The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers renewed their storied rivalry on Sunday afternoon, however what did we study concerning the two?
This race isn’t about November. It’s about February. It’s concerning the Lombardi Trophy.
On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens, 28-24. The result’s a commanding two-game lead within the AFC North with a smooth schedule forward. Pittsburgh followers must be thrilled, and the gamers must be proud. In any case, 7-Zero is not any joke.
But if we’re sincere with ourselves, each groups have clear points which if not mounted, will hinder them come the postseason. Each line up below heart.
Let’s begin with the Ravens. Baltimore misplaced All-Professional left sort out Ronnie Stanley for the season to a damaged ankle. This can hinder their stellar run recreation, placing extra strain on third-year quarterback Lamar Jackson to throw and throw effectively. Right here lies the issue.
In 2020, Jackson has not performed to expectations. The reigning MVP has thrown for 1,343 yards with 14 touchdowns (12 TD passes) towards 9 turnovers (4 INT, 5 fumbles). It’s nowhere close to sufficient to win, contemplating Baltimore’s run recreation has gone from historic to above-average.
Baltimore’s protection was adequate to win Sunday. It allowed 221 whole yards and compelled a turnover on the plus dimension of the sphere. The speeding assault was phenomenal, with the Ravens gaining 265 yards (5.6 YPA) with a landing. But Jackson short-circuited the assault with 4 turnovers (2 INT, 2 fumbles) together with a gap drive pick-six and two fumbles within the purple zone.
Head coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman will say the fitting issues. They’ll again Jackson. However actions matter. Within the penultimate drive trailing 28-24, Baltimore by no means threw, together with on a game-deciding 4th-and-Three. They don’t have any religion in Jackson making a throw.
Good groups will demand Jackson throw the ball exterior the numbers. They may stack the field and rob the center, taking away seam routes to tight finish Mark Andrews and quick-hitters beneath to backs and receivers. His movie calls for that therapy. Jackson must make aggressive throws in man-to-man conditions on the surface. Thus far, he hasn’t finished so almost sufficient.
The protection is implausible, even after getting gashed for 265 speeding yards. The accidents to defensive linemen Tyson Alualu and Cam Heyward are regarding, however we’re unsure their standing.
With out query, the protection is sweet sufficient to spearhead a title run. The offense shouldn’t be.
Towards Baltimore, Ben Roethlisberger continued his alarming development of throwing brief and making minimal affect performs. After present process severe elbow surgical procedure final 12 months, the 38-year-old has come again and finished effectively to keep away from turnovers, however there’s been little extra to his recreation.
Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,628 yards on 6.6 YPA. The latter determine ranks 29th amongst quarterbacks with not less than 50 makes an attempt.
It’s wonderful to be complimentary to a dominant protection, however and not using a +Three turnover ratio on Sunday, is there an inexpensive perception Roethlisberger finds a option to beat Baltimore? In seven video games this 12 months, the longer term Corridor of Famer has one 300-yard recreation and nary a single day averaging Eight.Zero YPA.
The weapons are there for Roethlisberger, however the private outcomes haven’t been. Whereas 7-Zero is the important thing determine and rightfully so, there are purple flags.
This time of 12 months is about clues for contenders. Pittsburgh is in higher form than Baltimore, however the quarterbacks are a big concern for each groups.
High10 remaining video games within the common season
1. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 12
2. Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 12 (Thanksgiving)
Three. Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts, Week 12
four. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs at New Orleans Saints, Week 15
5. Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks, Week 16
6. Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Payments, Week 14 (SNF)
7. Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, Week 11
Eight. Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 11
9. Tennessee Titans at Inexperienced Bay Packers, Week 16 (SNF)
10. New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 9
“I’m doing this job to win, to not exit and get my face stomped in identical to all the remainder of the fellows within the locker room.”
– New York Jets head coach Adam Gase after shedding 35-9 to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium
The Jets are Zero-Eight and obtained throttled by the defending champs on Sunday. The worst half about Gase’s job, although, is within the particulars. Towards Kansas Metropolis, New York was trailing 21-9 early within the third quarter, going through 4th-and-6 at its personal 21-yard line.
The Chiefs jumped and the Jets got the choice of accepting the five-yard penalty and probably going for a 4th-and-1. Gase determined to tack the yardage onto the punt. Sure, it’s a danger, however the Jets are Zero-7. Take a shot.
Gase coaches scared, the Jets play timid, and the top result’s a comically unhealthy group.
From their inception in 1920 by way of the 2007 season, the Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals hosted one playoff contest (1947 NFL Championship Recreation).
Data realized this week
1. The Packers might need some actual issues brewing
Within the shocker of Sunday, Inexperienced Bay was dealt with by the Minnesota Vikings, 28-22, at Lambeau Subject. The result’s robust contemplating the race for home-field within the NFC. Nonetheless, a better look reveals even greater issues for the Packers.
