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Bold Predictions: Taming The Cats!

Ravens v. Panthers
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Riding a three-game winning streak, the Baltimore Ravens (6-3) host the Carolina Panthers (3-7) for an inter-conference battle at M&T Bank Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff). Coming off a Week 10 bye, the Ravens have won four of their past five games and will play their fifth home game of the season (2-2 record thus far).

The Ravens are (2-4) vs. Carolina in the all-time series, including a (1-1) mark in Baltimore. Under head coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore is (2-1) against the Panthers, last winning a 38-10 contest at M&T Bank Stadium in 2014 (the last time the two teams played in Charm City).

Under head coach John Harbaugh (since 2008), Baltimore is 11-3 in games immediately following a bye. This .786 winning percentage ties Indianapolis for the NFL’s second-best such mark during this span. Since their 1996 inception, the Ravens are 18-8 in games immediately following a bye, ranking as the league’s second-best record (.692). Philly (.704) is first at 19-8. The Ravens are currently listed as 13 point favorites.

So what will happen after 2022’s bye?

Tony Lombardi

The Ravens will dress for just the second time in the past 24 days when they take the field against the Panthers on Sunday. They’ll be looking for their fourth consecutive win to advance to (7-3) on the season and remain atop the AFC North. This is a time of year when the Ravens shine in the comfortable confines of M&T Bank Stadium. Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens are (24-6) in November home games, producing the NFL’s second-best such record. The Ravens have won 22 of their past 27 home games during the calendar’s eleventh month. Here’s how things will go down on Sunday…

Lamar Jackson will continue his recent string of clean games and protect the football, contributing to the Ravens +2 turnover differential. On the heels of Lamar’s legs and those of his backfield mates the Ravens will possess the football for 38 of the game’s 60 minutes as they grind out 210 yards on the ground against Carolina’s 25th ranked rushing defense. Lamar will take credit for 80 of those yards, 22 of which will come on a scramble for a score. Lamar will also throw for a score to Patrick Ricard from inside the 5-yard line. Lamar will throw for 195 yards.

Kenyan Drake and Gus Edwards will combine for 120 yards. Gus will touch pay dirt twice. The balance of the 210 rushing total (10 yards) will be credited to Devin Duvernay on a jet sweep for a first down on 3rd-and-3.

James Proche will be the Ravens leading receiver with 5 catches for 52 yards. Lamar will distribute the ball to seven different receivers during his modest 25 attempts.

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• D’Onta Foreman rushed for 130 rushing yards and a touchdown on 31 carries against the Falcons last week. He has eclipsed the century mark in three of his past four games, the exception being against the Bengals when he was held to 23 yards on 7 carries while the Panthers were in catch up mode. Sunday will be more of the same as Foreman manages just 37 yards on 12 carries, 25 of which come on a touchdown gallop early in the game that delivers a measure of hope to the visitors.

Justin Houston keeps his hot hand going. He’ll take down Baker MayfieldOdafe Oweh, Tyus Bowser, Justin Madubuike and David Ojabo (welcome to the NFL) get in on the sack party as well. Sam Darnold will enter the game in relief of Mayfield and move the team more efficiently than his 2018 first-round draft classmate.

• The Panthers will be held to under 120 yards of offense in the first half. They’ll manage to eclipse 300 yards of offense, most of which will come in mop up time while playing from well behind. D.J. Moore makes Ravens fans ponder “what if” throughout the contest as he manages 110 yards receiving to go with a fourth quarter score. But it won’t be enough.

The Ravens win, cover the 13 point number, the total goes over 44 and Bradley Bozeman feels homesick, especially after Travis Jones knocks him on his ass.

Ravens 31, Panthers 17

[Related Article: Ravens Hot Takes]

Ron Toothe

I don’t expect a close ballgame on Sunday when the Carolina Panthers come to town. Famous last words? Perhaps, but the Panthers got their mandatory inspirational “let’s go get one for the interim head coach” win last week, now it’s time for a return to reality.

The Ravens are coming off a bye after playing their best football of the year over the two games prior, and they’re only getting healthier by the day. The Panthers meanwhile, still have a major question mark at the quarterback position and are firmly focused on 2023 and beyond after trading away star running back Christian McCaffrey.

