By The Capital Sports Report Staff
The Baltimore Ravens feared the worst when Lamar Jackson was forced to go off in the game against the Denver Broncos early. It has since been revealed that he is thought to have sustained a sprained PCL in the game.
His coach John Harbaugh has mentioned that his injury will be week-to-week at the moment, although it does look improbable that he will play in Week 14; a matchup that will be against AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers. The quarterback’s latest injury setback will have led to some discussion about their chances of progressing to the postseason and potentially having a chance of winning the Super Bowl; however, it would seem that there is not too much to be too concerned with at the moment.
Tyler Huntley is a decent backup
Now in his third year in the NFL, Tyler Huntley can be thought of as a respectable backup and one that can help the Ravens continue with their mission to obtain a qualification to the postseason. Indeed, Jackson has already done much of the hard work, and with it hopeful that the starter will only miss a few matches at the most, thus leaving the organization in a rather good position so far.
Indeed, the backup was utilized in a handful of games last season when Jackson could not compete and put in a couple of solid performances, with the QB having been able to produce three touchdowns. However, he has also thrown five interceptions in his NFL career, although some may suggest that this is perhaps due to his lack of competitive reps.
Could Huntley help the Ravens with their short game?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues that may potentially face Huntley and the Ravens in the game against the Steelers at the very least could be the short game that Jackson and the organization have been able to play rather well throughout the season.
According to statistics, the Maryland-based franchise is ranked one of the best in terms of yardage of 20 yards or below, including in terms of points scored.
Much of that is due to what Jackson is able to achieve with the ball, especially as he has had to try and come up with an alternative as he ranks lowly in regard to passes of 20 yards+; only being slightly better than a handful of the other QBs around the league.
With Huntley in the field, it would not be a surprise if we were to see even fewer longer passes attempted, with the game plan more likely to spread the field wider rather than sending players further down the field to try and gain yardage.
Ravens and Huntley are on the back of a win
It should be noted, though, that the Ravens are coming off the back of a win, as Huntley helped guide the franchise to a 10-9 victory over the Broncos last weekend. Indeed, the type of victory might not be the most appealing or glamorous, however, it is one that will have kept many believing the postseason is in sight.
With licensed sportsbooks available in Maryland, this win against the Broncos may have provided sports bettors in the state with the confidence to start betting on a postseason run, despite the fact that Jackson appears to be doubtful for a period of time. Huntley took control in the first quarter and managed to pass for 187 yards with 27 completions.
Unfortunately, he did also have an interception, but fans wagering on the franchise will perhaps be enthused by the fact that their starter is not expected to miss too much more action. Nonetheless, it would be wrong to pin all potential hopes of reaching the playoffs and a possible Super Bowl on the quarterback room, with those fans potentially wagering on the team also wanting the organization to fix other issues that are present.
The Ravens’ offense and defense both need to step up
There is no doubt that both sides of the ball will need to step up in the final five games, regardless of whether they have Jackson playing under the center or not. However, with Huntley as the starter for the time being, this is more important than ever.
Despite being widely regarded as the best backup in the entire NFL by many, it is important to note that the team went 1-4 last season when they did not have their main man calling the shots on the field. In order for this not to reoccur — and potentially cost them a place in the postseason — the entire roster is going to need to be at its very best.
On the offensive side of the ball, wide receivers and tight ends are going to need to make sure that they are in catchable positions for Huntley when it comes down to throwing the ball through the air, while the running backs are going to need to perhaps take a little more of the run game on compared to when they have Jackson in the field.
The defense is going to also need to play its role and help to try and limit the number of points that are put on the board, too. Without their starting QB, it might be more difficult for the Ravens to try and outscore opponents with their offensive power, especially when it appears that Huntley has some issues in providing passing touchdowns.
Steelers will be the first test of many
Naturally, the game against fellow AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers will be a huge test, but it will also be the first of many that the Ravens will be set to face. The race for the AFC North title is close as the Cincinnati Bengals continue to keep pace with Baltimore, and any slip-up between now and the final game of the season — which is against the Ohio franchise — could, ultimately, prove costly.
The team needs to ensure they are all at their best on Sunday, and if they are able to fix their issues, then there should not be a real issue with Huntley on the field.
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