Last year, the Baltimore Ravens were nowhere close to a Super Bowl. They looked doomed as they had a 4-5 record entering the midway point of the season. Joe Flacco, 34, had compiled a season throwing for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Flacco clearly wasn’t the same player as years prior—and no longer the solution in Baltimore. His poor play resonated within the team. Subsequently, it forced John Harbaugh on the coaching hot seat throughout the first half of the season. Harbaugh and the Ravens were going to miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.
Are The Baltimore Ravens Legit Super Bowl Contenders?
Their situation grew substantially worse when Flacco suffered a small tear in his hip that would, ultimately, keep him sidelined for multiple weeks. Therefore, the Ravens were forced to insert their first-round pick Lamar Jackson into the starting quarterback position. Once Jackson took the helm, the Baltimore Ravens became an entirely different team and a formidable opponent. The 21-year-old rookie transcended Baltimore’s offense and led the team into the playoffs. They finished the season with a 6-1 record, capturing their first division title since 2012.
The Lamar Jackson Era
In the 2019-2020 season, the Ravens currently stand atop the AFC North with a 5-2 record. Lamar Jackson is playing like he’s in a video game and is must-watch television. He has immersed himself into the MVP conversation; the performances that he continues to compile up week-after-week is incredible. His play has single-handedly pushed this Baltimore club into the upper echelon of teams in the league.
This season, the Ravens lead the league in total offense in yards per game (437.9), rank second in rushing yards (204.1), and second in points per game (30.6). Lamar Jackson, alone, has more rushing yards than six NFL teams and has accounted for more total yardage than 14 teams in the league with 2,226 yards. His performance thus far has been phenomenal.
His ability to elude defenders in the run and extend plays with his feet is comparable to quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. However, Wilson and Rodgers have never possessed the athletic ability that Jackson displays weekly—making Lamar one of a kind.
The Ravens quarterback still has many strides to make in terms of his passing ability. Nonetheless, his improvement as a pocket passer from year one to two has been noted. Expect him to continue to ascend throughout his career.
The Ravens rising
Last week, the Baltimore Ravens traveled to Seattle to take on the MVP-favorite, Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks. The Ravens ran away with this game 30-16 and completely dominated in all facets. Their 13th ranked defense absolutely stunned the Hawks. Recently acquired Marcus Peters forced Wilson to throw his first interception of the season as he brought it back for a touchdown. This defense is real and so are the Ravens.
Late in the third quarter with the game tied up at 13, Jackson approached his coach with the urge to not be complacent. He made a decision to go for it on 4th and 2 within Seattle’s red zone. Moreover, Lamar then took the direct snap and found a crease within the defense which led to the eight-yard rushing touchdown—giving the Ravens the lead heading into the fourth quarter. Jackson has countlessly displayed those same traits that franchise and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks possess; simply put, he has the “it” factor.
With the way that the AFC is currently set up, the New England Patriots are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl. With that being said, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is going to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. Ultimately, this gives the Ravens a decent window to make their mark as the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC.
Mahomes won’t be hurt forever and the Chiefs will return to their glory. But, as it stands, the Ravens possess a high powered offense along with a top-notch defense. They have no surmountable weaknesses on their roster. With Lamar Jackson leading the charge, Baltimore has the ability to compete with any team in the league, as they pose as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
In conclusion, the answer is yes. They may not be heavy favorites, but Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl contenders
Embed from Getty Images