By John Woz, Jr. | November 18th, 2019
The Baltimore Ravens made it six straight wins on Sunday, to move three games ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This week’s NFL notebook spotlights a team from each conference. The Ravens and Vikings have the No.1 and No.3 ranked rushing offense, respectively. I’ve grown fond of both teams, so let’s start with the hottest team in the NFL.
He’s done it again! Lamar Jackson led the 8-2 Baltimore Ravens to an incredible 41 -7 victory over the 6-4 Houston Texans. Jackson was in MVP form, as he was 17/24 with 222 yards and four touchdowns. Houston couldn’t stop the run, and Jackson had nine carries for 86 yards rushing, taking his total to 788 yards on the season, a league high for quarterbacks.
Ravens offence plays heavy metal football
The Term Heavy Metal Football is synonymous with Liverpool Football Club. However, the Ravens too are playing heavy-metal football. The NFL’s No.2 offense tore the Texans to shreds. Jackson wasn’t the only standout performer on the Ravens offense. Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, and Seth Roberts chipped in with touchdowns.
The No.1 ranked rushing offense was relentless with 36 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown. To put that total into context, Houston had a net total offense of 232 yards.
Improving Ravens defence
Matt Judon led a brilliant performance by the Baltimore defense to shut out Houston for three quarters of the game. Judon had seven tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss. Don Martindale’s defense set the tone early. The Texans tried to run the ball up the middle early in the first quarter, but the Ravens linebackers swarmed the rush, forcing Houston to punt the football.
Deshaun Watson is a dual threat quarterback, but the Ravens pass rush unit breached the pocket to register six sacks against Watson for a loss of 49 yards. Watson’s performance was irritable from a Texans point of view, as he held onto football for far too long. The Texans scouting network should have highlighted that the ravens defense do not need invitations to pressure the quarterback. A.J. McCarron came in for a snap only to end up taking a sack.
Watch John Harbaugh’s team closely in their next two games. Baltimore faces two acid tests in weeks 12 and 13, at the Rams and against the 49ers, respectively. I can’t wait for the latter matchup; it is mouthwatering.
Vikings show mettle to top Broncos
The 8-3 Minnesota Vikings left it late to defeat the 3-7 Denver Broncos by 23-27. The Vikings have shown resilience in their last two games, winning by narrow margins. Vic Fangio’s team had a 20 point lead in the 3rd quarter, but the Broncos couldn’t sustain a dominant start. Football has a tendency to be unpredictable. The Broncos held the Vikings to 37 yards on the ground, despite having the third best rushing offense in the league.
Kirk Cousins led the Vikings comeback including a 44 yard pass that found Stefon Diggs in the Red Zone. Rookie Irv Smith put the home team on the board with his first NFL touchdown and the Vikings never looked back. Veteran Kyle Rudolph had five catches for 67 yards and a game-winning touchdown. Dalvin Cook reached 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
Von Miller registered a sack, against his 50th different quarterback in the NFL. Shelby Harris had three sacks on the day. Fangio and the Broncos front office got lots to figure out. The Broncos lost their third game in their last four.
I believe there is more to come from Minnesota. A bye weeks gives the Vikings time to prepare for Russell Wilson on the road in Week 13.
I love the game of football, and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Ravens in 2019. What’s impressive is the way the Ravens compete on all phases of the game. We saw similar performances in 2018, but Baltimore’s brave run ended at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers. The Ravens can reach the Super Bowl but they must learn from last season’s playoff defeat.
The NFC playoff picture is on a knife edge. The Vikings are one game behind the Packers in the NFC North. Can Mike Zimmer get the best out of his quarterback? He will need to if the Vikings are to make a push for the divisional title.
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