The Baltimore Ravens have struggled in a big way much of the 2020 season on offense, but in crunch time, the team has rediscovered a winning formula.
Quietly, the Ravens have begun to once again look like the team they were in the past. Baltimore destroyed the Cowboys, beat the Browns and hammered the Jaguars en-route to getting back into the playoff conversation. That’s excellent news as it relates to the team’s long-term playoff prospects, which is something that many analysts are beginning to see.
After the Ravens destroyed Jacksonville on Sunday, Albert Breer from Sports Illustrated noticed the quiet damage the Ravens have been inflicting on the opposition lately, and came away impressed with the work of Lamar Jackson as well as the team’s ground game and wideouts.
“Yes, it was against the Jaguars. But the reigning MVP was efficient in throwing for 243 yards and three touchdowns, completing 17-of-22 throws, and the Ravens were good on third down (8-of-12) and perfect in the red zone (5-for-5). It’s a good sign that Jackson and a young group around him (Hollywood Brown, J.K. Dobbins, Mark Andrews) are growing an identity offensively. Obviously, the big questions can’t really be answered until January. But the way John Harbaugh’s group has emerged from its Thanksgiving COVID-19 mess—they’ve blown out the Cowboys and Jags, and scored a hard-fought win in Cleveland over a 3–0 stretch—is impressive. “You always just hammer home what’s at stake and looking straight ahead, having your eyes neither wander to the left or to the right, but keeping focused on what’s in front of you,” John Harbaugh told reporters over Zoom postgame. “I think it just goes back to guys who are character guys and understand perspective and understand what’s at stake. I’m proud of our guys for being able to do that over the years. This bunch just did.”
It’s true that the Ravens look like a changed team since the COVID-19 crisis struck them just about a month ago, and it’s possible the team coming together in a meaningful way has helped drive them forward as much as any game plan or change in offensive approach.
If Baltimore’s offense has a ramped up attack, that could be big news down the stretch and in the playoffs if the Ravens manage to get there.
Ravens Playoff Hopes Boosted With Wins
Baltimore’s dominating work the last few weeks has helped put them in position for a playoff birth, even as they remain on the outside looking in of the AFC conversation. Miami’s win over New England didn’t allow Baltimore to move up, and the Ravens will now have to hope the Dolphins slip up over the final two weeks of the season against either the Raiders or the Bills in order to allow them to sneak in with a pair of wins themselves. Miami owns a tiebreaker over Baltimore for the final playoff spot.
The margin of error for both teams is very narrow at this point, so wins are the only way in. A revved-up Ravens attack could help them sneak in when all is said and done.
Ravens Offense Coming Alive
It’s safe to say the Baltimore defense has played decently well this season given their status as a top 10 unit in the league at this point in the season. Where Baltimore has needed to get back to work is on offense. This season, the Ravens as a whole aren’t scoring nearly enough and could use their passing game to get back on track with Lamar Jackson. Baltimore’s offense has been in the bottom half of the league in multiple categories this year, but theoretically, the chance for them to get healthy started right now with the schedule.
In the last three games, the Ravens have put up a gaudy 121 points. Their offense is getting it done on the ground and through the air, which has led to the major resurgence on the field in terms of wins. Moving forward, the challenge will be getting this to translate consistently the rest of the season and in the playoffs.
So far so good to this point, though.