NFL Picks Week Eight, AFC North Teams Playoff Bound? (Video)


Oct 19, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) is congratulated by wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. (89) after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Lunchtime Links, where we round up all the latest Ravens news from around the web for your convenient consumption.  Today we look at some NFL picks for week eight, why fast starts have been a key to the Raven’s recent success, debate what AFC North teams are playoff bound, why the secondary loves a good pass rush, and John Harbaugh doesn’t think the team is good enough yet.

NFL Picks Week Eight

"Week 7 brought with it even more surprises than usual in the NFL.The 1-4 St. Louis Rams stunned the suddenly reeling Seattle Seahawks. The previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t just get a victory; they rolled the Cleveland Browns.It just goes to show that anything can happen in the NFL.Of course, the stunners and upsets don’t make it one bit easier to predict a given week’s games, but that doesn’t stop the esteemed National Lead and Division Lead Writers at Bleacher Report from giving it the old college try.More from Ebony BirdWill Baltimore Ravens be rewarded for risky Lamar Jackson decision?The Baltimore Ravens Big GambleRavens Super Bowl odds present fascinating insight on Lamar Jackson’s futureShould Baltimore Ravens be interested in this recently released WRDo the Baltimore Ravens have serious interest in this free agent wide out?"

Fast Starts Key to Raven’s Success

"In their last two games, the Ravens have scored a touchdown on their opening drive. After being plagued by slow starts last season, the Ravens have placed emphasis on starting fast since the start of offseason minicamps.In practice, the offense simulates the opening drive against the first-team defense. Most of the Ravens’ first-quarter play calling has been predetermined prior to the game. Joe Flacco believes that approach is helping."

What AFC North Teams Will Make the Playoffs?

"The AFC North has been one of the most competitive divisions in football this season. While the Cincinnati Bengals started off the year undefeated going into Week 5, it’s the Baltimore Ravens who are at the top of the division heading into Week 8.How many teams from the AFC North can make the playoffs? Which team can have a deeper run in the playoffs?Watch as Adam Lefkoe breaks down the division with Bleacher Report NFL Analysts Jonathan Vilma and Chris Simms in the video above."

The Secondary Loves a Good Pass Rush

"The Ravens have dialed up the pass rush the past couple of weeks, with a total of 10 sacks and two dozen quarterback hits against Tampa Bay and Atlanta.Putting all that pressure on the quarterback has taken pressure off the defensive backs, whose job becomes much easier when there’s no time for a quarterback to make a read or a throw.Elvis Dumervil and Pernell McPhee each had two sacks against Atlanta, and Terrell Suggs added one that resulted in a safety."

John Harbaugh Doesn’t Think Ravens are Good Enough

"The Ravens are red hot.After commanding victories over the Falcons and Buccaneers in back-to-back weeks, the Ravens (5-2) are suddenly sitting atop the AFC North with a critical game looming against the Cincinnati Bengals.Winning by at least three touchdowns in consecutive games has the Ravens creeping back into the national conversation, but Head Coach John Harbaugh isn’t interested in celebrating anything right now.“We have a lot of football left to play, and we’re not a good enough football team right now to accomplish the things that we plan on accomplishing,” he said Monday. “The ball is in our court and we need to go get that done.”"