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Ravens continue drive for top playoff seed with six-game win streak over upper-echelon teams

Ravens continue drive for top playoff seed with six-game win streak over upper-echelon teams

BALTIMORE — As the score mounted on Sunday against the Texans, the impressive win only turned to amazement as the Ravens lead grew and the Texans’ hopes shrank.

In a dominating 41-7 win, the Ravens earned their sixth-straight win in blowout fashion yet again. 

Over the six-game stretch, the Ravens have outscored their opponents 206-96, an average score per game of 34.3-16.

“You just go out there and play the best ball that you can,” Earl Thomas said. “Today was a little surprising, I hope nobody on the team gets offended, but I didn’t think we was going to do them like that. Just take it one game at a time and keep chopping wood.”

While the Ravens recent stretch is impressive, it’s more impressive considering the level of opponents that they’ve taken down during that time. 

Baltimore’s opponents over the streak had a combined record of 27-29 entering Sunday, but if you take out the 0-9 Bengals, that record improves to 27-11. 

And against the Seahawks, Patriots and Texans, all teams in playoff spots as of Sunday, the Ravens outscored them 108-43.

“Maybe there’s no weak links? I don’t know,” Chris Wormley said, grinning. “We just talked about the offense started a little slow today, but our defense picked it up. When we’re beating these teams convincingly, especially these top teams in the NFL, it’s a good feeling.”

Over that stretch, Lamar Jackson has launched himself into legitimate MVP consideration, which now seems to be trimming to a two-horse race between he and Russell Wilson. 

Since the Cleveland loss on Sept. 29, Baltimore’s last loss, Jackson has thrown for 1,148 yards, thrown nine touchdowns and just three interceptions, including none in the last five games. He’s 98-for-145 passing — a 67.5 percent clip — and has rushed for 550 yards and five touchdowns. 

The Ravens have scored 206 points during that stretch and haven’t marked under 30 points since a Cincinnati Bengals game on Oct. 13.

“Anytime you’re 8-2, you’ve got a special group of guys, and I think we really have a special group of guys,” Mark Ingram said. “Guys who understand each other. Guys who believe in each other. Guys who want to fight for each other. Guys who understand the value of preparation one day at a time. We have a goal of being champions, so we don’t have time to rest.”

Baltimore’s win-streak has put the team in strong position headed toward the end of the season, as they now hold a three-game lead over the Steelers for the AFC North lead with six games to play. They also are ahead of the Chiefs by two games, though the Chiefs have the tiebreaker over the Ravens. 

The AFC South leader is Indianapolis, now two games behind the Ravens as well. 

With a brutal stretch of a Monday Night game at the Rams next week, followed by dates with the 49ers at home and the Bills on the road, the Ravens have given themselves a bit of breathing room headed toward the three-quarter pole. Especially now, with the team gelling on both sides of the ball, hopes are sky high.

“It’s a brotherhood here in Baltimore,” Jackson said. “We see each other every day. We’re with each other each and every day. We’re with each other [in] OTAs, camp, and we’ve just got to build. We see that everyone wants the same thing. We’re chasing something right now, and we’re trying to get it.” 

With still a lot of season left to go, however, the Ravens will still need to go through tougher teams than they’ve already faced. 

But it’s hard not to look at the victories they’ve earned, and how they’ve earned them, and not be impressed with the way they’re being accomplished.

“We have to keep it nice and tight, and keep it locked in on what we have to get done one day at a time,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I’m very confident that these guys will do that. They understand that. I know they understand it. So, they have a lot of faith. Faith is just a substance of things unseen. They believe in one another, and I’m excited about that.” 

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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.” 

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Ravens at Bills Week 14: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Ravens at Bills Week 14: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Baltimore Ravens (10-2) are heading north to take on the Buffalo Bills (9-3) in a Week 14 AFC Showdown that will likely have the energy of a playoff game.

The Ravens are coming off a buzzer-beater 20-17 win against the San Francisco 49ers that pushed their win streak to a franchise-record eight games. Leading the way for the Ravens is Lamar Jackson, who has cemented his MVP candidacy during a season in which he has taken the league by storm.

The Bills are coming off three wins of their own, most recently a 26-15 stomping of the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the impressive 9-3 record, the Bills' only win against a .500 or better team came on Thanksgiving Day against the then 6-5 Cowboys.

Here's what you should know about the game:

RAVENS at BILLS WEEK 14:

What: Week 14 of the NFL regular season

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills

Where: New Era Field, Orchard Park, NY

When: Sunday, Dec. 8, at 1:00 p.m.

TV Channel: CBS

Live Stream: Stream on FuboTV 

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090, 98Rock and 101.5 FM

Spread: Ravens, -5.5

Over/Under: 43.5

Weather: 44 degrees, mostly cloudy

RAVENS 2019 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Sun., 9/8 at Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. (W, 59-10)

Week 2: Sun., 9/15 vs. Cardinals, 1:00 p.m. (W, 23-17)

Week 3: Sun., 9/22 at Chiefs. 1:00 p.m. (L, 33-28)

Week 4: Sun., 9/29 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m. (L, 40-25)

Week 5: Sun., 10/6 at Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (W (OT), 26-23)

Week 6: Sun., 10/13 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m. (W, 23-17)

Week 7: Sun., 10/20 at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. (W, 30-16)

Week 8: BYE week

Week 9: Sun., 11/3 vs. Patriots, 8:20 p.m. (W, 37-20)

Week 10:  Sun., 11/10 at Bengals, 1:00 p.m. (W, 49-13)

Week 11: Sun., 11/17 vs. Texans, 1:00 p.m. (W, 41-7)

Week 12: Mon., 11/25 at Rams, 8:15 p.m. (W, 45-6)

Week 13: Sun., 12/1 vs. 49ers, 1:00 p.m. (W, 20-17)

Week 14: Sun., 12/8 at Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Thu., 12/12 vs. Jets, 8:20 p.m.

Week 16: Sun., 12/22 at Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 17: Sun., 12/29 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

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