Coming into the season, nobody predicted that the Ravens would have the same amount of wins as the rest of the AFC North combined. It would have been ludicrous. Yet that's where the Ravens are, going into week nine. The Steelers have had numerous quarterback injuries. Baker Mayfield has thrown more interceptions than the Browns have wins since 2016. The Bengals are in the race for the first pick in the draft. All of this has lead to the Ravens having a comfortable lead in the AFC North. It hasn’t been perfect, some position groups have struggled, and some have excelled.
Lamar Jackson has found a way to make plays. He can run, he can pass, and he is getting better at both. He is an MVP candidate. Lamar has done a really good job of not making mental mistakes, and he needs to continue making smart decisions.
The running backs led by Mark Ingram are enjoying the fact that defenses have to worry about Lamar running the football. It has mainly been Ingram, but everyone has hit the holes, catch passes thrown to them, and otherwise do their job.
Lamar routinely has at least three seconds to stand with absolutely no pressure. A lot of the credit goes to the offensive line. The Ravens haven’t let the best pass rusher on any team beat them, but they have struggled in creating holes for the running backs when the Ravens have faced a physical front.
The Ravens haven’t used their wide receivers. Marquise Brown made a splash against the Dolphins in week one, but he has had trouble staying on the field. Brown is now back and the Ravens need to get their playmakers the ball on a more consistent basis.
Lamar has loved throwing to his tight ends. Mark Andrews has emerged as one of the best tight ends in the league. He is complemented by Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle. The tight ends have been doing a good job blocking and catching passes, but they hurdle too much, which could lead to fumbles and injuries.
The Ravens have had a lot of success running the ball, but they need to get Gus Edwards and Justice Hill more touches. They also need to get the ball to the wide receivers and take deep shots to open up the running game. It would be good for the Ravens to be more creative in their playcalling, and start running screens.
The Ravens defensive line has struggled in getting sacks. They are getting close to the quarterback, but they need to finish the play.
The Ravens need Brandon Williams to be on the field to stop the run. When Williams doesn’t play the Ravens give up about one hundred more rushing yards a game.
The Ravens picked up two linebackers off the street and they are starting, and excelling already. While this doesn’t say much about the previous Ravens linebackers, L J Fort and Josh Bynes have revitalized the linebacker corps. Patrick Onauswu is coming back, and since Bynes and Fort have joined the Ravens, the linebackers have fantastic.
The Ravens secondary struggled with communication to start the season. The secondary has rebounded and with the addition of Marcus Peters, the secondary looks lethal. Marlon Humphrey has continued to make plays and the secondary looks like it has fixed their communication issue. The Ravens have had a bunch of injuries in the secondary, but the backups have stepped up to fill the gap.
No matter how talented a secondary the Ravens have, they can’t play coverage for five seconds. The defensive line has to get
pass-rush and finish the job by getting sacks.
Special teams have continued to dominate the league. Tucker has been perfect, Koch continues to pin the opposing offenses deep in their territory, and for the most part, the Ravens have had good kick coverage. The Ravens have only one fake punt this year, which was a run by Anthony Levine Sr. for over fifty yards. Expect the Ravens to start trying more fake punts, in the second half.