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Lamar Jackson keeps proving haters wrong with third AFC Offensive Player of the Week award

Lamar Jackson keeps proving haters wrong with third AFC Offensive Player of the Week award

Lamar Jackson just won AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season, proving once again that he's the real deal.

Jackson lit up the Cincinnati Bengals for 223 passing yards, 65 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. He completed 15 passes on 17 attempts to earn a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

Lamar Jackson has terrorized opposing defenses all season long, but he's also been a bit of a handful for his critics as well. The quarterback's record-breaking, award-winning, MVP-contending season has made it hard for haters to keep hating.

A quick look at Twitter shows that Jackson has won everyone over: 

It's hard to keep hating on Jackson at this point. But, if his performance so far has not been enough for you, the next three weeks will be make-or-break for Jackson and the Ravens. Tough matchups against the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers will keep Jackson in the spotlight.

Jackson came to play this season and so far he's made it count.


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Willie Snead on what it's like playing with Lamar Jackson

Willie Snead on what it's like playing with Lamar Jackson

Willie Snead puts it best when thinking about how bright Lamar Jackson’s future is: “I can’t even imagine.”

Jackson’s meteoric rise from the fifth quarterback taken in the 2018 draft to prohibitive MVP favorite is the biggest storyline in the NFL this season. Every game he seemingly tops himself with dazzling highlight runs and pinpoint throws.

And his veteran receiver as a front row seat for it all.

“He’s just playing the game right now,” Snead told NBC Sports Washington when comparing Jackson to his he previous quarterback, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. “He’s so fun to watch.”

“Fun” is putting it mildly.

Snead has played in all 28 games with the Ravens since coming to Baltimore prior to the 2018 season. He’s provided valuable leadership and made big catches, while also embracing the blocking necessary from Ravens receivers in this offense.

He’s played with Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, and now, Lamar Jackson. Not only is Jackson playing at a high level, but his unique style also makes for new obstacles for Snead and the receivers.

“It’s definitely different, keeps you on your toes,” he explained. “With Lamar, you always gotta be ready, because the play’s never dead. He can make things happen.”

Perhaps the most memorable example of this, for Snead in particular, came in a road game against the Chiefs. Jackson threw up a number of prayers during the game, including one to Snead.

“Probably the Kansas City one he threw up to me,” he answered when asked about any plays that stick out. “He’s going to the right, and throws it left, all the way across the field, and trusts me to make a play. So that was probably the craziest one.”

Trust is a key word when it comes to Jackson and his receivers.

“It’s been growing,” he describes when asked about it. “After the season last year [we] talked for a little bit, and he told me what he wanted to do and how he felt about this year. I just told him ‘Bro, I’m here to help you.’ We just have to put in the time, put in the work. As you can see, it’s starting to pay off.”

You can watch Snead’s full interview with NBC Sports Washington here.


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Ravens looking for playoff berth, AFC North title in trip to Buffalo

Ravens looking for playoff berth, AFC North title in trip to Buffalo

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens haven’t had to stress too much over the last month or so of football.

Aside from a last-second win over the 49ers, the Ravens have climbed to the top of the AFC standings, and with four games to play, control their destiny for home-field advantage. 

But while the Bills aren’t in first place in their division, Sunday’s game at New Era Field could be one that has a large impact on the AFC standings. 

“We know the goal is to win the game, and what follows with that is what follows with that,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I did mention to the team, I said, ‘Where are we? We’re nowhere until we get there. And when we get there, we’ll be there. And we’ll take it from there.’ How’s that? That’s actually pretty good.

At 10-2, the Ravens are in pole position headed to the final quarter of the season. But the slope that they sit atop of is quite slippery. 

A loss to the 9-3 Bills would tie the two teams in the standings, with the Bills then owning the tiebreaker with just three games to play.

In that scenario, the AFC East champion Bills would have the inside track to home-field advantage in the playoffs over the Ravens. 

“We're not looking at everything like, ‘Oh my gosh, we're unstoppable,’ or anything like that,” Josh Bynes said. “Because it's any given Sunday, and we know how this league works. Any team can come out and beat you at any given moment. So, all we're focused on right now is just winning one game at a time and just taking it day by day and game by game.”

The Bills offense has took a turn for the better in recent weeks, as quarterback Josh Allen has thrown just one interception since Week 5. But the true strength of the Bills is their defense, which has kept them in games all season long. 

It’s yet another top defense that the Ravens will have to go through on their stretch of top defenses. 

“I think they're very talented,” Orlando Brown Jr. said. “I think they play very hard, and they've got a great scheme and a ton of great players in great positions. Their defensive backs are playing really well. They have a great group of front seven, again. It seems like we can't get a break, but it's all good.”

Buffalo’s defense ranks third in yards-allowed-per game (300) and third in pass yards allowed (195.8).

Baltimore is set to catch a break before the game even starts, as the weather in Buffalo is predicted to be mild — for New York. The projected high temperature is 45 degrees, and no snow is in the forecast.

“I don’t really care about cold games,” Lamar Jackson said. “I played at Louisville, so there were a lot of cold games there. And last year, I played here, so it is what it is. But I’d rather it not be raining and cold. That doesn’t mix. Cold and snow, I’ve never been in that. So, I’ll find out what it’s like, and I have to play ball.”

Jackson, against another of the league’s top defensive units, will look to add an exclamation point to his MVP resume. 

Should he do that and the Ravens win, they’ll clinch a playoff berth. And paired with a win over the Bills and a Steelers loss, they’ll have back-to-back AFC North titles. 

“It's going to be a good test,” Michael Pierce said. “I think it'll be another playoff-type atmosphere there on the road. They're 9-3. Josh Allen is playing really well, and we know the kind of (running) back Frank Gore is. And (Devin) Singletary is pretty smooth, too, so yes, they have a good team. It'll be a good game.”