Ravens: Strong on the Surface, But a Risk for Buyers

The Baltimore Ravens will play their first playoff game of the season this coming weekend after securing a bye due to being the AFC’s top seed. They finished the season 13-4, and despite not having key players like tight end Mark Andrews or wide receiver Devin Duvernay, they trampled almost everyone around them. Lamar Jackson was playing like a combination of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen to culminate an MVP-worthy season. The defense has been wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. This certainly looks like the year the Ravens win it all for the first time since a spry Joe Flacco was behind center. But look a take a closer glance: Could everything about the Ravens’ Super Bowl chances starts looking too good to be true? While the Ravens had an extra week to prepare and get ready, the rest of the league was playing, fighting to keep their Super Bowl dreams afloat. There is no one who needs to have more time playing in the playoffs than Lamar Jackson and Odell Beckham Jr. Jackson is 0-2 in the divisional round. After six seasons in the NFL, it is starting to look like he resembles Dak Prescott when it comes to the postseason. So far in his career in the playoffs, Jackson has five interceptions, has been sacked 19 times, while throwing three touchdown passes. Then there is Odell Beckham Jr. He has been in the league for 10 years and has only been to the playoffs three times for a total of five games. While he might have a Super Bowl ring for his time with the Rams, he didn’t play at all last year (due to tearing his ACL in the Rams’ Super Bowl game). He has a 4-1 playoff record, but he needs to be that guy the Ravens can rely on heavily as a veteran presence. “Everybody knows how the Super Bowl ended for me,” Beckham said to the team. “It’s been a long two and a half years, so it all boils down to this.” The Ravens are in a unique position where they have everything to lose, but also the opportunity to be great. This is the first time in a long time where they have everything in place to go all the way. Even if they do prove themselves, they run into either Kansas City or Buffalo in the next round. Two teams that are also vying for their spot in the championship, whether it’s to repeat as champions or to get their first Super Bowl win. There is still a lot for the Ravens to prove, but this should be an easy win vs. the Texans. And it may be, but the numbers suggest a buyer-beware approach.