(WJZ)- Thanks to their thrilling win Monday night over the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens are set up nicely to secure a playoff spot down the stretch. The team has the easiest remaining schedule of any of its competitors for the Wild Card with the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars, five-win New York Giants and two-win Cincinnati Bengals coming in the next three weeks.
The schedule, plus Monday night’s performance makes CBS’ Andrew Catalon believe that the Ravens are a scary group heading into postseason play if they get there.READ MORE: Delmar Police Cpl. Keith Heacook Will Be Laid To Rest Monday
“Anytime you have a game like you had Monday in Cleveland, to ride home with that type of momentum for your final three games could really jump-start a team. They needed that. They needed to feel good again. Obviously, they won the week before but they had a lot of adversity with COVID and a losing streak and things that could have derailed them,” said Catlon. “I think what they showed on Monday night is going to catapult them into the playoffs. They obviously need some help. With their schedule and Lamar Jackson, this is a team that not a lot of other AFC teams want to see in the playoffs.”
A big part of that Monday night performance was quarterback Lamar Jackson. The reigning MVP diced up the Browns defense outside of the unfortunate mishap when he had to leave the field due to what he says were cramps. Jackson totaled 287 yards and three touchdowns between the air and the ground including the go ahead touchdown pass on 4th-and-5 after returning from getting treatment for cramps in the locker room.READ MORE: Maryland Court Workers Barred From Wearing ‘Thin Blue Line’ Masks
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Catalon, who will be on the call this Sunday when the Jaguars visit M&T Bank Stadium, says that Monday’s performance showed Jackson’s improvement in an area that to this point has been a question: performing in big games.
“I think when he missed a game with COVID, he said it gave him a new perspective. That he missed the game and when he came back he wanted to have some fun. Monday night was a lot of fun for him. Obviously, he had the cramps but when he was out there on the field he was dynamic. There are so many questions about Lamar and the big games and the playoff games. Monday night was a big game. They needed that game in Cleveland. And they pulled it out,” said Catalon. “I give a lot of credit to Lamar. But, for Lamar, he showed that he can lead this team in a big spot and win the game. He came in fourth down after being in the locker room and he throws a touchdown pass. I’m really impressed with him and the way that he continues to grow. And I certainly would not count him out if Baltimore gets into the playoffs.”
The playoffs aren’t a guarantee for the Ravens. They currently sit behind Miami for the final Wild Card spot. But, FiveThirtyEight’s projection model gives them an 88 percent chance of making the playoffs and ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) is at 85.7 percent. They will need some help however from teams above them losing. The good news on that front is Miami (vs. NE, @ LV, @BUF), Cleveland (@NYG, @NYJ, PIT), and Indianapolis (HOU, @PIT, JAX) all have more difficult stretches remaining.MORE NEWS: Baltimore Mayor Announces Pilot Program To Direct Some 911 Calls To Mental Health Professionals
The Ravens host the Jaguars this Sunday, December 20 with kickoff slated for 1:00 p.m. EST on CBS.