The Baltimore Ravens will play their first playoff game of the season next weekend after securing a first-round bye as the top-seeded team in the AFC. With a season record of 13-4, they have surpassed almost every other team, despite the absence of key players like Tight End Mark Andrews and Wide Receiver Devin Duvernay.
Lamar Jackson played like a combination of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, capping off an MVP-worthy season. The defense has caused devastating damage to opposing offenses.
This certainly seems like the year the Ravens could win it all for the first time since the days of Joe Flacco. But upon closer inspection, could it be too good to be true for the Ravens‘ Super Bowl chances?
While the Ravens had an extra week to prepare, the rest of the league was fighting to keep their Super Bowl dreams alive. No one needs more time in the playoffs than Lamar Jackson and Odell Beckham Jr.
Jackson’s divisional round record stands at 0-2. After six seasons in the NFL, he seems to be mirroring Dak Prescott in the postseason. So far in his playoff career, Jackson has thrown five interceptions, been sacked 19 times, and thrown three touchdown passes. While he may lack playoff experience, it’s worth noting that CJ Stroud of the Texans has even less experience in the playoffs.
Then there’s Odell Beckham Jr. He has been in the league for 10 years and has only been to the playoffs three times, for a total playoff record of 4-1. While he could potentially earn a Super Bowl ring with the Rams this year, he missed last year’s Super Bowl due to a torn ACL. Will he be the reliable veteran the Ravens need, or will he continue his playoff career inconsistency?
„Everyone knows how the Super Bowl ended for me,“ said Beckham. „It’s been a long two and a half years, so everything is coming down to this.“
The Ravens find themselves in a unique position, having everything to lose but also the opportunity to be great. They are well-equipped to go all the way for the first time in a long while. Perhaps Jackson and his teammates just need a chance to prove themselves.
Even if they prove themselves, they will face either Kansas City or Buffalo in the next round, two teams also vying for their spot in the championship, whether it’s to repeat as champions or secure their first Super Bowl victory.
The Ravens still have a lot to prove, but against the Texans, it should be an easy win. However, cautious optimism is warranted based on the numbers.