When a team is first in the league in scoring and sixth in points allowed, they’re cooking with fire. Following impressive wins over the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and Seattle Seahwaks, John Harbaugh’s Ravens must be regarded as Super Bowl contenders. If their destruction of the Patriots wasn’t enough, Monday Night Football could be another chance for the Ravens to continue to build their name on a national stage.
While we often affiliate the Ravens with defense, this team’s identity is built around the vastly improved skill set of quarterback Lamar Jackson and his offense. They opened the season by hanging 59 points on the Miami Dolphins, and have also enjoyed 49, 40, and 37 point outbursts. Jackson has done a good job of finding tight end Mark Andrews and rookie speedster Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, as opposing pass rushers have been kept honest while desperately trying to clog any lanes that the elusive Jackson might squirt through. To make matters more difficult, the Ravens have pretty good offensive line where left tackle Ronnie Stanley has performed at a Pro Bowl level alongside legendary guard Marshal Yanda and right tackle Orlando Brown. Former New Orleans Saint Mark Ingram will look to gash whatever Lamar Jackson hasn’t already burnt. All in all, the Ravens have been a handful, especially against good teams.
If there is any hope, it is that the Rams are ranked second in the league against the run, and have good sideline to sideline speed. Perhaps with 10 weeks of tape and some capable pieces the Rams could become the first real speed bump that the Ravens encounter, but that certainly won’t be an easy task.
The Ravens defense has also enjoyed some success this season. The Ravens have allowed the 6th fewest points in the league and are 14th in yardage allowed. The Ravens secondary is probably their most talented unit, where former-Rams cornerback Marcus Peters has joined Marlon Humphrey, Earl Thomas, and Chuck Clark. The Ravens don’t have a great pass rush, as linebacker Matt Judon leads the team with 6 sacks. The Ravens run defense is currently ranked 20th in yards per carry, so the Rams will likely look to let their makeshift offensive line come forward in a ground heavy attack, an approach that was somewhat successful against a stout Chicago Bears defense a week ago. However, unlike the Bears game, the Rams likely won’t get past the Ravens with only 17 points. They will need to finish drives and avoid bonehead turnovers to pull this one out.
The Ravens have been getting plenty of well-deserved hype and should be a heck of a challenge for the Rams. However, a win would propel the Rams back into the playoff picture and prime them for a strong late season push. A win against a quality opponent like Baltimore would help to erase some of the disappointment of earlier losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.