Ravens

The statistical greatness of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens

Ravens

At this point, it's no longer shocking to read stats about just how utterly dominant the Ravens are.

Impressive? Definitely. Jaw-dropping? Absolutely. Historic? Of course.

But surprising? Not so much anymore. 

Baltimore has so thoroughly established themselves as one of the great regular season teams in recent memory, that every time they win they're likely extending their own franchise records in some category or another - if not breaking an NFL record altogether.

After cruising to their latest win (33-16 over the Texans) it's time to update some numbers for the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens' success begins with Lamar Jackson, so it only makes sense to start with his numbers. And these numbers are pretty great, especially because [insert joke about him being better suited to playing running back or wide receiver here].

Jackson is putting up passing numbers that are better at his age and experience level than any quarterback in the history of the NFL. Only three other quarterbacks with these passing touchdown numbers have even as few as 20 interceptions; Jackson is under 10. He also has just one interception over his last 29 touchdown passes. 

It may seem like these numbers are cherry-picked, but there's nothing more important for a quarterback than throwing touchdowns while not throwing interceptions. And no quarterback has been better in that respect than Lamar Jackson.

Some fans like to point out Jackson's 0-2 record against Patrick Mahomes as proof that the Chiefs have the Ravens' number. But if there's any young quarterback who has dominated another, it's Jackson over Deshaun Watson.

 

To be clear, when the tweet mentions that Watson has only two losses by multiple scores in his career, that includes his college career. Watson just simply doesn't get blown out. Unless he's playing Jackson.

How does Jackson do it? One key is success on third downs, a critical area in which he has excelled so far in 2020. On Sunday, the Ravens converted seven combined third and fourth downs, while the Texans converted just three.

It wasn't just Jackson, though. The Ravens have won 14 straight regular-season games - three away from the fifth-longest streak in NFL history - with a point differential of +263 in that stretch.

They were the seventh-most efficient team in NFL history in 2019, and they're on their way to another top finish in 2020 after nearly doubling up every other team through two weeks. The Ravens are currently the only team in the NFL ranked in the top-six in DVOA in each of offense, defense and special teams.

As seen above, the most underrated element of this stretch has been the defense, which is riding a few NFL-high streaks of their own.

Of course, the most important game is the next one, and Ravens-Chiefs has major Game of the Year potential.

Baltimore and Kansas City entered the season as the two heaviest favorites to win the Super Bowl this season and it's thanks to their reigning MVP quarterbacks. Jackson and Mahomes are as exciting and dynamic a young duo as the league has ever seen and this marks the third consecutive year they'll face off against one another.

The Ravens have historically owned home primetime games, despite playing at home on Monday Night Football so rarely. It remains to be seen how strong home-field advantage will be without fans, but either way, the Ravens will be happy to finally get their chance at Mahomes in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium - a place they won't have to leave much in coming weeks.

ESPN's FPI rankings have the Ravens and Chiefs significantly further ahead of the rest of the pack at this point in the season.

Baltimore's biggest test of the season comes against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football. The consensus two best teams in the NFL will square off in primetime in a fight for AFC supremacy, exactly one day short of a full year after their last regular-season loss.

If the Ravens play as well as they have in the previous 364 days, fans should be in for an epic fireworks show in Baltimore.