Preview: Ravens Look to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive Against the Visiting Rams
The Ravens square off against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in a must win for the Ravens to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Rams come to Baltimore with an 11-4 record good for first in the NFC west. The Ravens have a tough task in stopping a red hot Rams offense headlined by quarterback Matthew Stafford, that currently ranks seventh in the NFL in yards per game.
The Ravens currently sit outside the playoffs and a win Sunday could slide the Ravens to the AFC’s seven seed, with help from the Tennessee Titans winning their game against the Miami Dolphins. With a big matchup against the Steelers in week 18 a win Sunday would put the Ravens in prime position to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
Ravens Quarterback Play
Quarterback Lamar Jackson has a “chance to play” according to head coach John Harbaugh, but Jackson remains questionable after failing to practice on both Thursday and Friday. If Jackson is unable to go Tyler Huntley will get the start for his third career start. Huntley missed last Sunday’s contest after testing positive for Covid. Huntley has done his part to keep the Ravens season alive and and should give Ravens fans hope if Jackson misses his third consecutive game.
Huntley’s similar play style to Jackson can bode well for the Ravens as a key for Sunday could be keeping the ball out of the hands of Stafford and the Rams offense. A solid rushing attack against a stout Rams defense and long drives by the Ravens offense could be the key to a Ravens win.
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is having one of the best years by an NFL wide receiver as he is on pace to not only break the NFL record for receptions in a seasosn, currently held by Michael Thomas, but also Calvin Johnson’s record for receiving yards in a season. Kupp leads the NFL in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, while averaging 13.1 yards per reception.
The Ravens secondary who been hit the hardest this season by injury, will get the assignment to try and slow down Kupp. Chuck Clark is currently the only remaining starter for the Ravens secondary, as cornerback Anthony Averett, is out after fracturing his rib last Sunday. The Ravens will however get back cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Chris Westry after being activated from the covid/reserve list, and will need all hands on deck to stop the NFL’s best receiver.
While the Ravens offense has continued to score points and move the ball at an efficient rate even with the absence of Lamar Jackson, the defense has struggled to stop the opposing teams offense. After giving up 575 yards to the Bengals last Sunday with 525 those yards coming through the air, the Ravens now face one of the best passing attacks in the NFL this season. Matthew Stafford ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards per game at 289 yards. The Ravens secondary that has been riddled by injury, will now tasked with slowing down the best receiver in 2021, Cooper Kupp, as well as former AFC north rival Odell Beckham Jr.
With Lamar’s availability once again in doubt as he is listed as questionable for Sunday, the Ravens offense could once again lean on Tyler Huntley who has shown much promise in the two games he has started this season. But while the Ravens offense will look to keep pace with a high powered Rams offense, being asked to score on every drive could prove to be the downfall for the Ravens on Sunday. Its unlikely a depleted Ravens defense will be able to completely stop Stafford and the Rams, as the Rams pull away in the second half for a 41-27 win.
Line: Los Angelas -4.5
All-Time Record: Baltimore leads series 5-2
Last Meeting: 11/25/19 Baltimore 45-6