NFL QB Index, Week 8: Patrick Mahomes back in the No. 1 spot; Daniel Jones climbing toward top 10 – Marc Sessler
Lamar sits high above the rest in yards per carry, a testament to his ability to put Baltimore on his back when it needs him most. That’s exactly what he did in Week 5 against the Bengals — and his one-of-a-kind mobility was a factor in Sunday’s tight win over the Browns. From a darker angle, Jackson’s turnovers were a factor, too, in losses to the Bills and Giants, and it’s fair to wonder about the ceiling of an offense that saw Lamar complete just nine passes against Cleveland’s shaky defense.
NFL offensive line rankings ahead of Week 8 – Sam Monson
3. BALTIMORE RAVENS (UP 1)
Projected Week 8 Starters:
LG Ben Powers
RT Morgan Moses
Ronnie Stanley played 55-of-64 snaps on offense in Week 7 and allowed just two hurries despite being matched up with Myles Garrett for much of the day.
No lineman allowed more than two pressures against the Browns.
Upcoming Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are now surrendering 6.4 yards per rushing attempt, the second-worst figure in the NFL. They are also below league average as a pass-rushing unit.
Gameday Preview: Ravens vs. Buccaneers, Week 8 – Clifton Brown
Can the Ravens put consistent pressure on Brady?
Brady is just two sacks away from being the most sacked quarterback of all time. The Ravens would love to put him over the hump. He’s already been sacked 10 times this season, and even if the Ravens don’t sack Brady often, they hope to throw off his timing with pressure. Baltimore’s pass rush had five sacks against Cleveland with a variety of players generating pressure. Brady is outstanding at anticipating blitzes, so Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald will have to be creative to keep Brady off balance.
LB Patrick Queen vs. RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette leads the Bucs in pass receptions (34) and Brady looks for him quickly when other options are covered. Queen led Baltimore with 11 tackles in Week 7 and has been playing perhaps the best football of his career. He will be keying on Fournette as both a runner and receiver, and this will be another test for Queen’s pass coverage and open field tackling. The more Queen neutralizes Fournette, the better Baltimore’s chances to win.
Rashod Bateman’s pre-draft scouting report did not include major questions about his hands. He had “pro-ready hands,” which is why Bateman’s struggles with drops this season have been surprising. The Ravens’ No. 1 receiver, Bateman was tied with Houston’s Brandin Cooks heading into Week 8 with a league-leading five drops, according to Pro Football Focus. Cooks, though, has 28 catches on 47 targets. Bateman has 15 receptions on 27 targets. A 25 percent drop rate is way too high for a player of Bateman’s talent level. It’s something he’s going to need to figure out, because the Ravens aren’t operating at a high enough level offensively to overcome missed opportunities.
As Ravens players shuffled to the locker room following their indoor walk-through Monday, practice squad receiver DeSean Jackson stayed on the field to do some more running. That’s been part of a crash course for DeSean Jackson to get in shape and learn the Ravens’ offense as soon as possible after he signed with the team on Oct. 19. After his first practice last week, he remained on the field to go over things with Lamar Jackson. Before the Week 7 game, DeSean Jackson spent significant time on the field working out and talking with wide receivers coach Tee Martin. On Tuesday, Martin and DeSean Jackson were together on an adjacent field. The Ravens don’t have to officially elevate him until 4 p.m. ET Thursday, but it sure seemed like he was preparing to play against Tampa Bay. Baltimore needs the big-play dynamic that DeSean Jackson can provide, and the Buccaneers are expected to be without starting safety Antoine Winfield Jr. due to a concussion.
The Buccaneers blitz on 27.8% of drop backs and rank 11th in pressure percentage, according to Pro-Football Reference.
Lavonte David is one of the league’s top all-around linebackers. Defensive tackle Vita Vea is a menace rushing from the inside. Baltimore native Shaquil Barrett is a formidable edge rusher. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged just 5.3 yards per attempt against Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers rank 16th in yards per attempt after ranking fifth in 2021, and they’re 26th in third-down efficiency after ranking second in 2021. Those numbers help explain why a Brady-led team is averaging a shocking 17.7 points per game. Wide receiver Mike Evans (33 catches, 453 yards, three touchdowns) is Brady’s most productive target while his running mate, Chris Godwin, is averaging a career-low 10.1 yards per catch. Brady frequently checks down to running back Leonard Fournette, who leads the Buccaneers with 34 catches on 39 targets, three of those for touchdowns.
Can Tom Brady pick the Ravens apart with quick throws? Can the Ravens pound the Buccaneers with another run-first game plan? Neither team has reached peak form through the first seven weeks, but the Buccaneers have struggled against lesser competition and have lost twice at home. The Ravens will exploit Tampa Bay’s disadvantages on special teams and in the power game to grind out another narrow victory. Ravens 26, Buccaneers 22
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