The Baltimore Ravens are one of the best NFL teams in 2019, leading the AFC North Division. But how did they get here? No one can deny that Baltimore is a legit Super Bowl contender at this point. There’s also one other thing no Ravens player can deny: the single force most responsible for the team’s success so far.
The Baltimore Ravens’ 2019 season
Through eight games, the Ravens are 6-2. Here are Baltimore’s results so far:
- Ravens 59, Dolphins 10
- Ravens 23, Cardinals 17
- Chiefs 33, Ravens 28
- Browns 40, Ravens 25
- Ravens 26, Steelers 23 (OT)
- Ravens 23, Bengals 17
- Ravens 30, Seahawks 16
- Ravens 37, Patriots 20
Other than a two-game dip during the middle of the first half against the Chiefs and Browns — one of the AFC’s best teams and a division rival respectively — the Ravens look great.
An opening season destruction of the hapless Dolphins set the tone and should’ve been an indicator of things to come. After all, blowouts of that magnitude in the NFL rarely happen.
The Ravens’ biggest offensive producers so far have been quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Mark Ingram. Jackson has 12 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns while Ingram has rushed for 585 yards and seven touchdowns.
The highlight of the Raven’s 2019 season
So far, the highlight of the Ravens’ season has to be their Week 9 victory over New England. Entering the game, the Patriots were undefeated at 8-0 on top of being the defending Super Bowl champions. Despite coming off a playoff appearance last season, the Ravens could hardly consider themselves as AFC favorites.
Now? This may have changed. The victory over New England was fairly decisive at 37-20. The Ravens ran out to a 17-0 lead to start the game, shocking the vaunted New England defense. They sealed the win with a Jackson touchdown run late in the fourth.
Jackson finished with 163 yards passing and two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground. It was also a primetime, nationally-televised game, meaning it drew a lot of attention. This win over New England establishes Baltimore as the team to beat in the AFC.
The one thing every Ravens player can agree on
Of course, football is a team game, and successful seasons are built with 53-man rosters coming together and every player contributing. But in the Ravens’ case, one player clearly deserves more credit than anyone else.
One thing every Ravens player can agree on is that Jackson is the team’s MVP and driving force so far. Jackson can dominate the game with his arm through the air or with his legs on the ground. The versatile attack makes the Baltimore offense difficult to predict and almost impossible to defend.
According to Pro Football Talk, two of the Ravens’ most respected players, Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram, had glowing remarks about Jackson following the win over New England.
“All starts with Lamar. Lamar runs the show,” veteran safety Earl Thomas said. “You better be in great shape when you play us, because Lamar’s gonna wear you down, mentally and physically.” Running back Mark Ingram may have summed it up perfectly, “Lamar the dude.”
It’s unclear how far the Ravens will go in the postseason this year. But one thing’s for sure: They’ll likely only go as far as Jackson’s arm and legs can carry them.