By Chris Schisler
Lamar Jackson is going to put up some big numbers in the 2021 season. In 2019 he was the NFL MVP. In 2020 he became the first quarterback with multiple 1,000 yard rushing seasons. The big things are the expectation with Jackson. What will he do in 2021?
Last season Jackson had less than 3,000 yards passing. So let’s focus on passing yards first. This is the biggest thing every Ravens fan wants to know about. How does the passing attack change? Jackson is going to throw it more in the 2021 season. We kind of already know that. The Ravens added a lot to the receiving group, they brought in Keith Williams and Tee Martin. They have a vision for what they want to do, it’s not a secret.
The Ravens will still have games where they can roll over their opponent with the ground game. The offense is going to be more balanced but the fundamental idea is the same. Adding 100 passing attempts from a year ago seems like a bit much. Let’s go with 60 more passing attempts. That would be 35 more attempts than his MVP season, where he led the league in touchdown passes.
This equates to roughly 26 passing attempts per game. Basically, we’re looking at three to five extra passes a game. I have been saying this for a while, incremental and believable change, not wide-sweeping change.
Two seasons in a row Jackson has completed at least 64 percent of his passes. Knowing this and based on the 60 extra passes theory, we’re looking at let’s say 280 completed passes. That’s almost 40 more completions than in the 2020 season. Jackson had 265 completions in 2019, and he had 3,127 yards in the air. He has better talent around him now and he’s a little more experienced. Let’s put him down for 3,500 yards as a passer.
MVP level with Passing touchdowns:
Jackson had a league-leading 36 touchdowns in the air in 2019. He had 10 fewer passing touchdowns last season. More yards, more weapons, more passing, means more passing touchdowns. Let’s go with a career-high of 40 passing touchdowns for Jackson. The Ravens mastering the deep shots down the field will allow this number to get a bit higher. The extra game on the schedule doesn’t hurt. This season could be a return to MVP form for Jackson. 40 passing touchdowns is a way to showcase that.
Lamar Jackson’s Rushing yards:
If things go the way I have predicted, Jackson doesn’t need to do as much with his legs. I still think he hovers around the 1,000-yard mark, though this is the season he’ll come up short. You’re still going to see a lot of designed runs. He’s still going to make things happen when he has to. Jackson had 159 rushes last year. We’re getting well over 100 rushing attempts from Jackson if he stays healthy. It’s a huge part of this offense.
Still, rushing attempts will go down when Jackson doesn’t need to overdo it with his legs. Look for his rushing attempts to go down from 159 to about 140. If Jackson has his career-high of 6.9 yards per rushing attempt, he can get 966 yards in 140 attempts. That sounds about right. Jackson can get 1,000 yards on the ground for the third straight season. The point of this offseason may have been to make sure he doesn’t need to do so.
Total production for Lamar Jackson
When it comes to rushing touchdowns, let’s give Jackson his third straight year with seven. That will be 4,466 total yards and 47 total touchdowns. If you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan, you have to be good with numbers like that.
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If Jackson has this kind of a season, there is no reason the Ravens shouldn’t be one of the top seeds in the AFC playoffs. Look for Jackson to win his second NFL MVP award.