No Surprise If Ravens Make A ‘Run’

Street Talk No Surprise If Ravens Make A ‘Run’

Posted in Street Talk
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Would anyone be surprised if the Ravens advanced to the Super Bowl?

Entering the postseason, there isn’t one team that appears to be the overwhelming favorite to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

The Saints have the best chance at +250, followed by the Rams at +400, according to the Las Vegas oddsmakers. The Ravens are in the middle of the pack at +1300, ahead of the Chargers, Cowboys, Texans, Seahawks, Colts and Eagles.

Coach John Harbaugh had no interest in handicapping the wide-open field. 

“I don’t think about that. I wish I had,” he said. “I would be just making it up if I went. I haven’t thought about it at all. Sorry. That’s good. I’m glad it’s like that. Good! Good. I’m sure it will be exciting.”

Entering wild card weekend, the Bears own the largest point spread at +5.5 over the Eagles. The spread for the other three games is +2.5 with the Ravens, Colts and Cowboys all favored.  Indianapolis is the only road team expected to win. 

However, it certainly would not be shocking if the Chargers, Titans and Seahawks overcome the odds and emerged with a victory. 

The Ravens are certainly built for a deep postseason run with a dominant running that eats up the clock and is supported by the league’s No. 1 defense. 

Ravens formula for success

Baltimore heads into the postseason with momentum, capturing the AFC North. 

The biggest question is whether teams have figured out how to stop rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has gone 6-1 since taking over as the starter for the injured Joe Flacco.

Jackson leads all NFL quarterbacks with 695 yards rushing. 

“It’s been working out ever since I came here,” he said. “I fell in love with it. You just keep going forward. God blessed me.”

Harbaugh scoffed at the notion that a run-oriented offense is not sustainable. 

Cleveland head coach Gregg Williams had time to look at film and develop a strategy to slow the Ravens running attack. The Browns put an extra player in the box and the Ravens still ran for 296 yards.

Overall, the Ravens are ranked second in the league with 2,441 yards rushing behind Seattle.

“We already are sold on that, or we wouldn’t be running the offense,” Harbaugh said. “We already believe that, and this is not some fly-by-night offense. This is not something that somebody just made up in their head. This type of an offense has been around for decades and decades. The concepts have been there.

“The passing game just didn’t get invented in the past couple years. It’s been around for a while, and it’s been developed. I’m excited to see where it goes. I think our coaches have done a great job of expanding it and throwing formations and motions and different things out there that haven’t really been done before. So, that’s the creative part of it, and I’m excited to see where it goes. It’s going to be fun to see.”

The Ravens are certainly confident and several national pundits say they can beat anyone. It’s been a tumultuous season marked by ups and downs, but the coaches and players are peaking at the right time.

“We have the pieces, we have the coaches, we have the drive,” safety Eric Weddle said. “We’ve worked harder than we ever had this past offseason. People look at our defense and our team, and there’s a lot of other more talented teams out there.

“But, you look at our team, and we’re the best team. Because that’s what we are. We play for each other, we rely on each other, we have each other’s back. It’s not always the most talented team that wins, it’s the best team. It’s the best team that wins. We’re out to prove that this year.”

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich
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