Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Look To Clinch Home Field – CBS Chicago

(CBS Baltimore) — The Baltimore Ravens (12-2) have the inside track on home-field advantage during the playoffs. Directed by MVP candidate and breakout star Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have been the team to beat down the homestretch. The Cleveland Browns (6-8) are barely holding on to their last shred of playoff hope. The Browns have not actually improved in their nearly -. 500 2018, and Baker Mayfield has not emerged as the luxury starter last year portended. However, the staff and Mayfield have revealed flashes.

Both these AFC North rivals have something to play in their own Week 16 matchup. The Ravens have to maintain their foot on the gas to keep home-field advantage. The Browns will want to string together a complete game to get any chance at playing in January. As an additional bonus, every team would definitely delight in spoiling another’s holiday season with a late December reduction.

Everybody suspected the Ravens can improve on last year’s 10-6 album and first-round playoff departure. Their 12 wins so far this year guarantee the very first, and also a probable first-round bye would reach the second. But that is just part of the narrative and does not clarify how they got here, riding a 10-match win streak and also on the cusp of this franchise’s first top seed in the playoffs.

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Jackson finished last year as a electrifying athlete that had to grow into a legitimate NFL quarterback. The Ravens conducted a stripped-down passing strike that restricted his exposure to errors but also restricted his odds for success. The Ravens’s victory moving into the 2019 year depended upon his evolution as a passer.

Certainly Jackson, an NFL offensive MVP candidate, has made amazing strides. He is coming from an absurd five-touchdown performance against the New York Jets. Scarier still, it was Jackson’s third largest five-touchdown match of this year. The first came from the Miami Dolphins in Week 1; the moment occurred contrary to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12. He’s 33 TD moves total up to now.

Jackson is not the league’s most prolific passer concerning yardage. The Ravens average just 207.6 yards passing per game, which places them at the bottom half of groups from that step. However, their running game is undoubtedly the very best in the NFL, using a mean of 202.1 metres per game, more than 50 yards greater than the next greatest team. And Jackson has thrived in a system which enables him to read defenses and respond.

For all of the discussion about the Ravens offense, their defense has quietly turned into an asset as opposed to a liability. They let 314.3 metres per game, sixth best in the league, also 18.4 points, fourth best on this season. But over the course of the 10-match win streak, the Ravens defense was in the very best in soccer. In that moment, they have held the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers each to below 20 points.

The final group to beat the Ravens, clearly, was that the Browns. (And do not think both teams are not utilizing that game as inspiration ) But because their last meeting, these groups’ seasons have diverged. The afterward 2-2 Browns, have since won four matches and lost six. The triumph over the group that would eventually become the NFL’s greatest, became a landmark second, although not at the way any groups expects. Cleveland dropped their next four matches.

Losing to a number of the league’s best teams, such as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, revealed that these Browns were not really prepared for prime-time. Baker Mayfield,” Jackson’s 2018 NFL Draft-mate, was incapable of directing the Browns from mediocrity. Any success the crime had this year appeared to be paired together with collapse. Look no farther than Mayfield’s 17 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions on the year.

Odell Beckham Jr. has allowed it to be understood that he isn’t happy, even though it feels like that the prima donna wide receiver would like to remain in Cleveland. The Browns shouldn’t be pleased , provided that the elite recipient has submitted less than topnotch amounts — 67 captures, 910 yards, 2 touchdowns.

During all of it, Nick Chubb was a great surprise though. The Browns running back leads the league in yards per game (100.6), and will be the sole back in the league averaging 100-plus yards) Whether this is sufficient in a one-dimensional crime facing one of the league’s best defenses is just another story.

As NFL On CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn lately mentioned about Cleveland,”as dysfunctional as it seems at this time, you can’t know at any time if those bits could opt to come together and have a day. Perhaps it is a quarter. Perhaps it’s only half per year, and that’s all they need to keep it near or steal a win against Baltimore,” said Washburn. “I feel that’s in the forefront of their Ravens mind. I know for true that the way that they felt then Week 4 reduction was ashamed. And that is at front of the way that they’re coming this rematch.”

Browns trainer Freddy Kichens may be playing because of his occupation. Mayfield may function too. But do not expect any sympathy from a Ravens team seeking to clinch home-field advantage during the playoffs.

The Ravens play with the Browns Sunday @ 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

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