Ravens (12-2) vs Vikings (12-2) – Week 16 GOTW Preview
Part 2 of a week 16 Double-Header! The Ravens are in a 3-way tie for first place in the AFC and the Vikings have about clinched up the top spot in the NFC. The Ravens are in a tough spot though because they lost to the 12-2 Patriots earlier in the season. So, even with a victory in their final 2 games, they do not control their own destiny and need somebody to give the Patriots a loss. The Ravens did beat the Chargers in a head to head matchup early in the season so they do have the tiebreaker there. This game can potentially be the first look at our Super Bowl this season as the Ravens look almost unstoppable with that defense and Lamar Jackson. The Ravens offense has been able to make things happen on the ground and through the air as they’re on pace to have two 1,000 yard receivers and two 1,000 yard rushers. Vikings have also proven they’re the top of the class in the NFC and can’t be taken lightly. Despite the success of the Ravens so far this year, the Vikings are a tried and true top dog in the league and their coach can scheme up anyone. This should be a good one!
Ravens & Vikings games vs common opponents
Week 4: BAL 59 – 17 CHI
Week 8: BAL 59 – DET 38
Week 14: BAL 41 – 0 GB
Week 7: MIN 34 – 24 DET
Week 6: MIN 45 – 20 GB
Week 5: MIN 34 – 16 CHI
Tale of the Tape: Baltimore Ravens
5-2 record vs .500+ opponents
+11.4 average point differential vs .500+ opponents
6th in Offensive Yards
9th in Passing Yards
7th in Rushing Yards
2nd in avg Points scored (40)
2nd in Fewest Yards allowed
3rd in Passing Defense
2nd in Rushing Defense
1st in fewest points allowed
KMFO’s Players to Watch for Ravens
Lamar Jackson. With 845yds rushing and 49 combined TDs (35 passing / 14 rushing) through 14 games, Lamar Jackson is proving to be more than any defense can handle on both the ground and in through the air. It will be interesting to see how Lamar can add to his MVP resume against the NFC’s top team.
Calais Campbell. The Vikings have one of the top rushing offenses in the league. Calais Campbell may prove to be their kryptonite though, with a league leading 21 tackles for loss, nobody has been able to run against Campbell inside. The Ravens will need that same type of dominance this week.
KMFO’s Keys to Victory for the Ravens
Continue their dominance on defense. The Ravens should be able to win this game with 21 or more points, and that’s very doable for that high powered offense.
Take care of the football. Short fields for the Vikings may be the only way they’ll get points consistently, so play the field position game and take care of the football.
Stop Dalvin Cook. If this game comes down to a rookie QB trying to singlehandedly beat the Ravens defense then Minnesota will be in for a long night.
Coaching Interview with Ravens Head Coach, Bacon:
Question: At 12-2 along with two other teams in the AFC, you’re in a very close fight for the ever elusive #1 seed for the playoffs which comes with the first round bye. How important is it to you and your team to win-out in these final two weeks and potentially win that home field advantage for the playoffs and a free pass into the divisional round? Will you be thinking about resting any starters or are you going all out to win these last 2 games?
Answer: Even being in the conversation with those teams and coaches is an honor. We’ve had a great regular season and are looking to finish strong. We play to win every game we play, contrary to popular belief, and will do the same this week. With that being said, we have a handful of players who will be game-time decisions, and getting extra reps for our young guys is going to be pivotal for building depth. We want to make a statement in the playoffs this year, and we are going to need all hands on deck to do so. Keeping some of our pivotal pieces healthy is worth more to us than a potential one seed. The way we see it, seeding doesn’t matter once you get on the field. The Vikings are a great team and tough to beat, no matter who is playing.
Question: The Vikings defense hasn’t been overwhelming in terms of stopping their opponent from getting yards, but they are a top 3 defense in points allowed. They are one of the top 5 teams in the league in defensive Redzone efficiency and have a knack of creating turnovers in a bend but don’t break kind of philosophy. What are some of your plans going into this week to be able to put points on the board so you aren’t looking at a bunch of empty yards on the stat sheet at the end of the game?
Answer: That Vikings defense is one of the best in the league. They’re the number one seed in the NFC for a reason. We know that we’re in for a dog fight and embrace the challenge. If we want to win this game, we’re going to need to be successful in the red zone and make sure we don’t have empty yards like you said. Without giving away a game plan, it is going to be important for us to run the ball and call plays that make life easy for our receivers. Their defense is tough to score on, but if we can get them out of position, we like our chances.
