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Five questions to ask about Ravens vs Eagles

Five questions to ask about Ravens vs Eagles

What: Eagles (5-8) at Ravens (7-6)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: M&T Bank Stadium

Ravens injuries:

OUT – CB Jimmy Smith (ankle).

QUESTIONABLE – TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh), DB-LB Anthony Levine (toe), G Alex Lewis (ankle), CB Jerraud Powers (concussion).

Eagles injuries:

OUT - RB Darren Sproles (concussion), OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee).

QUESTIONABLE – G Allen Barbre (hamstring), TE Brent Celek (stinger), WR Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (illness), WR Jordan Matthews (ankle).

Five questions to ask:

1. Is this a trap game for the Ravens?

You could tell during the week that the Ravens were still ticked off about losing to the Patriots. Can they put that behind them? They had better. Losing to the Eagles would be a devastating setback, one that could cost the Ravens a playoff spot.

2. Are the Ravens vulnerable to big plays without Smith at cornerback?

When Smith doesn’t play, bad things often happen to the Ravens’ defense. While the Eagles don’t have a playmaker like Odell Beckham Jr. or Dez Bryant, they have a quarterback in Carson Wentz with a big arm. Wentz has been throwing the ball 40, 50, or even 60 times a game. Expect him to take some deep shots, to see if the Ravens’ secondary can handle it.

3. Will Wentz be punished by the Ravens’ pass rush?

The Eagles’ offensive line is banged up. Their running game is suspect. Sounds like a game that Ravens pass rushers Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, and Matt Judon should be licking their chops for. If the Eagles fall behind early, Wentz could be under serious duress.

4. Will Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco have a big day?

The Eagles’ pass rush has tailed off, with only eight sacks in the last seven games. The Eagles’ cornerbacks have had issues. In their last home game, the Ravens exploded for 38 points against the Dolphins. Don’t expect that, but Flacco could put up some good numbers.

5. How committed will the Ravens be to the running game?

That question has been asked often this season. The running game can be a huge asset in December when the weather turns nasty. The Ravens need more offensive balance, and would be wise to get running backs Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon involved early, and to stick with the running game.

Prediction: I don’t think the Ravens will dominate, but I see them doing enough to win.

Ravens 24, Eagles 16

MORE RAVENS: Steve Smith after throwing helmet: 'No time for kumbayah'

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Lamar Jackson shows off accuracy by hitting a crossbar from 50 yards away

Lamar Jackson shows off accuracy by hitting a crossbar from 50 yards away

Lamar Jackson isn't letting the end of the Ravens' season impact his ability to wow us on the football field. 

Ahead of the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge set for Thursday night, Jackson showed off incredible arm talent by hitting the crossbar from 50 yards away. 

Not bad for a running back. 

This season didn't go as planned for the Raves. They won 12 straight games to finish the regular season 14-2 and Jackson had an MVP season. Everything pointed to at least a trip to the AFC title game until the Titans came into Baltimore and pulled off a shocking upset in the Divisional Round. 

Jackson later explained how he didn't leave his room after the loss, and who can blame him? He's now 0-2 in the playoffs and their latest failure came against a team that had to switch quarterbacks midseason. 

The future is still bright in Baltimore, and while the sting of the playoffs may still be there for Ravens fans, they can still watch their quarterback dazzle in the Skills Challenge and the actual Pro Bowl game on Sunday. 

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‘Depressed’ Lamar Jackson didn’t leave his room after Ravens’ playoff loss

‘Depressed’ Lamar Jackson didn’t leave his room after Ravens’ playoff loss

It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

The Ravens had the No. 1 seed in the AFC locked up. Their quarterback was the presumptive MVP and they boasted a 12-game winning streak that was the longest in the NFL. It wasn’t a question of whether they’d beat the Titans in the divisional round, but how deep into the playoffs they could go.

Except that’s not what happened. The Titans stunned the Ravens on their home turf and won handily by the score of 28-12. After throwing just one interception over his previous 10 games, Lamar Jackson through two passes that ended up in the hands of Tennessee.

“I didn’t leave my room, to be honest,” Jackson told The Athletic during the Pro Bowl festivities in Miami. “I wasn’t frustrated. I was hurt. I was depressed. It was like, ‘I don’t even want to go outside right now. I’m not happy right now.’ There was nothing to celebrate.”

The loss marked the second-straight season in which Baltimore stumbled in its first playoff game. But this wasn’t the Ravens team of yesteryear. The 2018 Ravens went 10-6 with Jackson’s future at the quarterback position still being questioned by pundits. The 2019 Ravens went 14-2 while Jackson looked like one of the best athletes in the sport.

“I need to get better myself,” Jackson added. “I don’t put nothing on my teammates. We all just have to do our part. My job was to help my team, get my team in the red zone and score points. I didn’t do my job. We just got to move on. All season we were doing that. We’d drive down into the red zone and we’d put up points. For that game, we didn’t. We can’t put that on the defense. [Tennessee] only scored like 28 points. We should score more points than that.”

Surrounded by the fanfare that is Pro Bowl week, Jackson is all smiles as he hangs out in warm weather among some of the league’s biggest stars. But the young quarterback will have a lot to prove in 2020, as he’ll look to show that this Ravens was team was no fluke. And that he can lead Baltimore over the hump once the playoffs begin.

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