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The most impressive numbers from the Ravens' eight-game winning streak

The most impressive numbers from the Ravens' eight-game winning streak

For the first time in the history of the Baltimore Ravens, the team has started a season 10-2. The driving force behind their start? A franchise-record eight-game winning streak.

The streak, extended to eight games thanks to an ugly, wet win over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon, surpasses the seven-game streak set by the 2000 Ravens, who went on to win the team’s first Super Bowl that season.

Will the Ravens repeat history and take home the Lombardi Trophy in February? It’s too soon to tell, but regardless, this streak has been one for the ages.

The Ravens have been enjoying their success, though Lamar Jackson points out the franchise has been feared in the past too.

“We’re just a strong team,” Jackson told reporters. “Ever since I was growing up, that’s what the Ravens have been - a team that’s hard to beat. A lot of people wanted to beat the Ravens. I’m glad it’s back the same way.”

Here are some of the standout numbers from this charmed Ravens run.

271-119 point differential: The average final score for the Ravens in the last two months is a 33-14 victory. The Ravens aren’t just winning a lot of games, but they’re consistently blowing teams out in a way that’s never been seen before in the modern NFL. 

52-33 opponent record: The Ravens aren’t just beating up on the bad competition. Six of their eight wins have come against opponents with winning records, including the otherwise 10-1 49ers, 10-0 Patriots and 9-1 Seahawks. In fact, if you remove the two games against the Bengals, the Ravens’ opponents’ combined record in this stretch is a remarkable 50-11. And the Ravens still outscored the six remaining teams 199-189.

Lamar Jackson’s three games with 100+ passing and rushing yards: Only seven players in NFL history have registered at least three career games with at least 100 yards passing and 100 yards rushing. Jackson (who has five such games in his young career, behind only Michael Vick’s eight) has recorded three of these statlines just during the last eight games alone.

Jackson’s stats in general: The breakout star’s stats have been utterly ridiculous all season long, and especially so during this streak. 67.6% completion percentage. 7.6 yards/attempt. 15 passing touchdowns. Three interceptions (all of which came in the first game of the eight-game stretch). 739 rushing yards and five more touchdowns. Jackson kicked his season off with a bang in Miami, but the last eight weeks are what elevated him to become the MVP frontrunner.

209 rushing yards per game: Not only are the Ravens going to lead the NFL in rushing yards per game (by far, considering no one else is at even 75% of their number), but they are on pace to surpass the all-time NFL record by more than 10 yards per game. To beat the all-time mark (set in 1978 by the New England Patriots) is impressive; to do it in the modern NFL is jaw-dropping.

12 punts: On drives led by Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have punted just 12 times total in the last two months. They even went three straight games without a single punt with their starting quarterback in the game, which is hard to fathom. The Ravens offense has been operating at such a high level of efficiency, Pro Bowl punter Sam Koch has barely seen the field.

Three fourth quarters: The number of final frames in which Lamar Jackson has barely played. With as comfortable leads as the Ravens have taken into so many fourth quarters, their best player hasn’t even needed to finish out their games. This is common in college football. In the NFL? It’s unheard-of.

27 percent: The Ravens’ Super Bowl title odds, according to FiveThirtyEight. This is by far the highest mark in the league, with only the Patriots (21%) and Saints (14%) owning odds even half as good as the Ravens’. 

Longtime All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda has played on a lot of top Ravens teams, including the Super Bowl champions. Even he can recognize that this type of magical run doesn’t happen too often.

“It’s special,” he replied when asked about the winning streak. “All these wins are special. Big wins, in different environments, different ways of winning. But I mean we obviously have a special team with a lot of good players playing at a high level.”

All the cliches are true. Winning is contagious. Winning cures all. Most of all, though, winning is fun.

“You take it one game at a time,” Yanda continued. “But everybody’s having a lot of fun. We’re here to win, and that’s what we’re paid to do. And when you’re winning like that, eight games in a row, it’s fun. Everybody’s having a great time. It’s competitive, playing good teams, big stages. This is why we do it. It’s why I do it.”