It’s entirely possible that this game is close, but after thinking that way heading into New Orleans and seeing the way the Ravens decimated them on their own turf, it’s tough for me to imagine that Carolina would provide any tougher of a challenge, save for the “any given Sunday” argument.

I don’t predict there to be offensive fireworks left and right either, just a full four-quarter performance where the Ravens flex their muscle as the clearly more talented football team.

Ravens 27 Panthers 13

Chris Schisler

The Ravens should be expected to beat the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers were big sellers at the trade deadline, they have an interim head coach in Steve Wilks, and they face a Ravens team that is on a roll. The Ravens are going for their fourth straight win, and they’re going to get it.

The Ravens will control this game with their most efficient offensive showing since of the year. They’ll hog the ball and limit the chances that Baker Mayfield has with the football. With the Ravens’ offense churning out first downs and winning the time of possession battle, every drive will be crucial for Carolina. The Ravens’ defense will force two turnovers and be completely stifling.

The Ravens will pick up where they left off before the bye week. It won’t be a perfect game yet the Ravens will lead the game wire to wire. Lamar Jackson will have his most polished performance yet he won’t need huge numbers in the air to win this game. Here are some fun predictions…

• The Ravens will run for 240 yards as a team but only have one rushing touchdown.

• Lamar Jackson will have 80 of those rushing yards.

• Jackson will hit Devin Duvernay for a 40-yard touchdown pass.

• The Ravens will force two turnovers: a fumble and a pick.

Isaiah Likely will have six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Justin Houston and Odafe Oweh both have two sacks.

• The Ravens’ defense will score a touchdown.

• Put the Ravens down for a big win.

Ravens 31 Panthers 10

Rob Shields

If the Ravens are ready to lift off, this week should be the start of it.

The Panthers have some pieces that can hurt you but overall, the Ravens should dominate them.

I’m expecting the defense to take over and the run game to do big things.

If the Ravens don’t start to dominate these teams, with the schedule they have, I think we have to wonder about the viability of the club in January.

Ravens 34 Panthers 13

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Kevin McNelis

The term “back with a vengeance” comes to mind.

The Ravens went into their BYE with back-to-back wins against NFC South opponents, and now face a third with some reinforcements hopefully on the way. Baltimore is eager to prove that they belong in the conversation as a true contender emerging from the AFC, and unfortunately for Carolina, they’re standing in the way.

• The Ravens defense builds on a strong performance against the Saints and wreaks havoc all afternoon. Baker Mayfield is sacked 5 times and commits two turnovers as a result of the pressure.

• With the departure of Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers have gotten a surprisingly solid performance from D’Onta Foreman as the next man up. He’ll have some nice runs throughout the day and find the end zone once, but will register less than 60 total yards.

• On the flip side, the Ravens run game is going to dog-walk this Panthers defense. Kenyan Drake will rack up over 100 rushing yards, and Lamar will add at least 75 of his own.

• For fun… Kyle Hamilton jumps a route on a rushed swing pass to the outside and records a pick-6.

Ravens 31 Panthers 13

Derek Arnold

A game coming off a bye against a team like this would typically spell domination and a 20+ point win. While I think this Ravens team is just as good as – or better than – teams that have historically won these types of games 34-6, I just have a hard time seeing it in the 2022 NFL. It isn’t just “any given Sunday” things happening, it’s…something else. You’ll be watching a good team beat around a lesser opponent and on their way to a cakewalk and then, like that, something changes. I won’t get into any conspiracy theories or anything like that, I’m just…saying.

With that in mind, I expect more stress than needed on Sunday. It’ll be 13-13 at halftime before the Ravens run game takes control in the second half for two more touchdowns, and a Marcus Peters pick sets up a Justin Tucker shorty to seal it.

Ravens 30 Panthers 20

Chad Racine

The Ravens seem to be poised for big things in the second half of the season, coming off a three-game win streak and looking good on both sides of the ball. Not to mention the schedule is very favorable including this game. That’s what worries me though. The Ravens will almost certainly lose another game or more that they are not expected to.

Marlon Humphrey will force Terrace Marshall Jr. to fumble out of the slot and Roquan Smith will recover it.

• Justin Houston will only have one sack, breaking his three-game multiple sack streak.

D.J. Moore will score a touchdown.

