The Ravens and Seahawks are two very much alike teams. Not only are the two team mascots birds, but as the Ravens, the Seahawks are a team with a tradition of defensive excellence, struggling with the reality of their 2019 defense. Both teams also have strong offenses, centered around the run, with mobile quarterbacks each in the MVP conversation. The parallels between the two teams are there, but the Ravens would prefer not to focus on the similarities, but the differences Baltimore can create that will ultimately lead them to victory.
The Seahawks are 3 point Las Vegas favorites, here is what they need to do to flip the script and secure the upset:
Lamar Jackson Must Win the MVP-Candidate Quarterback Duel
After Lamar Jackson accumulated 388 total yards in the Ravens’ victory against the Bengals, the national conversation has surrounded the second-year quarterback. Jackson is now being named as a league MVP candidate alongside his Sunday opponent, Russell Wilson. Wilson has thrown for 1,704 yards, 14 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The two mobile quarterbacks will square off in the highly anticipated matchup. With both defenses struggling, the battle should be fierce, and the Ravens and Seahawks could enter a shootout.
Ravens Must Establish Run Game to Control Time of Possession
A shootout between the two teams could lead to an arms race the Ravens cannot win. Although Baltimore has the league’s number one statistical offense (450.7), the Baltimore Ravens have only scored an average of 22 points when one removes the 59 point week one outlier victory over the Dolphins. Baltimore needs to either score more points to keep up or prevent the shootout entirely by dominating the time of possession. If the Ravens can control more than 35 minutes of the clock, Baltimore can keep Russell Wilson off the field. Keeping the MVP candidate off the field will prevent the Seahawks from lighting up the scoreboard, and give the Ravens a better chance to secure the upset win in Seattle.
Ravens Secondary Must Improve
In an effort to save the sinking Ravens secondary, Ravens’ general manager, Eric DeCosta, made a splash move last week to acquire one of the league’s best young cornerbacks, Marcus Peters. Baltimore’s once stout secondary has been repeatedly torched this year, but Peters brings some new life to the deflated unit. Peters and Marlon Humphrey will combine to be the one-two punch at cornerback, but the Ravens still have the veteran Brandon Carr able to produce. At safety is Earl Thomas, who will be seeking revenge against his former team this week. To beat the Seahawks, the Ravens secondary will need to remain stout, and force Russell Wilson into situations that the MVP candidate has not yet seen this year.
Lamar Jackson must not only go toe to toe with Russell Wilson, but he must outmatch him. Jackson will need a strong performance, both on the ground and through the air, to secure a Ravens victory.
Baltimore traded for Marcus Peters to bolster the Ravens’ lackluster secondary. Peters will be important in Baltimore’s gameplan against the Seahawks, as Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh expects him to play a lot. He will need to perform well early, as it will not be easy guarding against Russell Wilson’s passes.
Perhaps the most important man in the secondary, Chuck Clark must continue to impress in his new and unexpected role with the Ravens. Clark is now the sole starting safety next to Earl Thomas, as Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliot were both placed on the injured reserve because of major injuries. Clark will need to fill the role well and outperform expectations against Seattle’s vaunted passing offense.
In a close, back and forth game, the Ravens will fall to the Seahawks as Russell Wilson delivers a touchdown on the final drive of the game.