The talent of the 2012 Ravens cannot be understated. With such talented players on offense, Jones thought this team was going to be unstoppable when he first arrived in Baltimore. Jones rattled off the names on that offense, including Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, Ray Rice and Vonta Leach.
“I just ran a post [in practice] and Joe let it go and I went and got it,” Jones said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 16. “When I got up, I turned around and looked [and] Joe was already down the field right there by me like ‘Yeah!’ I’m like, ‘Oh shit, we’re like this. We’re about to be nasty.’”
Jones went so far to say that current Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would be a different kind of threat if he had the 2012 Ravens receiving corps.
“If Lamar had me, Anquan and Torrey, he wouldn’t be running nowhere,” Jones said.
“We went through a little spell, and us as players, we hold each other accountable,” Jones said of the losing streak. “We had a lot of leaders on that team. You’ve got Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Joe Flacco. … We had leaders on our team that wouldn’t let [missing the playoffs] happen.”
“We faced [Peyton] Manning, we faced [Tom] Brady and then [Colin Kaepernick]. We put them all to sleep,” Jones said. “Our defense was flawless and our offense was flawless. Special teams, you couldn’t tell us nothing because we stayed special.”
Lamar Jackson’s legs are in full form. A year after injuries plagued the star quarterback, his athleticism has single-handedly kept the Ravens’ offense afloat, pairing with a restocked defense to maintain playoff hopes.
The Ravens seem to have forgotten wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who started the season so well. Jackson has targeted him just once in each of the last two games. Rookie tight end Isaiah Likely also faded to the background with Andrews in the lineup, catching one pass for one yard on three targets. With a paucity of pass catching talent compared to other top contenders, the Ravens need to squeeze more out of the receivers they do have. Their pass protection, so good in recent weeks, suffered a blow when left tackle Ronnie Stanley left the Carolina game with an ankle injury. Patrick Mekari has played well as a stand-in, but Stanley’s elite pass blocking and mobility are essential.
The Ravens will face one of the league’s worst pass defenses when they travel to Jacksonville. The Jaguars rank 12th in pressures per drop-back but have just 16 sacks to show for it. They have a few talented starters in cornerback Tyson Campbell, a second-round pick in 2021, and outside linebacker Josh Allen, a first-round pick in 2020. Devin Lloyd is a prolific playmaker in the middle, though he struggles in coverage. They don’t have a lot of defenders who scare anybody.
The Ravens cannot afford a flat performance against the Jaguars, who run the ball efficiently and string together first downs when quarterback Trevor Lawrence is on form. Jacksonville has not been blown out all season, so expect a nail-biter before the Ravens assert themselves with superior defense and more reliable special teams.
Ravens 23, Jaguars 16
NFL Week 12 Picks and Predictions: Lock of the Week, Upset of the Week, and Score Predictions For Every Game — Dalton Miller
Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Ravens struggled offensively against the Carolina Panthers, and it will be interesting to see if other teams defend Baltimore similarly. The Ravens want to run the ball early and often, especially as their receiving corps looks putrid without Rashod Bateman.
Jacksonville is coming off its bye week, which it desperately needed. The Jaguars haven’t been as bad as their record would suggest, but eventually, the unfortunate mistakes in the red zone are impossible to ignore, no matter how well they move the ball between the 20s.
But it’s been the defense that has let them down most this season, even after adding pieces everywhere in the offseason.
Ravens 27, Jaguars 22
Week 12 NFL game picks: Pats hand Vikings second straight loss on Thanksgiving night; Titans > Bengals – Gregg Rosenthal
Baltimore Ravens 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 17
My producers at GameDay View on NFL Network keep track of how I pick each team. I’ve been wrong more about the Jaguars than any other team (3-7!), underestimating them early and overestimating them of late. They are better than their record, but I can’t take them over a Ravens defense that is peaking. The Roquan Smith addition has helped to unlock Patrick Queen and, suddenly, the defense is strong at every level. Jacksonville will make Baltimore sweat, though.
NFL picks against the spread – Vic Tafur
The Ravens didn’t cover for us last week but they easily could have. They did win their fourth game in a row (2-2 ATS) and their resurgent defense should be able to pressure Trevor Lawrence into some mistakes, while their run defense should also be able to bottle up Travis Etienne Jr.
The Jaguars had lost six of seven games going into their bye week, and their only hope is that the Ravens continue to trip over their own feet. John Harbaugh’s club has the worst red-zone efficiency (52.6 percent) of any Baltimore team since 2018, down from 66 percent the last three seasons.
The pick: Ravens -4