Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
2) Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson just followed in Tom Brady’s footsteps as the second unanimous MVP in NFL history. No surprise, considering he led the league in touchdown passes (36), finished sixth in rushing yards (1,206) and guided the Ravens to an NFL-best 14-2 record. A majestic season by any measure. The frightening thing for opponents is that it feels like he’s just scratching the surface of his ultimate potential.
Having just turned 23 last month, Jackson will only get better in every element of being a quarterback. Not to mention, he now has a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder after the Divisional Round loss to Tennessee. And Jackson has the right people around him to maximize his truly rare skill set. John Harbaugh is a fantastic coach. Eric DeCosta is an astute general manager. The coaching staff, overall, is excellent. The talent is strong and deep. Get used to Baltimore being squarely in the title hunt for a long, long time.
The top 101 players from the 2019 NFL season – Sam Monson
Marshal Yanda is one of the best offensive linemen of his generation, and he has a very real Hall of Fame case when he finally decides to hang up his cleats. The development of Lamar Jackson and the transformation of the Ravens’ offense allowed him to have a renaissance in 2019 at 35 years of age. Yanda allowed just 10 total pressures all season long and was a solid run blocker over the course of the season. At his best, Yanda was the top guard in football, and while he is no longer quite at that level, he is still good enough to make the PFF Top 101 for the eighth time.
Marcus Peters was traded midway through the season, but produced some strong play both before and after that trade, first for the Rams and then later for the Ravens as they pushed into the playoffs. Peters is the perfect ballhawk for a Ravens’ secondary that is loaded with coverage talent because he can freelance a little and make plays while others remain disciplined and lock down their assignment. Peters had five interceptions and eight pass breakups over the season, but he did surrender five touchdowns.
Mark Andrews saw 104 targets this season, including the team’s lone playoff appearance, catching 65.4% of them (68) and scoring 10 touchdowns. He was Lamar Jackson’s go-to receiver and ended the regular season ranked fifth in targets, but with the heavy tight end formations they Ravens run, he ranked just 39th in snaps. Andrews was one of the best receiving weapons in the league and did it while being reserved specifically for that role from a deployment point of view. His grade suffered a little from a strange case of the drops, three of which came in one game in the rain against Seattle, but overall, he was a real force this season.
Baltimore Ravens’ 2020 schedule includes the Chiefs. Here are 3 other games to get excited about. – Aaron Kasinitz
Titans at Ravens
No writer or television producer will need to overextend to find a storyline for this one. The Titans-Ravens game is all about redemption.
Baltimore entered the postseason last month as the AFC’s No. 1 seed with the best record in the NFL. Oddsmakers pegged the Ravens as heavy Super Bowl favorites. And then the streaking Titans stomped into M&T Bank Stadium and whipped their host for 60 minutes, rolling to a 28-12 win that left Baltimore shocked and shattered.
The Ravens will get a chance this season to avenge one of the most memorable letdowns in franchise history. To avoid sharp criticism, they’ll need to take advantage.