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3 Strengths for Baltimore Ravens Going Into Playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens are hitting their stride heading into the playoffs, and it's all thanks to these three strengths.
Baltimore Ravens Playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens are clicking on all cylinders and have clinched the top seed in the playoffs. At this point in the season, they are the best team in the NFL. Undoubtedly, that is a proven claim. For most of this season, only two teams were repeatedly mentioned as the best in the league- the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins. Anyone who consistently watches Baltimore never placed any legitimacy on the glaring omission, as there was no mention of the under-the-radar Ravens. Well, Baltimore is clearly on the radar now. The Ravens handily beat the Niners and Dolphins in back-to-back weeks.

In Week 16, Baltimore beat San Francisco 33-19 and looked like the far superior team. The Ravens defense forced five interceptions, and the offense looked high-powered. A short week later, Baltimore put an unexpected beatdown on the Dolphins. It’s not that the Ravens weren’t expected to win, they just weren’t expected to win by the tune of a 56-19 bludgeoning. The contest can be described as pure domination, case closed. The Ravens are, and have been the team to beat for weeks. The team is finally gelling, and Baltimore can showcase their strengths more comfortably.

The Baltimore Ravens 3 Biggest Strengths Heading Into the Playoffs

1) Receivers

Baltimore has one of the most underrated receiving groups in the NFL. With quarterback Lamar Jackson taking a huge leap forward as a passer this year, the receivers are getting a little extra shine. Rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers, also known as “Joystick” is taking the league by storm. He has earned the nickname with his ability to elude defenders and pick up extra yards. Odell Beckham Jr. is looking more and more like himself and is back to making spectacular grabs and making defenders look silly with his elite route running.

As far as the supporting cast for these two stars, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, and Isaiah Likely have been steady forces.  Likely in particular is making the best of his opportunity. The former fourth-round pick is not expected to be an exact replacement for Mark Andrews, yet he’s not missing a beat. Likely gets better every week, and looks like a star in the making.

2) Defense

The Baltimore Ravens have the most complete defense in the NFL. No matter where you look, you cannot find a hole. The Ravens pass rush has been heavily effective, making it hard on opposing quarterbacks. Justin Madubuike is having a breakout season. He has 13 sacks and is anchoring the defensive line.

Linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen are a dynamic duo. Both players are outstanding against the run, and both play solid coverage. Smith is developing a reputation as an intimidator and leads the Ravens defense with his persona. Safety Kyle Hamilton is sometimes used as an extra linebacker. His size and strength allow him to flourish in the role, but his quickness and ball skills allow for a versatile defensive back.

3) Toughness

The injury bug hit the Ravens hard this season. Luckily, they are as tough as nails. It takes an extremely tough team to persevere through some of the injuries that they’ve dealt with, yet they’ve kept the blinders on. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey missed the first four games of the season with a foot injury suffered in training camp. Baltimore was able to go 3-1 in those four games. Running back Keaton Mitchell was having a breakout season until he suffered a gruesome knee injury in week 15, putting him out for the remainder of the season.

Mitchell has become an important piece, but Baltimore is still running effectively in his absence. Lastly, Superstar tight end Mark Andrews suffered a broken leg in week 11. Andrews is Lamar Jackson’s favorite target, but Jackson has been even better without Andrews. That is not a slight to Andrews, but more so an accreditation to the Ravens, the team’s toughness, and ability to persist during hard times.

Main Photo: Tommy Gilligan – USA Today Sports


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