Inexperienced Bay got here into the lean ranked 22nd in yards per rush towards (four.6). Minnesota went for 173 speeding yards and three scores on 5.1 yards per carry. The Packers additionally ranked 24th defensively on yards per try (7.Eight). Kirk Cousins went for 11.four YPA regardless of hideous climate situations.
Briefly, the protection isn’t stopping both part with consistency.
Subsequent week, Inexperienced Bay has a Thursday night time highway affair with the banged-up San Francisco 49ers and Kyle Shanahan’s good schemes. Everyone seems to be speaking concerning the dearth of receiving weapons past Davante Adams. The most important situation, although, is the dearth of a defensive identification.
2. Russell Wilson continues his tour de pressure as Seahawks widen in NFC West
4 extra touchdowns and one other dominant win for Russell Wilson and his Seahawks.
In beating San Francisco 37-27, Seattle ran its file to 6-1 whereas Wilson obtained his passing landing whole to 26, placing him on tempo for a staggering 55.
By eight weeks (and 7 video games), Wilson is clearly the MVP favourite. Solely Patrick Mahomes is even within the dialog, pacing for four,600 yards, 42 landing passes and solely two interceptions. Nonetheless, the 2020 season has belonged to Wilson up to now.
With the victory, Seattle strikes a full recreation forward of the idle Cardinals, whereas pushing the result in 1.5 video games on the Rams and a pair of.5 video games over the 49ers.
Whereas the protection is a large number, it did play higher on Sunday. San Francisco managed 27 factors however held Jimmy Garoppolo to 84 passing yards and a decide earlier than he left damage within the fourth quarter. Moreover, the Niners vaunted floor recreation churned out a dismal 52 yards on 2.four yards per carry. It’s a begin.
Three. Tua struggles, however Dolphins win attributable to Rams’ errors
Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut, and the Miami Dolphins ran their successful streak to a few with a 28-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Regardless of the rating, Tagovailoa was largely underwhelming. He accomplished 12-of-22 throws for 93 yards with a landing, interception and misplaced fumble. He was poor, however it didn’t matter. Extremely, the Rams outgained the Dolphins 471-145, however a pair of non-offensive scores and 4 turnovers doomed the guests.
General, Miami’s longest drive went or 33 yards. It’s laborious to imagine Ryan Fitzpatrick would have been so ineffective. Sure, the Dolphins try to work in a participant who they imagine is the longer term. Nonetheless, they’re within the thick of a playoff chase, buoyed by a stable protection and the superb teaching of Brian Flores. If Tagovailoa tanks their hopes, the locker room will justifiably really feel burned. Watch out.
four. Bengals exhibiting why they may very well be a spoiler; Titans have key situation
The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-5-1. They may simply have a successful file.
Cincinnati isn’t a great group, however it’s a really aggressive one. Towards the favored Titans, Joe Burrow went for 249 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-20 win. This regardless of being with out star working again Joe Mixon and three beginning offensive linemen. Exterior of a 27-Three loss to the Ravens just a few weeks in the past, Cincinnati has both received or loss by one rating.
Transferring ahead, the Bengals play the Steelers twice, have a rematch with Baltimore and see the Dolphins in Miami. Cincinnati received’t be a simple out for any of them.
In the meantime, the Titans have main defensive points. They’ve been lingering all 12 months however had been shoved apart for the primary 5 video games as a result of Tennessee overcame them. Towards Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the Titans have surrendered a mixed 23-of-33 third-down conversions, contributing to the league’s worst protection in stated conditions.
If the Titans can’t get off the sphere, they’ll have a troublesome time holding off the Colts within the AFC South.
5. Payments weren’t spectacular, however Pats’ dynasty is lifeless
It’s throughout for the New England Patriots.
After shedding 24-21 to Buffalo, Invoice Belichick’s group is 2-5 and with out hope of a turnaround. The protection is respectable, the offense is dormant, and Cam Newton isn’t going to instantly uncover his 2015 MVP type.
With the NFL commerce deadline looming on Tuesday, the Patriots have to be aggressive sellers. Shed cap area, achieve draft capital and begin rebuilding for a life with out Tom Brady.
As for Buffalo, Josh Allen must be higher. Over the previous 4 video games, Allen has thrown 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions whereas averaging 211.5 passing yards per recreation on 6.5 yards per try. Not wherever close to adequate, particularly with the protection struggling mightily.
Nonetheless, the win primarily finishes off New England whereas placing the Payments in nice place because the schedule will get more durable. Over their closing eight video games, there are dates with the Seahawks, Cardinals, 49ers, Steelers, Patriots (highway) and Dolphins (house). Even nonetheless, the AFC East goes by way of western New York with out query.
