In 2022, Baltimore started the season 8-4 with a healthy Lamar Jackson. Then the QB got hurt and never returned the remainder of the season.
Baltimore still made the playoffs and traveled to Cincinnati for Wild Card weekend. In a tie game with 12 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Baltimore had the ball deep in enemy territory, looking poised to take a lead. Instead, a 98 yard fumble return by Sam Hubbard sealed the win for the Bengals.
This season, Baltimore has a 3-2 record, but they have suffered two gut wrenching losses.
- Indianapolis wins 22-19 in overtime as kicker Matt Gay improbably makes four field goals of over 50 yards. Baltimore had more yards and a better passing success rate but are probably still fuming over a missed pass interference penalty in overtime.
- Pittsburgh scores a late touchdown to win 17-10 in week 5. Baltimore was -2 in turnovers and allowed a blocked punt for a safety.
The underlying numbers look much better for Baltimore, as they rank 7th in my adjusted passing success rate. Remember when we thought Lamar Jackson couldn’t throw the ball? Yeah, me neither.
Rookie WR Zay Flowers has become the top target, which makes up for a disappointing season for Rashod Bateman. In addition, Mark Andrews is still one of the league’s best tight ends.
The pass defense has been spectacular no matter the metric.
- 5th in my adjusted passing success rate.
- 1st in my adjusted yards per pass attempt.
- 1st in PFF coverage grade.
In addition, top CB Marlon Humphrey was hurt the first four weeks. The pass rush isn’t great, and some regression is most likely looming, but the Ravens should be thrilled with the early returns on defense.
With the injury to Justin Jefferson, Tennessee becomes the new Minnesota: a team with a star WR and nothing else. DeAndre Hopkins has been unbelievable with 2.54 yards per route run this season, a full yard better than the NFL average for a wide receiver.
However, QB Ryan Tannehill is still turnover prone, as his 13.5% bad ball rate is the worst among NFL quarterbacks still getting regular snaps. In contrast, Lamar Jackson has a 10.2% bad ball rate, much better than the 11.6% NFL average.
In addition, Tennessee’s pass defense is one of the NFL’s worst (29th in my adjusted success rate). My numbers like Baltimore by almost a touchdown, and there is value in Baltimore -4 versus Tennessee in London (available at DraftKings).
Here are some other predictions available to members of The Power Rank.
CFB: Washington will beat Oregon by 2.5 points at home. While both of these teams had questions on defense this preseason, Oregon has improved to 14th in my adjusted success rate this season. Washington has not improved at 65th.
CFB: Michigan will beat Indiana by 35.4 points at home. Michigan destroyed Nebraska and Minnesota on the road the past two weeks. They should continue their domination against an Indiana team that ranks 117th of 133 teams based on data from the current season.
NFL: Detroit will beat Tampa Bay by 3.0 points on the road. I was wrong about fading the Detroit offense this preseason, as they rank 5th in my adjusted passing success rate. A pass defense rank of 21st is not great but an improvement from previous seasons.
Smarter sports betting in less than 5 minutes
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