strained shoulder, but Andrews still leads the Ravens with 42 receptions for 488 yards and five touchdown catches.

Andrews is a key weapon on offense, just like running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. All three will be back this season, giving franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson and even stronger supporting cast.

It’s a similar story on defense, where second-round pick David Ojabo will soon join a cadre of productive edge-rushers led by irrepressible veteran Justin Houston. Ojabo tore his Achilles at Michigan’s pro day back in March, but the Ravens’ second-round pick was activated to the 53-man roster on Tuesday, November 1, along with last season’s sack leader Tyus Bowser:

Bowser played in New Orleans, but Ojabo should be “ready for his debut after the bye week,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Zrebiec also noted how free safety Marcus Williams, who has been on IR with a wrist injury, “has the potential to return relatively soon unless he’s had a setback that hasn’t been revealed.”

The outlook is clear. These Ravens are deep and talented on both sides of the ball. That strength in depth, combined with their throwback approach, should frighten the AFC’s best.

Ravens Antithesis of Bills, Chiefs

If the Ravens beat the Bills and the Chiefs to the top of the pack, they’ll do it in a different way. Winning for the Bills and Chiefs is all about spectacular aerial offense, points bonanzas made possible by the physics-defying athleticism of signal-callers Allen and Patrick Mahomes.

Jackson’s a gifted athlete, but he doesn’t need to air it out 30-40 times per game for the Ravens to win. Not when offensive coordinator Greg Roman still calls a run-heavy scheme that punishes opponents physically.

The Saints absorbed a ton of punishment when the Ravens ran for 188 yards, with 132 of those gained in the second half, according to Zrebiec. Jackson accounted for 82 of those yards, many of them on designed QB runs, while Kenyan Drake offered excellent support by rushing for 93 yards and two scores.

Roman’s Ravens are bully boys on offense and it’s not much different on the other side of the ball. Not when DC Mike Macdonald “now has the ability to mix and match his edge rushers and keep everyone fresh,” per Zrebiec, who also noted how the Ravens attacked Saints’ quarterback Andy Dalton “in waves” during a four-sack performance.

Macdonald’s ability to get creative with the talent at his disposal was illustrated best by this beauty of a designed pressure that allowed cornerback Marlon Humphrey to sack Dalton:

The Ravens control the ball on offense and hammer quarterbacks defensively. It isn’t pretty, but it’s also not something teams like the Bills and Chiefs enjoy.

Buffalo was battered by the New York Jets‘ defense in Week 9, while the Chiefs were pushed into overtime by the Tennessee Titans during an epic, game-of-the-season-so-far clash on Sunday Night Football.

The Jets and Titans both rely on physical football, but neither has perfected the formula quite like the playoff-ready Ravens.