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TOP 5 PASSING MATCHUPS WEEK 18
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Baltimore at Tennessee
The Ravens haven’t offered the same fantasy-dominant firepower as in 2019. Still, this is an attack rooted in dynamic, instinctive playmakers capable of big things on every dropback. Lamar Jackson is still refining his reads and accuracy; he dipped this year in completion rate, touchdown rate, and turnover rate. But he’s always looking for a downfield play to make, and he throws to a handful of mismatch-type targets that win their one-on-one battles. Wideout Marquise Brown has struggled in recent weeks with drops, but his speed is a lethal weapon for this offense, and they’re unafraid to wield it. Brown can score on deep balls as he dropped a wide-open touchdown last week. Tight end Mark Andrews usually paces the group, and the converted wideout has posted 60+ yards in five of his last six games. The wild card is typically Miles Boykin, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder who excels on go routes and jump balls. With the Tennessee defense so weak over the middle, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Boykin break out with a few splash plays up the seams.
The Titans pass defense has flailed badly for much of the season, sitting 29th in yardage allowed and dead-last in touchdowns. But it’s been especially putrid over the past three games, allowing opponents to complete 75% of their throws at 8.5 yards apiece, with 8 scores along the way. Much of the blame lies with the nonexistent pass rush, which has failed all year to put any meaningful pressure on the quarterback. They’ve hurried passers at the league’s fourth-lowest rate; only the Bengals and Jaguars produced fewer sacks than their 19. As a result, the Tennessee secondary - which actually took a small step forward over the course of the season - winds up overburdened down the field. Over the past 3 weeks they’ve been shredded by high-volume No. 1 wideouts in Marvin Jones Jr (10 for 112 and a touchdown), Davante Adams (11 for 142 and 3), and Brandin Cooks (11 for 166 and 2). Adoree’ Jackson, Malcolm Butler, and Desmond King make for a fine cornerback trio but can only do so much when forced to chase elite receivers through the secondary for 60 minutes. And there’s little help from the safeties, with starters Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro still struggling mightily in coverage. Perhaps coach Mike Vrabel will see to getting dime safety Amani Hooker more action; he’s been a bright spot as a playmaker in centerfield coverage. But overall, this stands as one of Lamar Jackson’s friendlier matchups of the season. The Ravens don’t generally gain significant yardage through the air, but they’re set up for big efficiency in this matchup.
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