Why Lamar Jackson, Red-Hot Ravens Can (And Can’t) Win Super Bowl LV

Baltimore opens its playoff campaign against the Titans

by

January 6, 2021

The Baltimore Ravens have peaked at the perfect time, establishing a great deal of optimism as they enter the 2020 NFL playoffs.

The 11-5 Ravens will carry a five-game winning streak into their AFC wild-card game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Baltimore, one of three AFC North teams to qualify for the postseason, is among the hottest teams in the NFL.

Oddsmakers have shown a bit of confidence, as well. It’s depicted as Baltimore enters the playoffs with 11-to-1 odds to win Super Bowl LV.

Let’s go over why the Ravens can and can’t win the Super Bowl.

Can Win Super Bowl
Baltimore has put it all together over the final stretch. The Ravens are getting healthier, and it has gone a long way in Baltimore’s ability to resemble its 2019 squad.

Like a year ago, the Ravens are thriving on the back of quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson has been on a different level since his return from the COVID-19/reserve list. He has helped the Ravens rediscover their offensive attack, which is first in the NFL in rushing attempts, rushing yards and yards per carry.

Baltimore has eclipsed 230 rushing yards in four of its last five games, including 404 (!) against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. No team has scored more points since Week 13. (The Ravens have scored 34 or more points in four of their last five games.)

The Ravens’ defense has been equally crucial in their regular-season success. Baltimore finished the campaign second in points allowed per game (17.8) and seventh in yards allowed per game (310). The Ravens are stout against the run (68 yards or fewer in three of their last six games) and equally impressive against the pass (208 passing yards allowed per game).

Can’t Win Super Bowl
While the Ravens’ 2020 regular season should offer some confidence, their past playoff appearances are the exact opposite. Baltimore has been eliminated in its first playoff game each of the last two seasons. Most notably, the Ravens entered the 2019 postseason as the AFC’s No. 1 seed, and even with the benefit of a first-round bye and home-field advantage, Baltimore was handed a 28-12 defeat to none other than the Titans.

The reality is that Jackson, while impressive, still is a young quarterback who hasn’t shown he can beat playoff teams with his arm. The 2019 MVP is 0-2 in the playoffs. He has three interceptions and three touchdowns in two playoff games, completing 51 percent of his passes in said games.

Additionally, Baltimore’s run-first mindset could make it tough for its offense to come back if a playoff opponent takes a lead.

Lastly, other than a Monday night game against Cleveland, no game in Baltimore’s five-game win streak was against a playoff-caliber opponent.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images
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