The Baltimore Ravens proved once again that they are the hottest team in the NFL after dominating the Los Angeles Rams in prime time in Week 12. They will now try to solidify their case as the league’s best team when they host a San Francisco 49ers team that has been just as impressive.
Many have already pegged this as an early preview of this year’s Super Bowl showdown. Regardless of whether or not it comes to fruition, there is no question that fans will be treated with quite the matchup.
The Ravens have notched some rather notable wins under their belt thus far after taking down the Seattle, Seahawks, New England Patriots, and Houston Texans all within the span of a month. Here are four reasons they will add the 49ers to that list in Week 13.
1. Lamar Jackson
Although the MVP debate was justified for most of the 2019 NFL season, it is now safe to say that the award is quarterback Lamar Jackson’s to lose. He is in the midst of a historic year thanks to his versatile skill set as both a runner and a passer.
He needed only 20 pass attempts to throw for five touchdowns while rushing for 96 yards on just eight carries against the Rams. While the 49ers’ defense may have solidified its status as one of the most formidable groups in the NFL after completely shutting down Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in prime time in Week 12, they should still have their work cut out trying to contain Jackson.
2. Edge On Offense
Jackson’s spectacular play has clearly had quite a heavy influence on the rest of the offense since they are clicking on all cylinders heading into the final stretch of the 2019 campaign. Running back Mark Ingram has certainly done his part to turn Baltimore into the league’s best rushing group by far with a whopping 210.5 yards per game.
Meanwhile, San Francisco finds themselves a distant second with 145.6 yards per game and it would be far-fetched to say that their passing attack is any better despite the return of tight end George Kittle. Jackson has proven more than capable of serving as the central force of the offense, however, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is still seemingly finding his rhythm whenever the run game falters.
3. Resurgent Defense
The edge on offense will certainly go a long way considering how well both of these defenses have played in recent weeks. The 49ers have sustained their high level of play for most of the season whereas the Ravens have managed to kick things up a notch over the last several games since the trade deadline.
Even if San Francisco’s defense is able to hold its own, it is far-fetched to assume that they will completely shut down the highest-scoring offense in the league. If Baltimore is able to slow down the run game and continue applying consistent pressure, Garropolo and Co. may have a much more difficult time trying to put points on the board than Jackson will.
4. Home-Field Advantage
There has understandably been plenty of hype surrounding this matchup given these are currently two of the best teams in the NFL. This appears to be a showdown that could go either way given how well they have played on both sides of the ball this year.
As a result, the home-field advantage could play a huge part in helping the Ravens extend their seven-game winning streak since fans have every reason to be as raucous as possible when their formidable opponent comes to town.