Lamar Jackson and the Ravens (4-1) have a big test on Sunday as they welcome Justin Herbert and the Chargers (4-1) to M&T Bank Stadium in what is sure to be an electric battle.
It’s a matchup of red-hot offenses. Herbert and the Bolts put up 47 points against the Cleveland Browns last week, pushing their average to a massive 28 points per game. The Ravens are averaging 27.2 ppg themselves, so it’s time to get your popcorn ready.
According to the bookmakers, the Ravens are favored to win this matchup by three points. While Los Angeles shouldn’t be an underdog to anyone, there are some interesting insights to give Ravens backers some confidence.
After the Heisman trophy, unanimous MVP, and hot start in 2021, it seems Jackson is a QB after all. Monday night, Jackson recorded the highest completion percentage in NFL history (86%) for a quarterback with over 40 pass attempts. In the comeback win over the Colts, he accounted for 504 total yards, 442 of them passing. After leading touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and OT of 75, 78, 75 and 68 yards, Indy fans are still crying.
The performance wasn’t even out of the ordinary for the QB. He’s led his team to take fourth-quarter leads in four of their five games this season. He currently ranks fifth in passing yards, ahead of Pat Mahomes, Kyler Murray and Josh Allen, and has a higher completion percentage (67.9%) than Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
Oh, and he’s the league’s EIGHTH LEADING RUSHER. Jackson is the walking, or should we say running, definition of a dual-threat, capital Q, Quarterback.
Jackson’s ascendence in the passing game has not only silenced the doubters, but it has helped the Baltimore run game as well. Even with season ending injuries to their top 3 RBs on the depth chart, the Ravens are fourth in the league in rush yards per game (148.8). Making a defense respect the deep ball will do that.
The Chargers rush defense can’t stop a runny nose (joke courtesy of my father). They allow a league-worst 157.6 yards per game. Nick Chubb, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Tony Pollard all racked up over 100 yards on the ground against Bosa and the Bolts. Stat to note: Jackson sports an 18-4 win/loss record at home in his short career.
Baltimore’s ability to beat teams with either the run or the pass has made this offense almost unstoppable. Jackson vs. Herbert is appointment television, but Los Angeles’ Achilles heel might just be what the Ravens do best. Those leaning Baltimore -3 will do so for one reason and one reason only: Jackson = not just a quarterback, but THE quarterback.