2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 12: Ravens 16, Browns 10 (By Ross Jacobs)
This was a sloppy, ugly affair between two decent but flawed teams. The Ravens won despite Lamar Jackson's 4 INT's and they are somehow now the #1 seed in the AFC.
I'll skip over all the gory details because it's just not worth it. It seemed like every other drive ended in a turnover, and every time you thought one team might get a little momentum off of a fumble or interception on defense, the offense would turn around and give it right back.
If the Browns could muster any kind of passing game they would have won going away here, but Baltimore stacked the line to stop Chubb and Hunt, daring Cleveland to pass the ball which they couldn't.
Of course, all the media can talk about all week is how it's Baker's fault and he needs to leave Cleveland. Anyone that believes that is either a sucker, blind, or an idiot. Baker is playing through countless injuries, is under pressure nearly every drop back, his receivers can't get any separation and when they do they drop the ball, and yet he's still trying to will his team to wins. If they didn't have Baker this team would have 2-3 wins max. Baker is the only thing holding them together right now.
I hope Cleveland runs him off. I really do. They don't deserve him. This team has been utter garbage for the past 20 years ever since they let some guy named Belichick walk, and they are headed right back to the trash heap if they let Mayfield go. Cleveland, you deserve all the pain you're about to endure. I hope you enjoy picking in the top 5 of every draft again.
A win here would have given the Browns new life in the race for the division, but this loss likely prevents them from pulling off the title. They'll struggle on for a few weeks and might possibly sneak into the playoffs, but this team just doesn't have enough juice to take it the distance unless something drastic changes. Their remaining schedule is tough, and they are likely to finish with either 8 or 9 wins max.
Baltimore is somehow 8-3 now, but they have to be the worst 8-3 team I've ever seen. This won't last. It's an ok team, but they do not have the firepower on either side of the ball to win 3 straight games in the playoffs against better teams. This makes two straight games where they've just barely squeaked by two average to poor teams in the Bears and the Browns by a combined 9 points and only scoring 16 each game themselves.
The Ravens still have to go through the Steelers twice, the Browns again, the Packers, Rams, and Bengals. Even though the Steelers are dying and the Browns aren't great, those games should still be competitive, and the Ravens luck is liable to run out at any time. I think they go 2-4 or 3-3 at best over the final six games and finish at either 10 or 11 wins with maybe the 3rd seed in the AFC. I don't believe they are even the 4th or 5th best actual team in the AFC though, and I won't be surprised if the Bengals can catch them. Their matchup the day after Christmas likely decides the division winner.
--When is the media going to talk about Lamar Jackson's (20-32 for 165 yards, 1 TD/4 INT, 17-68-0) limitations and the fact that he is an overrated QB? Never. Because they have already sold themselves to his cause, his story, the same way they always choose favorites. They know he's the greatest thing ever, and no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise.
I'm not even kidding, this week I have seen multiple people make the argument that because the Ravens won despite the 4 INT's, that proves that Lamar is great. I'm sorry, what?? What kind of logic is that? It's the logic of people desperate to protect their own failing narratives.
Lamar is a good football player, no doubt, he wins a lot of games, but he's also a limited passer that's going to struggle when the flow of the game doesn't go his way. He needs a lot of help to be great and luckily he has one of the better organizations behind him to provide that support, but with things slowly starting to fall apart in Baltimore, the cracks are starting to show.
In 2021, Lamar has only thrown for more than 1 TD pass in a game twice, both times in ridiculous comeback situations against teams playing prevent defenses. For the season he now has 15 TD's and 12 INT's. Those are the numbers of a pretty good rookie, not a supposed league MVP.
Jalen Hurts: 60.1% comp, 2435 yards, 13 TD, 8 INT, 122 carries, 695 yards, 8 TD
Lamar Jackson: 64.2% comp, 2612 yards, 15 TD, 12 INT, 123 carries, 707 yards, 2 TD
According to the media one of these is an MVP candidate and the other needs to be replaced ASAP because he's a backup talent at best. Rational thought is not the strong suit of most people.
