Why the Baltimore Ravens get to control their own destiny

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 01: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 01: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens control their own destiny:

Your 2019 Baltimore Ravens are officially 10-2 for the first time in franchise history. This is coming as a result of a huge 8 game winning streak; which is also a franchise record. For an organization founded in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens have had quite a rich history in a decently short amount of time.

Ravens fans have been lucky to see two Lombardi trophies brought back to Baltimore by some true NFL legends. Players like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, and many more have set the tone for what it truly means to wear the purple and black. All that said, this current Ravens team is doing things unseen previously by not only Ravens fans, but by NFL fans all over the world.

Lamar Jackson and this run focused offense is revolutionizing the way NFL teams are attacking defenses. The top teams in the league all seem to be the teams who are able to consistently run the ball, and the clock.

The top five running teams in the NFL right now are the Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks, Colts, and Bills respectfully. These teams all have a combined record of 45-15 at the end of week 13 as Brian Baldinger points out in the tweet below.  It seems the game is changing rapidly and it is no coincidence this transformation is coming at the helm of this historical season in Baltimore.

Coming off a blowout win against the Rams in Los Angeles, the Ravens knew not to get ahead of themselves. They knew coming into Baltimore next was the NFL’s top defense in the 49ers. This is a team that matches up on paper with the Ravens explosive offense. Coming into the week as the NFL’s top pass rush, the 49ers were held to zero sacks or QB hits. San Fransisco has one of the biggest and fastest defensive lines in the league, yet they were seemingly manhandled by the Ravens’ offensive line.

Lead by Marshal Yanda, this group is having a season to remember. While Jackson’s magical footwork and ability to escape makes the job easier for them, they  never take a play off and treat every play like its fourth down. Their collective efforts in both the pass and run block are what has made the Ravens the number one running offense in the league. When you play this well on so many different levels, teams are going to want to emulate what you are doing. The future of the NFL is starting right now and the importance of a good offensive line will never be taken for granted.

The Ravens, however, use some exquisitely exotic personnel packages on both sides of the football that are difficult to imitate. Offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, and defensive coordinator, Don “Wink” Martindale, are two of the best minds in football right now and the Ravens’ record proves it. Roman is the mastermind behind this historic offense and it seems he has created a code that cannot be cracked. Meanwhile, Martindale has taken what he’s been given and turned it into a Super Bowl caliber defense.

Related Story. 2020 Mock Draft: Ravens take a wide receiver late. light

Greg Roman has many different offensive packages which include throwing some of the Ravens biggest bodies on the field all at the same time. When you add three tight ends along with a nearly 300 pound fullback, the defense needs to adjust by putting more big men on the field to compensate. Roman figures Jackson has a great chance running against eight defensive linemen and linebackers; he is yet to be proven wrong. Jackson can take anyone on the field one on one and when you only have four defensive backs on the field there are smaller odds of him being caught.

Don Martindale has been the secret weapon for the Baltimore defense since he was promoted to defensive coordinator from linebackers coach in 2018. Martindale is known for creating blitz packages that confuse opposing offensive line and get pressure on the quarterback. This aggressive defensive style can only be sustained when you have good defensive backs to play man coverage and protect the big play. This year’s Ravens defense seems to check all the boxes even though they are no longer the backbone of the team. That fact only sheds light onto how impressive this offense has been on top of it.

Playing against the then 10-1 San Francisco 49ers, this Ravens team made the NFC’s top team underdogs in what was nothing less than a fight to the end. Both of these teams seem to be  levels above the rest of the competition and this was without a doubt a game to remember. Fans on both sides were on the edges of their seats watching this heavyweight clash in the pouring rain. The 49ers took the Ravens down the field on their opening drive and scored a touchdown. An opening possession touchdown was something no team had done in Baltimore throughout this winning streak. Despite a valiant effort by the 49ers on both sides of the ball, they fell just short due to the leg of Justin Tucker in the final seconds.

Lamar Jackson had yet another game rushing over 100 yards putting him on pace to shatter the NFL quarterback record for rushing yards in a season, currently held by Michael Vick at 1,039 yards. After week 13, Lamar now has 977 and could very well overtake Vick’s record next week in Buffalo. His MVP caliber season is quickly turning into a league-shifting performance. He has the world watching his every move, yet continues to be a humble leader with his mind-set on one thing, the Super Bowl.

Overall, this performance against a very strong San Francisco team proves yet again that this Ravens team is capable of doing special things. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems the team has truly evolved as a unit into a group of guys who will all stop at nothing to achieve their goals. There are leaders everywhere you look in that locker room and the trust and love they have for one another is evident when they are on the field. Every player has a chance to make the huge play, whether it’s Jackson making a magical run, Marquise Brown catching a bomb, Chris Wormley batting a ball down, or Justin Tucker nailing yet another game winner; this team wants to win at all levels.

dark. Next. 3 big things: Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers

This team has now beaten the top teams that the NFL has to offer. Now sitting at the number one seed in the AFC, it isn’t far-fetched to say that the Ravens are now Super Bowl favorites. This final stretch, however is where the team needs to truly prove themselves. The mental aspect of the game can be overwhelming for some players, the final leg of the regular season can decide home field advantage for playoff football in January. The Ravens truly control their own destiny.