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Adam 'Pacman' Jones feuding with Joe Haden over burnt jerseys

Adam 'Pacman' Jones feuding with Joe Haden over burnt jerseys

How many, 'This is peak 2020' moments will it take for that saying to go out of style? Or has it already?

Anyway, whatever's going on with former Bengals corner Adam 'Pacman' Jones and Steelers corner Joe Haden could certainly be considered a 'Peak 2020' moment.

It all started when somebody decided to send Jones a box filled with signed Haden jerseys. Thinking Haden sent him the jerseys, Jones lit them all on fire.

In response to the video, Haden's agent Drew Rosenhaus told Pro Football Talk, "I want to clarify that Joe Haden was not involved in sending his jerseys to Adam Jones. He had no knowledge of this and was not connected to it. He had no knowledge of this and was not connected to it. Furthermore Joe has been a first class person on and off the field. We do not appreciate or condone Jones negative reaction or comments. Joe has had immaculate track record in the NFL and should not be treated this way by another member of the NFL family.”

Haden hasn't responded himself yet, so at this moment the feud remains between Jones, a box of jerseys and Rosenhaus. Sounds about right if you paid attention to Jones' playing career. 

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There is no love lost between Jones and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Honestly, you could say the same thing about the rest of the AFC North for that matter. Jones played on the Bengals from 2010-17 and worked up a reputation as a big-hitting defensive back who from time to time, delivered a few dirty hits alongside the notorious Vontaze Burfict. 

It's an incredibly odd situation between one retired player and a vet who's never played with him. Maybe more will come out of this situation, and maybe it flames out. 

One thing is for certain, though. Whoever actually sent Jones those jerseys is sweating right now. 

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Lamar Jackson ranks fifth in 2019 MVP rankings behind Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers

Lamar Jackson ranks fifth in 2019 MVP rankings behind Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers

Apparently winning NFL MVP, ranking No. 1 in the NFL’s Top 100 list and earning a spot on the cover of Madden still isn’t enough for experts around the league to believe Lamar Jackson is the best quarterback.

In Pro Football Focus’ most valuable player rankings of 2019, the Ravens’ quarterback was slotted fifth overall behind four other quarterbacks. Even after winning the league’s MVP award during the 2019 season, Jackson was selected behind Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, and Aaron Rodgers in PFF’s WAR rankings.

The WAR model stands for ‘wins above replacement,’ which factors in how well the player performed, what the player did, how important those tasks were to winning games, and how often the player did the various things he did. 

According to PFF, the model follows a series of five steps to calculate a player’s score:

  • Determine how good a given player was during a period of time (generally a season) using PFF grades.
  • Map a player’s production to a “wins” value for his team using the relative importance of each facet of play.
  • Simulate a team’s expected performance with a player of interest and with an average player participating identically in his place. Take the difference in expected wins (e.g., Wins Above Average).
  • Determine the average player with a given participation profile’s wins above replacement player, assuming a team of replacement-level players is a 3-13 team.
  • Add the terms in the last two calculations to get that player’s WAR.

Based on these calculations, PFF claims a quarterback should always be the MVP, which accounts for the list it released on Thursday. However, many would challenge which quarterbacks deserved a spot in the top five.

Jackson led the league in 2019 with an 81.8 quarterback rating. Mahomes was a close second. Prescott and Wilson ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. However, Rodgers finished down the list at 20th. 

In the NFL’s Top 100 list released at the end of July, Jackson was rated the No. 1 player in the entire league. Russell Wilson came in second. Mahomes was an underrated fourth. But Rodgers and Prescott ranked 16th and 46th, respectively. 

This is far from the first time Jackson was placed lower than expected in an individual player ranking. In early July, both Stephen A. Smith and ESPN left Lamar Jackson out of their top four quarterbacks. In June, Chris Simms ranked him fifth in his quarterback rankings.

Ultimately, while Jackson hasn’t received the complete respect he deserves around the league, he has racked up a number of impressive honors and records and will continue his search for more this fall. 

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