Maggie's Pre-Game Six Pack - 2021 Week 15

Did you know a flock of Ravens is called an unkindness? Now you do, and hopefully the Packers can bring their own brand of unkindness to Baltimore on Sunday. Here are six things to consider going into Green Bay’s Week 15 matchup: 

1. A Flock Above the Rest

Per the dope sheet, the Ravens are currently on a 13-game winning streak against NFC teams. That’s the longest streak by an AFC team versus the NFC since the New England Patriots had a 17-game winning streak ranging from 2005-2009. 

The Ravens entered the 2021 season on a 10-game win streak against NFC opponents before sweeping the rest of the NFC North this season, all in tight one-score games. Baltimore beat Detroit 19-17 in Week 3, Minnesota 34-31 in overtime in Week 9, and Chicago 16-13 in Week 11. 

You’d have to go all the way back to Week 8 of the 2018 season to find a Ravens loss to an NFC team, and that was a 36-21 loss against the Carolina Panthers. That was so long ago Za’Darius Smith was still on the team and tallied one quarterback hit in the game. 

Also worth noting, the Packers and Ravens have only played each other six times, making Baltimore about as uncommon an opponent as they come. 

2. Throwing a Rave(n) 4th Down 

The Ravens are so good on fourth down conversions they should basically be throwing parties. The unit is 1st in the NFL on fourth down offense converting 12-of-17 downs for a 70.6% success rate. 

What’s interesting, though, is that Baltimore is towards the bottom of the league on third downs. The Ravens are 26th in the NFL on third down conversions, going 62-of-173 for only a 35.8% success rate. 

For context, the Packers rank 11th and 10th in third and fourth down conversions, respectively, completing 41.7% of third down conversions and 61.1% of fourth down conversions. John Harbaugh is one of the more aggressive head coaches in the NFL, so the Packers need to keep the Ravens in third-and-long situations on Sunday. 

3. Maybe No Action for Jackson

Jackson is currently dealing with an ankle injury and it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll be able to suit up for Sunday’s game. On the season, Jackson has thrown 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a completion percentage of 64.4%. He’s also taken a whopping 38 sacks in his 12 games. 

If Jackson can’t go, second-year backup Tyler Huntley would get the start. Huntley started one game already for Baltimore this season, the 16-13 victory over Chicago. In that game, Huntley threw for 219 yards with one interception and was sacked six times. When he filled in after Jackson went down against Cleveland last week, he threw for 270 yards and one touchdown giving him a rating of 99.7. He also had six rushing attempts for 45 yards. 

The loss of Jackson would also significantly impact the running game. After second-year running back J.K. Dobbins tore his ACL during the preseason, the bulk of Baltimore’s rushing duties have been handled by Jackson. He leads the team in rushing yards with 133 attempts for 767 yards and two touchdowns. Behind him are Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray, who have 182 combined attempts for 700 yards and nine scores. 

4. Fowl Injury Luck

If there’s one team in the NFL that understands what the Packers have gone through this season on the injury front, it’s the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens currently have 17(!) players on injured reserve while the Packers have 10. 

Not only might the team be without Jackson, but the injury report in Baltimore is extensive. As of Thursday, Jackson, Calais Campbell, Marquise Brown, Tyre Philips, Ben Powers, Patrick Ricard, Alejandro Villanueva, and Brandon Williams were listed with the “did not practice” designation. Campbell is an All-Pro defensive tackle with 1.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits on the season, and Marquise Brown is second on the team in targets (107), receptions (70), and yards (866), with six touchdowns on the season. What’s more, Powers and Villanueva are two starting offensive linemen for the Ravens, with Philips serving as the team’s primary backup lineman.

Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark was also added to the COVID-19/Reserve List on Thursday, so his status for Sunday’s game is doubtful. It’s likely Green Bay will also be without receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion), tight end Dominique Dafney (ankle), and starting right tackle Billy Turner (knee), though the Packers seemed to get good news on Turner’s injury and expect to have him back sometime this season. 

Additionally, while it’s unclear if David Bakhtiari and Jaire Alexander will be available for Sunday’s game, both were practicing this week and could see action on Christmas Day against the Browns if they don’t suit up this week versus Baltimore.

5. Mark Him Down

Despite all of the injuries the Ravens have faced this season, they still have their standout on offense in tight end Mark Andrews. Andrews leads all tight ends this season with 926 yards and six touchdowns. He’s already set career highs with targets (109), receptions (75), and yards. He’s also found his way into the record books. Andrews set a single-season franchise receiving record for Baltimore tight ends in Week 14 when he reached 926 total yards, and that number will continue to climb in the team’s final four regular season games. 

He’s had three games with over 100 receiving yards this season, including last week when he caught Huntley’s lone touchdown pass against the Browns. Against Cleveland, Andrews caught all 11 of his targets for 115 yards. 

(Note: After Thursday Night Football, Travis Kelce leads now tight ends with 1,066 yards. Andrews led the position group prior to Week 15.)

6. Playing for Hats and T-Shirts 

In 2019, Green Bay was able to clinch the division against Minnesota on Dec. 23. Before the game, Za’Darius Smith tweeted out that all he wanted for Christmas was a hat and a t-shirt. That was in Week 16. Now this year, in Week 15, the Packers will have the opportunity to lock up the NFC North before Christmas once again. 

To win the North, one of two things needs to happen. If Green Bay beats or ties Baltimore on Sunday, the North belongs to the Packers. If Green Bay were to lose on Sunday, as long as the Vikings also lose or tie, the Packers still claim the North. That’s a big ask, though, as Minnesota is in contention for a Wild Card spot and will play the Bears on Monday Night Football. It’s the first time this season the division rivals will meet, with the second matchup coming in Week 18 to close out the regular season. 

 

----------------------------

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

10 points

Comments (3)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
jont's picture

December 17, 2021 at 08:28 am

The Raven's #2 QB is not bad. I watched his games, and he's a level above Fields-- I think there's no doubt about it.
He runs really well, Lamar-like, and clearly meshes with the offense the Ravens run with Lamar. Their whole plalybook is open with him in there.
Raven fans must be really frustrated with their last two games. They should have won both. Granted they were Pittsburgh and Cleveland, but this will be a tough game.

5 points
5
0
PatrickGB's picture

December 18, 2021 at 12:57 pm

I agree, it will be tough. Not having Clark against a tough running team is worrisome. Also, special teams will be an…adventure.

0 points
0
0
PatrickGB's picture

December 18, 2021 at 12:59 pm

Maggie, thanks for the puns.

1 points
1
0