Sunday’s Packers-Ravens game in Baltimore featured two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in varying states of pain.
One of them, Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay, was almost certain to feature in the game despite the injured little toe, and the other, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, had been questioned all week with his right ankle. Sprained last Sunday.
The Packers (10-3 and top seed in NFC) can claim the NFC North title with a win.
Somehow, the Ravens (8-5) remained in first place in the difficult and messy AFC North. At this time of year, teams that lose two games often aren’t at the top of their table – especially when two games are lost to same-ranked opponents.
But the Ravens, losing 24-22 last week in Cleveland and 20-19 in Pittsburgh in Week 13, entered the game with a one-game lead to the Bengals and Browns and a 1/2-game lead to the Steelers.
That divisional lead is even harder for Jackson to be was kicked out of last week’s game with a sprained ankle.
“We’ll see where it goes this week,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters Monday when asked about Jackson’s readiness for the Packers game. Jackson didn’t fully practice all week.
“I think it could go down the wire,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman told reporters on Thursday.
If Jackson is unable to play, it will continue to be a theme this season for Raven, who have spent months recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder – having placed 23 substitutes injured. The Ravens have lost top two full-backs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, All-Pro left-fielder saves Ronnie Stanley, Pro Bowl full-backs Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, starts safe DeShon Elliott and starts defense Derek Wolfe for the season.
Jackson has missed a game this season, being replaced by Tyler Huntley, who helped Baltimore beat the Bears in Week 11.
As much as the Ravens have survived this season, they’re not without some significant flaws – such as the pass guard, which allowed an NFL-tall 47 sack. They conceded 37 penalties in the last four matches. And they’ve been hurt by turns – 14 interceptions and 16 fumbles.
Jackson threw 26 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions last season, and he threw 36 TDs and just 6 INTs in 2019. He has 16 TDs and 13 INTs this year.
If he can’t play or is knocked out again, Raven puts his faith in Huntley, who performed well in the loss to Cleveland – completing 27/38 270 yards and TD and dashing another 45 yards later when Jackson was injured. He helped make a rally from a 24-3 deficit to nearly steal the game. In his start, Huntley led the 4th round, winning the game in Chicago.
“I think right now, we’re just getting used to the next person coming in,” Ravens-safe Chuck Clark told reporters. “Whoever is out there, we expect the standard of everyone on this team.”
That “standard” in midfield has been maintained if you listen to Browns defense Jadeveon Clowney, who told reporters after last week’s game that Huntley was “a bit faster” than Jackson, added, “He missed the whole defence. He caught all of us. I said on the sidelines that I think we need Lamar back here. ”
Be careful what you wish for.
Team Raven has won 13 consecutive games against NFC teams, including all three against NFC North this season.
Even though his toe problem, Rodgers has thrown 10 TD passes and no INT in his past three games and leads the NFL in passer ratings. He barely trains because of his toes.
Rodgers told reporters this week: “Given the situation with my toe, it was clear that I had to come up with another routine that worked for me to help get me the right space to play well on game day. .
Raven, while not having a strong attack this season, have been holding on to their defence, which has kept fouls on the opposition by less than 20 points in the past five games.
Baltimore will likely win this division with wins in two of the last four – against the Packers, Bengals, Rams and Steelers.
“Each one of those four games represents an opportunity for us to get where we want to be,” Harbaugh said. “I am very happy for that opportunity. We have tough, high character people. It’s the NFL, we’re fighting. We are in a fight to get what we want, and we will fight. ”
https://nypost.com/2021/12/18/battle-of-nfl-elites-features-two-banged-up-quarterbacks/ Battle of NFL elites featuring two quarterbacks has been defeated