• Lamar Jackson will rush for more yards than all of Carolina.

Demarcus Robinson will have a touchdown reception. Lamar makes it up to Robinson for his errant passes last game.

Derrick Brown will sack Lamar Jackson and have a tackle for loss.

Ravens 20 Panthers 13

Nikhil Mehta

The Ravens have historically taken care of business against bad teams with unreliable QBs, and I expect the same from them this weekend. This defense is heating up, and the Panthers have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL.

• Roquan Smith records his first turnover as a Ravens.

• Isaiah Likely continues his breakout with another 50 yards and a touchdown.

Justice Hill scores his first touchdown of the year.

• The Ravens rush for over 200 yards…

• …and Lamar Jackson finally houses a 20+ yard TD run.

• The Panthers offense surprises the Ravens at first and Baker Mayfield throws for 150 yards and a TD in the first half, but finishes with two turnovers and fewer than 250 passing yards

• The Ravens lose the first quarter, but rally quickly to take control of the game by halftime. Second-half keep-away produces a double-digit win for Baltimore coming out of the bye.

Ravens 27 Panthers 13

Brennan Stewart

The Baltimore Ravens are facing their third-straight NFC opponent this weekend… this time it’s the Carolina Panthers who have allowed the 4th-most yards to opponents this season (3,624). With QB Baker Mayfield at the helm of an offense that has been very dependent on quarterback performance, the Panthers will either make or break early in the game. Here’s how things might play out in what should be a breezy home-game for Baltimore:

• Devin Duvernay as WR1 will play out well against a shaky Carolina secondary that has allowed 15 receiving touchdowns so far this season. With Mark Andrews facing the possibility of missing time on Sunday, Duvernay will be heavily relied on in the passing game. He is in store for his most productive game yet, in which he will surpass 55 passing yards with at least a single touchdown.

• Baker Mayfield will underperform on offense thanks to the pressure of Baltimore’s talented linebacker corps. Justin Houston, Patrick Queen, and Roquan Smith will combine for four sacks, tying with the 49ers defense who sacked Mayfield four times in week five.

• Mayfield’s number one target on offense will be WR D.J. Moore, who will struggle against what is arguably the toughest secondary he has faced so far this year. Moore will have his third straight week in which he finishes with under 30 yards.

• An interception from Baker Mayfield will be thrown on one of the Panthers’ first two drives.

• D’Onta Foreman will have Carolina’s only touchdown.

Ravens 24 Panthers 10

Darin McCann

Coming off a bye, against an inferior opponent at home, it would be easy to fall into a trap that this will be an easy game for the Ravens.

Well, I’m in that trap. I think this one will be fairly easy. Let’s take a look at some predictions:

• Carolina ranks 29th in offensive DVOA, and the Ravens’ defense is improving by the week, seemingly. I think they suffocate the Panthers on that side of the ball — limiting them to under 250 yards of offense on the day.

• However, Carolina is much better on defense, ranking 25th on that side of the ball. Did the “Sarcasm” font come through on that? They stink on defense, too. The Ravens post more than 425 yards of offense.

• The Ravens will rush for more than 250 yards, led by Lamar Jackson’s 112.

• Devin Duvernay scores two different ways — on a rushing touchdown and a long reception.

• Odafe Oweh, say it with me, gets two sacks. One day this will be right. Stick with me.

Ravens 30 Panthers 6

Adam Bonaccorsi

Ravens post bye game? Against a notably lesser opponent? At home? As they get healthier?

Confidence should be at an all time high as the Ravens start the second half of their season.

• Lamar Jackson has a modest game through the air with 215 pass yards and a pass touchdown to Duvernay. He’ll add in another 65 on the ground with a rushing touchdown as well.

• Isaiah Likely leads all receivers with 85 yards, while Drake snaps off 130 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on the day (and gets a nod for ground player of the week too)

• Ravens defense forces 4 turnovers on a cold ass day in Baltimore. 2 Baker picks (Hamilton & Peters) and 2 Baker fumbles (Houston & Oweh FF).

• The combo of Houston/Oweh/Clark lead to 4 sacks on the day for Baltimore

• 4 TDs. 4 TOs. 4 sacks. Ravens play a complete no-nonsense game, and skate through most of the second half

Ravens 34 Panthers 17

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