“There aren’t many weaknesses in the Ravens’ statistical profile, but they came into Thursday’s game averaging just 17.9 yards on kickoff returns and allowing 22.1 yards on opponents’ returns,” Walker wrote. “Those numbers got worse against the Jets as they allowed 179 yards on seven kickoff returns while gaining just five on one return of their own.”
Of course, missing one of your top special teams players in linebacker Chris Board doesn’t help. But Walker also noted that the Ravens hadn’t gotten much production from their return game either.
“The Ravens have generated almost nothing on their own kickoff returns,”Walker wrote. “De’Anthony Thomas has averaged 12.2 yards on six returns since taking over the job in Week 10, with the team often preferring to accept touchbacks.”
Baltimore has consistently been one of the best in the business when it comes to special teams, and will have an extended period to look over the tape and make adjustments.
Even as AFC North Champs, Ravens Still Keeping Their Sights Set Forward
The last two weeks have called for celebration. The Ravens clinched a playoff berth and a division title for the second straight season, but they continue to keep their sights set on a bigger goal. That was evident to pundits even after a blowout win.
“Few would dispute that the Ravens have entered the regular season’s home stretch as the NFL’s best team, and their ambitions match that esteem,” The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer wrote. “They didn’t cheer too loudly when they secured their playoff ticket Sunday. They didn’t rush the field in ecstasy as the seconds ticked away Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium. This was not like 2018, when the Ravens needed a Week 17 win to extend their season.”
There was still plenty of excitement. You expect it when your team has won 10 straight games, but the scenarios become even simpler now.
The Ravens clinch a first-round bye with a Patriots or Chiefs loss. Baltimore can secure the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in the AFC with a win or losses by the Patriots and Chiefs.