The Baltimore Ravens took the NFL by storm with a league-best 14-2 record and 12-game win streak to close out the regular season. On Saturday the No. 1 seed in the AFC will get its first taste of postseason competition in the Divisional Round of the playoffs and is projected to march past its opposition straight to the Super Bowl.
|AFC conference winner||Odds|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+140|
Lamar Jackson the key to Ravens’ success
Behind second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson’s sensational play, it became nearly impossible to game plan against the Ravens offense in 2019.
Jackson, the clear MVP frontrunner, rushed for the most yards by a quarterback in a single season (1,206). He also set the Ravens franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season (36) and became the first player to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in one season.
Here’s what Lamar Jackson did in the NFL at 22 years old.
🏈 4,333 total yards
🏈 2019 passing touchdown, QBR, yards per rush leader
🏈 Broke Mike Vicks QB rushing record
Not bad for a running back. Hope 23 is just as good. Happy Birthday to the (probable) MVP 👑 pic.twitter.com/GW0hDkrf7u
— Tylt Sports (@tyltsports) January 7, 2020
Jackson’s supporting cast has been impressive, too. With the help of running back Mark Ingram, the Ravens topped the league in rushing (206 yards per game), and the defense ranked sixth against the pass and fifth against the run.
In late December 12 players from the Ravens were named to the 2019 AFC Pro Bowl team, which tied an NFL record set by the 1973 Miami Dolphins for most selections on the initial roster. That Dolphins team defeated the Vikings, 24-7, in the Super Bowl.
Ravens the +200 favorite to win Super Bowl LIV
Baltimore’s assortment of talent has shaped the team into a force only the Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns managed to stop in the regular season. In Week 3 Kansas City held Jackson to 51.2% passing, and Baltimore fell 33-28 on the road. The following week Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ran through the Ravens’ defense for 165 yards, and the Browns crushed Baltimore, 40-25.
Baltimore regained its footing and bolstered its defense by adding cornerback Marcus Peters through a trade with the Rams.
Sure enough, 15 minutes later, Wilson throws a pick-six. Really solid job by new #Ravens CB Marcus Peters on the play. He reads Wilson all he way and makes a great play on the ball. Makes sense to why he leads the NFL with 24 interceptions since 2015. pic.twitter.com/lPIObIxr8A
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) October 22, 2019
In the second half of 2019, the Ravens embarrassed New England, 37-20, crushed the fourth-seeded Houston Texans, 41-7, and blew out the Los Angeles Rams, 45-6, on the road. The No. 1 seed in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers, kept it close in a Week 13 showdown in Baltimore, but a Justin Tucker field goal sealed the deal for the Ravens in a 20-17 thriller.
Because of the Ravens’ dominance in 2019, the team has become a flashy pick to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Miami. Baltimore is the +200 favorite to win Super Bowl LIV, with the Chiefs next in line at +275 and the Niners a +325 shot to secure the NFL’s ultimate prize.
|Tennessee Titans||+10||+325||Over 46.5|
|Baltimore Ravens||-10||-435||Under 46.5|
The 9-7 Titans stunned Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Wild Card Round. Running back Derrick Henry carried Tennessee on his back, as he accounted for almost 75% of the Titans’ offense and tallied 182 rushing yards, plus a score.
– Became the first player with 200 scrimmage yards against a Belichick-coached Patriots team in a playoff game
– Set the franchise record for scrimmage yards in a playoff game
Today is his 26th birthday. pic.twitter.com/yYtKirCJzb
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 5, 2020
Baltimore should be able to cruise past the Titans, as long as the defense can stop Henry. Should the Ravens reach the next round, they will challenge either Kansas City or Houston for the AFC crown.
If Baltimore’s performance in the regular season is any indication, this team is destined for a championship run. Jackson has had his sights set on a ring all season, and it’ll be a tall task for anyone to stand in his team’s path to Super Bowl LIV.