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Can Ravens Win Wild Card Matchup With Lamar Jackson Doubtful?

Lamar Jackson Doubtful for Wildcard Round: Baltimore's quarterback is doubtful for Sunday. The team will turn to either Huntley or Brown.
Lamar Jackson Wild Card

The Baltimore Ravens star quarterback, Lamar Jackson, is doubtful for the Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs. Baltimore is set to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals, a team they went 1-1 against in the regular season.

Jackson suffered a PCL injury over a month ago. It was originally reported that he would miss a few weeks, but he has not been at practice at all. There were also rumors that Jackson was skipping treatment, but those reports have since been quashed. The belief is that Jackson’s recovery may be taking longer than expected, but the issue is not contract-related.

Should the Ravens be without Jackson, they will turn to either Tyler Huntley or Anthony Brown. Huntley has been limited in practice but may recover in time for the crucial playoff game. The backup quarterback missed Baltimore’s final fixture of the season against the Bengals. It meant that the Ravens resorted to Brown, who went 19-of-44 for 286 yards and two interceptions in a 27-16 loss.

The defeat condemned the Ravens to the AFC’s sixth seed, falling behind the Los Angeles Chargers. They finished their season with a record of 10-7. While double-digit win seasons are generally considered a success, many fans feel that this season has been disappointing. The team was in a strong position to win the AFC North title with a comfortable closing schedule. However, offensive struggles and blown leads made their path to the playoffs much harder than it needed to be.

Can Ravens Survive Without Lamar Jackson In Wild Card Round?

With Jackson doubtful for the Wildcard Round, it will be interesting to see how the Ravens will strategize against the Bengals. In their early-season matchup, the Ravens overcame Cincinnati thanks to a game-winning field goal by Justin Tucker. Those stuttering Bengals are gone now though. Cincinnati looks much stronger and more confident.

Since Jackson’s injury, the Ravens offense has looked toothless. They must improve if they are to progress to the Divisional Round. Thankfully, Baltimore’s elite defense means that the pressure is not solely on offensive production. The likes of Roquan Smith and Marlon Humphrey will need to limit the Bengals to keep the game close for their offense.

In Week 18’s fixture, the Ravens went for a gameplan that was vastly different from the rest of the season. Despite having their third-string quarterback, the team opted to throw the ball a whopping 44 times. This is a large increase from their average of 28.7 attempts per game.

The Run

Part of the reason that the Ravens opted to pass the ball more was that they went down early. It meant that Greg Roman’s offense was playing catchup for the entire game. However, part of the reason was also that J.K. Dobbins was inactive.

Since his return from injury, Dobbins has looked explosive and has been the Ravens’ top threat. His tandem with Gus Edwards has been essential to the Ravens in the absence of Jackson. Thus, expect the Ravens to lean on the run more, regardless of who their quarterback is. Should Brown be the signal-caller, Roman could also look to run some more RPO or designed quarterback runs.

The Pass

The Ravens receivers have been dreadful of late. Against the Bengals, they had some costly drops, and their route-running was all over the place. It was often the case that two receivers would bump into each other or occupy the same space.

As it stands, the Ravens receiving corps consists of Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, James Proche, and Tylan Wallace. That is far from a playoff-caliber receiving group. Part of this is down to Eric DeCosta’s reluctance to add receivers to the Ravens. He traded away Marquise Brown but failed to replace his production. The lack of quality depth showed when Rashod Bateman went down for the season. It was further exacerbated when the team lost Devin Duvernay to a season-ending injury too. The team added veteran DeSean Jackson earlier in the season but has recently waived him despite some promising flashes.

The lack of quality wideouts was evident against the Bengals. They contributed just five of the 19 receptions. The tight ends, however, are a whole different story. Isaiah Likely caught eight passes for 103 yards while Charlie Kolar managed four for 49. Both rookies looked promising and Likely had a solid first season in Baltimore.

It would make sense for the Ravens to pass to their reliable tight end group, given how poor the wide receivers have been. Their best tight end, Mark Andrews, was inactive for the previous fixture so expect him to make an impact. Utilizing the Andrews-Likely tandem effectively while also finding a way to get Kolar involved makes the most sense. Both Andrews and Kolar are also good blockers for the run game, allowing more disguised plays and play action.


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