By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the late afternoon window. The Packers are fighting for the number one seed while the purple and black are just trying to stop the bleeding. Who wins? How does it happen? Here are four predictions and a score:
1. The Ravens rush for 200 yards
The Baltimore Ravens will probably be without Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s backup also has the ability to impact the run game, so expect Tyler Huntley to operate a ground and pound offense. Last week, Huntley passed for 270 yards but had to play catchup from the very beginning. This week, the entire point of the offensive attack is to prevent this game from getting out of hand.
Huntley had 45 yards on the ground last week. That number will go up this week with some designed quarterback runs being sprinkled in. Give Huntley an even 100 yards on the ground. Devonta Freeman had 64 yards last week. He had 52 yards the two games before that and had 49 rushing yards against the Chicago Bears. 50-60 yards can be seen as Freeman’s standard output. Let’s say he has a good week and it’s 65 yards for the veteran back. That gets the Ravens to 165 yards rushing and, Devin Duvernay and Latavius Murray will get that number to 200.
2. Aaron Rodgers will have 300 yards in the air:
The contreversy making Packers quarterback that is Aaron Rodgers is on fire. Rodgers has four games this year with 300 yards or more passing. The last three games make three of those four tallies. Guys, he’s hitting the 300 yard mark. Against a fairly depleted secondary this seems like an inevitablity. The Ravens run defense will also factor into this equation. Aaron Jones likely won’t play in this game which means if the Ravens stop A.J. Dillon on the ground, Rodgers will have to be the big play-maker. The Ravens face a lot of challenges in this game. Rodgers is problem numero uno.
3. Ravens get out to a fast start for a change of pace:
The Ravens have nothing to lose. Nobody expects them to win. There’s pressure in the sense that a loss hurts the teams chances a bit. For the most part though, the pressure isn’t there because the expectatons are lower than usual. At this point losing the game is thought of as a formality. The Ravens can put a ton of pressure on the Packers. The Packers are expected to win – scratch that – they expect to get the win. The more of a fight this becomes, the more pressure the Packers will feel.
Assuming it’s Tyler Huntley starting for the injured Lamar Jackson, I actually love the idea of a fast start. The young and unproven quarterback has nothing to lose and a huge stage to show his worth. For the first time in weeks the effects of expectations don’t work against this team. I think you’re going to see John Harbaugh gear up for a crazy game. I think the Ravens will get up 10-0 to start this game. A touchdown drive and an early stop will boost this team into having a chance.
4. Reality will set in:
The Ravens situation will eventually catch up to them. They’re the most injured team in football. A backup quarterback is the field general for the Ravens’ offense. It looks like Chuck Clark (The field general of the defense) will miss the game. Eventually the reality of being outmatched will sink in and solidify. The Ravens will get outgunned by the Packers offense. The second half of this game, in particular the fourth quarter will be a bad thing for Ravens fans to watch. A tired and exhausted Rvens defense will start to crack. The dam will break and the Packers will prevail.
And now a score: Packers win 31-20
The Ravens haven’t put up more than 20 points in a long while. They need too much to go right for them to win a game with this hand they’re dealt. I think you need 30 points to win this game and I just can’t see the Ravens getting there.