Tale of the Tape: Minnesota Vikings
6-2 record vs .500+ opponents
+4.8 average point differential vs .500+ opponents
15th in Offensive Yards
28th in Passing Yards
3rd in Rushing Yards
8th in Average points scored (34)
10th in Fewest Yards allowed
7th in Passing Defense
20th in Rushing Defense
3rd in Fewest Points Allowed
KMFO’s Players to Watch for Vikings
RB Dalvin Cook. The Ravens haven’t been able to get thrown against all season. They rush the passer and cover at all levels of the field better than anyone. If the Vikings are going to have some success this game on offense, Cook will need to be able to produce on the ground.
DE Danielle Hunter. The problem with defending Lamar is the QB spy that you need to slow down his scrambling. That leaves less people rushing the passes and that’s why Hunter needs to step up this game. Lamar can’t be given all day to stand back there and throw the ball, so Hunter will need to be a force on the edge in passing situations to provide a consistent pass rush even with 3 people rushing the QB.
KMFO’s Keys to Victory for the Vikings:
establish the ground game. The Vikings need to take pressure off of their rookie QB and keep him out of 3rd & long situations.
Contain Lamar Jackson. Easier said than done, and stopping him completely is just wishful thinking. You just have to limit his big plays on the ground and keep him in the pocket when he drops back to pass.
Win the 50/50 ball. Marquise Brown will provide mismatches all the time, but the Vikings can’t let Boykin moss any defenders down field for explosive plays. Any time you gave a team with two 1,000 yard receivers, there will be some plays made. However, the Vikings can’t allow any cheap plays to the Ravens.
Interview with Vikings head coach, Svperstar:
Question: Lamar Jackson is one of a kind. There just isn’t like him anywhere else in the league with the combination of his passing and running ability. He has 35 passing touchdowns on the season and 14 rushing touchdowns and nearing 1,000 yards rushing. How much does it change your defensive schemes knowing that you have to defend a guy like Lamar? Are you going to do what you do on defense and rely on your execution to win out, or are you going to completely change your scheme for this game to try and deal with this once in a lifetime talent at QB?
Answer: Lamar Jackson presents a very unique challenge. Due to the Ravens already having a solid ground game (JK Dobbins is there leading rusher, with 871 yards and 12 TDs), Lamar’s versatility as a rusher makes it even more of a headache to defend and gameplan for. I think going into the game it’s important to know that at some point you may give up a gashing run to Lamar, whether it be a broken play where your edge rusher doesn’t contain properly, or him just beating your edge rusher outside and taking a read option 25 yards down the field. The key will be to mitigate his ground game as much as we can.
Most people would want to make Lamar a passer, but he’s got two near-1000 yard receivers in Miles Boykin and Hollywood Brown, each presenting their own unique challenge. Boykin has been doing his best Jerry Moss impersonation this year and will definitely have to be accounted for. Hollywood Brown’s blazing speed and consistent threat of going deep will also make things more challenging. The defense will have their hands full this week
Question: This Ravens Defense is insane. They have incredible players all over their depth chart and they play up to their potential as well seeing as they’re raked in the top 2 in every defensive category. How do you plan on moving the ball consistently on a defense like this?
As for the Ravens defense, this arguably could be one of the top 5 defenses ever assembled based on pure talent. Calais Campbell and Marlon Humphrey were already game-wreckers with Campbell’s ability to stuff the run and Humphrey’s ability to shut down an entire side of the field. Adding a still-elite edge rusher in Von Miller and the incumbent Marcus Peters, who’s playing like a true superstar at corner makes life even more difficult for our rookie QB. Not to mention the journeyman Ryan Kerrigan, who can still be effective despite his ratings. An often overlooked aspect of this Ravens defense is their rookie edge rusher, Monty Rice, who’s currently 5th in the league with sacks.
It will be tough to move the ball on this Ravens defense but the main focus will be to limit big plays and turnovers and see what we can expose based on what we see during film study this week. I fully expect this to be one of the toughest games of the season
KMFO’s Prediction for the game:
• Ravens win, 28-17
• The Ravens Defense is just to tough for the Vikings to move the ball on consistently throughout the game. They have a young rookie QB that won’t be able to dice up the Ravens secondary, especially with the pass rush the Ravens have. And the Ravens will do enough to slow down the Vikings ground game to give them multiple chances to extend their lead throughout the game. It’ll be tough fought, but the Ravens roster will eventually prove to be too overwhelming for the Vikings.