The Baltimore Ravens are the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl. There is no denying it at this point. Over the past month, the Ravens have faced four opponents fighting for playoff positioning. After surviving the Los Angeles Rams in overtime, Baltimore has systematically destroyed everyone else.
Baltimore extended its winning streak to six games and has been beating other contenders convincingly. The Ravens dropped 56 points on their most recent victim, the Miami Dolphins. The week before Baltimore seated the Dolphins, the Ravens went to Santa Clara and beat San Francisco by two touchdowns.
The win over the 49ers was impressive because San Francisco is the NFC’s top seed and a potential Super Bowl opponent for Baltimore. But the Ravens’ turnaround has been impressive this season.
First-year Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken rebuilt a new offense around star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson responded positively to the changes and is now a leading candidate to win the Most Valuable Player Award. Against Miami, Jackson may have wrapped the award with his dominant performance.
Black sports news shows he completed 18 of 21 passes for 321 yards and threw five touchdown passes. Baltimore will need to deliver on that promise in the postseason. Jackson has shown similar promise in other seasons, only for the year to end with a postseason flameout.
Jimmy and Jerry Bury the Hatchet
It’s fitting that the night former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson finally got inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor was a drama-filled night, according to recent sports updates. Fortunately for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has a long-running feud with his former college teammate Johnson, all that drama occurred on the field. The Cowboys improved their home record to 8-0 with a wild finish in a 20-19 win over Detroit.
It briefly appeared that Dallas had lost. Detroit scored a touchdown with 23 seconds remaining on an 11-yard pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Lions coach Dan Campbell decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win instead of trying for overtime. Detroit ran a trick play where offensive lineman Taylor Decker caught a two-point conversion to put the Lions ahead.
But officials ruled that Decker hadn’t reported eligibility. On Detroit’s next attempt at the conversion, the pass fell incomplete, but Dallas had jumped offsides. The Lions decided to take a third crack at it, and the pass fell incomplete, allowing Dallas to escape with a one-point win.
“Disappointing” Season Features Another Division Title
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have yet to find an excellent way to satisfy an NFL fanbase. During Mahomes’ time in Kansas City, he has helped the Chiefs keep their streak of eight straight AFC West Division titles alive. During that stretch, the Chiefs have won two Super Bowls and appeared in another.
However, the Chiefs’ fan base has voiced complaints throughout this season after how the team has done a poor job of building their wide receiver corps. As a result, the offense has looked pedestrian, like in the Chiefs’ 25-17 win over Cincinnati last Sunday. But Kansas City is going through the natural progression of any dynasty.
The players who helped Kansas City succeed, like tight end Travis Kelce, are starting to get older and don’t have the same burst they used to. While this offseason will be a good chance for reflection for the Chiefs, they are still part of a run for another title.
Jaguars are in Free Fall
Jacksonville hasn’t been the same since Trevor Lawrence was injured in a loss to the Bengals last month. The Jaguars halted a four-game losing streak last week by squeaking by the Carolina Panthers. But without Lawrence being 100 percent healthy, it is hard to see them continuing to hold on to first place in the AFC South Division.
Jacksonville needs to beat Tennessee to close the season to stay in the mix for the playoffs. The Houston Texans, behind surprising rookie C.J. Stroud, and the Indianapolis Colts, led by veteran quarterback Gardner Minshew, are tied with the Jaguars and will play each other.
Running Game Keeps Steelers Season Alive
Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have been a solid one-two tandem in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ backfield all season. Playing Seattle, which also needed to win with the season on the line, brought out the best in both players. Harris scored twice and had 27 carries for 122 yards, while Warren finished with 75 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Pittsburgh’s offense has come alive with Mason Rudolph under center the past two weeks. The Steelers scored more than 30 points in both games, which is the first time they have done so since 2020. Pittsburgh is still on the outside looking in for the postseason and will need to beat red-hot Baltimore and get some help to get into the playoffs.
Hall’s Return Can’t Help Vikings
Minnesota has done everything it could to survive after losing starting quarterback Kirk Cousins for the season. But the Vikings couldn’t get consistent play out of its backups. Jaren Hall returned from injury for a big home matchup with Green Bay last week.
Hall looked like a player who hadn’t played in several months. He threw an interception in the first half as Minnesota’s offense sputtered during a 33-10 loss to the Packers. Things went so wrong for Minnesota that the Vikings returned to Nick Mullens, who had been benched several times this season.
Green Bay’s offense looked as good as it has all season. Packers quarterback Jordan Love was efficient, throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns to keep Green Bay’s playoff hopes alive. Mullens completed 13 of 22 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown pass, but he came in too late to impact the game’s result.
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