The Los Angeles Chargers meet the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, with the Raiders attempting to additional playoff hopes after beating Cleveland.
Los Angeles opens as a 2.5-point favourite, and whereas Los Angeles has a high quality roster, take the group that doesn’t self-destruct each week.
On Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers. It was a vivid spot in one other darkish season.
Sadly for Atlanta followers, the highway to competition stands to be a really lengthy one.
With the NFL commerce deadline on Tuesday, you’ll hear numerous individuals pine for Matt Ryan and/or Julio Jones to be dealt. In actuality, ample lifeless cash on each offers makes both transfer just about unimaginable. And that’s the place we begin with the Falcons’ scenario. Atlanta has $1.9 million of accessible rollover cap area for 2021, which is sweet information till you notice, it’s projected to be $25 million over the edge subsequent 12 months.
Getting below the cap received’t be straightforward. There are just a few straightforward cost-cutting choices (security Ricardo Allen and defensive lineman Allen Bailey — netting $10.7M) however it’ll in any other case come largely from restructures and small extensions.
The wanting it: the Falcons don’t have any cap area, an growing old core and little defensive expertise.
Whoever completely replaces Dan Quinn might be in for a problem.
Contained in the league
Everybody is aware of the Chiefs for his or her abundance of superstars. But it’s a trio of rookies who might spell the distinction come January and February.
After touchdown three essential contributors the 2019 draft class for the Tremendous Bowl group in receiver/returner Mecole Hardman, security Juan Thornhill and nook Rashad Fenton, Kansas Metropolis normal supervisor Brett Veach seems to have finished it once more.
This time, it’s first-round working again Clyde Edwards-Helaire, linebacker Willie Homosexual and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. In accordance with a supply, Sneed, who broke his collarbone Week Three, has an honest shot to return after Kansas Metropolis’s Week 10 bye.
Earlier than being injured, Sneed had a pair of interceptions and posted a 69.Three Professional Soccer Focus grade. Internally, as reported by FanSided, Sneed was seen as a star of coaching camp. It has translated, and if the previous Louisiana Tech star can return and regain his type, he provides vital expertise to a cross protection that entered Sunday as No. 5 in DVOA.
In the meantime, Edwards-Helaire has been implausible, speeding for 572 yards and totaling 776 yards from scrimmage. These figures rank third and fourth amongst all NFL gamers. As soon as the climate grows colder and Kansas Metropolis goals to guard playoff leads, his worth solely will increase.
Lastly, keep watch over Homosexual. The Mississippi State product was thought by the Chiefs to be a uncooked expertise. Nonetheless, after spending the primary three video games primarily on particular groups (solely logging 15 whole defensive snaps), Homosexual is seeing the sphere way more just lately.
Up to now 4 weeks previous the Jets recreation, Homosexual took 100 snaps. Final week towards the Denver Broncos, Homosexual eclipsed the 50 % mark for the primary time. He’s a rangy linebacker who can cowl in area, one thing Kansas Metropolis was sorely lacking.
Historical past lesson
The New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears performed at Soldier Subject on Sunday. They’ve had some historic conferences there prior to now.
For starters, the 2006 NFC Championship Recreation pitted the 2 foes towards each other, which Rex Grossman and the Monsters of the Halfway rising victorious. In 1990, the Saints turned the primary No. 6 seed to play a postseason recreation in NFC historical past attributable to playoff enlargement, shedding 16-6 to Chicago within the bitter chilly.
Then there was 1984. On an October afternoon, Walter Payton rushed into the file books abasing the Saints, breaking Jim Brown’s profession mark for yards on the bottom.
Sufficient with the NFC East already. Please, NFL, cease.
On Sunday night time, we had been handled to a different epic between two horrible groups within the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Tomorrow, the nation will get to churn its abdomen earlier than Election Day by watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers biblically punish the New York Giants.
In lower than a month, we’re blessed with the Washington Soccer Staff taking up Dallas at JerryWorld on Thanksgiving afternoon. It’ll be all we will do to maintain the stuffing and gravy down.
Beginning Week 9 and excluding the Turkey Day matchup, we’re caught with two extra stinkers:
- Philadelphia-Seattle, MNF, Week 12
- Dallas-Baltimore, TNF, Week 13
Each of these video games aren’t versatile. Nonetheless, the Week 15 tilt on Sunday Night time Soccer between Dallas and San Francisco is. Markets be damned, flex the sport out for one thing which received’t have a double-digit unfold. Trying on the docket, the Chiefs and Saints on the Superdome is a no brainer.
For years, the NFC East and its 4 large markets have at all times been jammed into primetime. It wants to finish. Market dimension doesn’t matter within the NFL. Rankings come regardless.
Want proof? Evaluate the numbers of Kansas Metropolis and Inexperienced Bay — a small-market group and the smallest market — in primetime. Works simply wonderful.