Two division leaders will be pitted against each other on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens welcome the Green Bay Packers to town.
Green Bay hit the ground running out of their bye week, putting up 45 points in a win over the Chicago Bears. Baltimore is coming off two consecutive losses by a combined three points.
Here are four things the Ravens do well that Green Bay needs to keep tabs on.
Run, run, and run some more
With Lamar Jackson running the show on offense for the Ravens, Baltimore is near the top of the league in rushing yards per game again. Currently, Baltimore sits third in the NFL at 144.8 yards per game on the ground.
What’s most impressive about the Ravens doing it again this year is that they lost their top three running backs to season-ending injuries before the year started. They’ve pieced it together by signing veterans Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray. The results have been splendid.
Even if Jackson doesn’t play on Sunday, the Ravens will turn the car keys over to Tyler Huntley, another incredibly mobile quarterback. Filling in last week for Jackson after leaving with an ankle injury, Huntley ran for 45 yards on six rushes. The Ravens are objectively far better off with Jackson at the controls. But even if he is out Sunday, Huntley is more than capable of using his legs to get the job done.
If Huntley is getting the spot start, expect plenty of Freeman and Murray, with sprinkles of option plays allowing Huntley to use his decision-making abilities. The best-case scenario is having Jackson good to go, of course, and that’s what Ravens will keep their fingers crossed for, but Huntley is an excellent plan B.
Come from behind
Baltimore has trailed in six of their eight wins this year. Under John Harbaugh’s stewardship, the Ravens have long been a team that doesn’t get rattled by the moment. They rarely seem to be out of a game until the clock runs out.
Thanks to Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay never truly feels out of a game they are trailing. These two similar mindsets clashing on Sunday could lead to quite the thriller.
A lot of this hinges on the availability of Lamar Jackson. However, in the one game that Huntley started, the Ravens beat the Bears on the road, 16-13, and the backup QB led a fourth-quarter comeback. Perhaps if it is Huntley on Sunday and the Ravens are behind, they will have similar confidence in him to lead the charge. They may not have any other choice.
Defend their home field against good teams
This year, four of the Ravens’ five losses have come on the road. They are 5-1 at home, with impressive wins against the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Indianapolis Colts.
Green Bay is among the best teams in the entire NFL, but the Ravens won’t be quivering on their home field.
For Baltimore, this is an ideal spot to figure things out after two consecutive close losses on the road. Their opponent is the opposite of a cupcake, but that’s par for the course on Baltimore’s schedule. Back at home, with or without Lamar, the Ravens will be feeling good about their chances to gain some momentum and pull out the win.
Play well in December when it matters
Dating back to 2018, the Ravens are 13-3 in December games. Two of those three losses have come in the last two weeks — road losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore rises to the occasion when it gets down to the nitty-gritty of the regular season, with the playoffs and seeding on the line.
Baltimore leads the AFC North, but all three other teams are well within shouting distance. The Ravens know they can’t sit back and relax. They have been a mainstay in the postseason in the Lamar Jackson era. If they want to continue that trend, a win on Sunday will go a long way in solidifying their spot in a jam-packed AFC.
When the calendar flips to December, Baltimore starts to play some of its best ball of the year. That hasn’t been the case in the last two weeks. But that seems to be more of an anomaly than a sign of things to come.