--Jarvis Landry (6-111-0/10) went over 100 yards here and is still being seen as the best option on this crap WR corp, but he also stupidly fumbled a ball away trying to run/pass on a trick play. If he had thrown the ball back to Mayfield that wouldn't have happened, but Landry still thinks he's some amazing superstar receiver that can do whatever he wants like his buddy OBJ. Neither player has been good for years, but don't try to tell them that. Hopefully Cleveland sees the light and rids themselves of this problem in the off-season.
--The guy Baker was working the most after Landry was definitely Donovan Peoples-Jones (2-10-0/5), but the connection just isn't there. Peoples-Jones is a good technician but can struggle to separate from more athletic corners. He's a nice #2 and should be a part of this passing game moving forward, but his ceiling seems capped for fantasy.
--Ja'Marcus Bradley (2-18-0/2) saw his snaps scaled back after last week, but he's definitely worked his way into the rotation as the #3 guy now. He's a decent player, but I still don't see signs of special and you don't want the #3 guy for Clevealand anyways. You barely want the #1 guy.
--Don't worry about Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Baltimore sold out to shut them down. Most teams can't do that. They'll get their numbers.
--If David Njoku (3-35-1/5) could catch, this might have been a monster day for him. In fact, I'm not sure how the official stat line is 3 of 5 for him as I saw him drop 3 passes for sure. Just another perfect scouting job by RC years ahead of time. Njoku has the athleticism but butterfingers to go along with it.
--Thanks for your services D'Ernest Johnson, get back on the bench! The fact that DJ can't get even a single carry or screen pass shows how far this coaching staff has their collective heads up stuck where the sun don't shine. Hopefully Johnson gets a chance to move on to a team that actually appreciates him in free agency.
--The most interesting thing I saw in this game (you're not going to like it RC), Jeremiah Owusu-Kormoah (13 tackles, 0.5) sacks was flying all over the field making tackles. He looked fantastic, like a mix of Devin Bush and Roquan Smith.
He's been putting up around 4 tackles a game on 30-50% of the defensive snaps all year, but has gotten 80%+ three times now and has 25 tackles in those games. The numbers were a bit inflated here due to the Baltimore run game, but if he's going to be a full-time starter now, he might be up in that 8-9 tackle a game range. If you need a good LB off waivers I would jump on this. I don't believe it's a fluke.
*RC NOTE: I’m seeing good JOK numbers, but I’m not sure he’s playing great defense. He might just be in a good spot, a Joker position, to get to numbers but isn't having a big impact on the total defensive effort...he could be leaving gaps all over in his constant pursuit of tackles/the backfield/the ball. Makes a solid tackle play one snap, then is caught overplaying a fake and leaves a big chunk of the field exposed. That’s my fear with him, but it’s just speculation. I need to watch more tape of him in action. Good for IDP, possible issue for an NFL defense. We’ll see. Maybe he’s a disruptor. I won’t rule it out. From my college scouting memory, I thought he was a mediocre pursuer not a real defender in all phases.
Like how Joey Bosa is considered a franchise player but I think he hurts a defense overall...but he does get a cool sack every other game. The other 68 plays in a game, ehhhh...not so cool. He’s a good pass rusher though...you just have to hope every play is somehow 3rd & long so his game fits the situation right. *See, also: the cool-looking defensive albatross Jamal Adams.
Snap Counts of Interest
56 = Jarvis Landry
45 = Donovan Peoples-Jones
21 = Ja'Marcus Bradley
30 = Nick Chubb
23 = Kareem Hunt
6 = D'Ernest Johnson
61 = Marquise Brown
36 = Rashod Bateman
35 = Devin Duvernay
35 = Sammy Watkins
40 = Devonta Freeman
36 = Latavius Murray
2 = Ty'Son Williams