New York Jets: Top 5 things to know ahead of Baltimore Ravens matchup

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on before the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 08, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on before the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 08, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets travel to play the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football. Here are the top 5 things to know ahead of the matchup.

The New York Jets are struggling at 5-8 and things don’t get easier this week vs the red hot Baltimore Ravens.

Before you enjoy the matchup on Thursday Night Football, we spoke with our friends over at Ebony Bird (FanSided sister network covering everything Baltimore Ravens related).

Here are the top five things you need to know ahead of the game featuring Lamar Jackson, the hostile environment the Jets will face, and so much more!

1. Lamar Jackson is the front runner for the NFL’s MVP award, how did this happen?

The biggest catalyst for Lamar Jackson’s transformation from year-one to year-two has been the play-calling by offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Roman was Colin Kaepernick’s OC back when the San Francisco 49ers went to Super Bowl and ultimately lost to the Baltimore Ravens (humble brag).

Roman has created an offense tailor-made to Jackson’s strengths, which involves a lot of roll-outs and simple passing to complement his passing strengths.

The addition of Mark Ingram has kept defenses honest and unable to play to neutralize Jackson’s running ability. There’s no one to thank more for Jackson’s improvement than Roman.

2. With how the season is playing out, the AFC playoffs could run through Baltimore. What kind of hostile environment is M&T Bank Stadium?

The atmosphere at M&T Bank Stadium is one of the most intoxicating in all of football. The fan base has totally bought in to the team every year and you can tell by the lack of opposing team’s colors in the crowd. The crowd noise is at an elite level, giving the Ravens a massive advantage over their opponents. It also helps that the cold-weather plays into the strength of the team.

3. I know the offense is getting all the credit from the outside looking in, but it seems like the defense has been elite this year for the Ravens. Who are all the straws that stir the drink to make that possible?

Baltimore’s defense is getting hot at the right time. They opened up the season with some sloppy performances, but they’ve tightened up significantly.

The addition of Marcus Peters has been the biggest reason for the turnaround, as he’s played like one of the best defensive backs in the league. Peters has a legitimate case to be made for Defensive Player of the Year behind his five interceptions, three of which have been returned for touchdowns.

The front-seven has been captained by Matt Judon, who has a career-high 8.5 sacks. Throw in elite play from Marlon Humphrey and you have a defense that can go toe-to-toe with the best offenses the NFL has to offer.

The #Jets Zone w/ @BoyGreen25 feat @RichieBradz36, @Ebony_Bird:– Preview #NYJvsBAL.– Where did this version of Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) come from?– Why #RavensFlock vs #TakeFlight may be a closer game on #TNF than you think. #Ravens

— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) December 10, 2019

4. There were a lot of rumors last offseason that John Harbaugh and the Ravens were headed for a divorce, were those just rumors or was there real beef between them (if so why). What’s the relationship like now between the coach and the team?

Without having any real sources to back this up, the rumors were more of an outcry from the fan base than the front office. Baltimore has always expressed major confidence in John Harbaugh as the team’s head coach and the players absolutely love him.

Harbaugh’s commitment to Lamar Jackson late last season and during a brutal playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers really showed off his confidence in the team’s future. It’s paid off, to say the least. To really drive the point home, the front office and ownership have complete confidence in Harbaugh and he will continue coaching the Ravens for the unforeseeable future.

5. I’m afraid to ask this question, but how do you see this game playing out and what’s the damage at the end of this one?

The New York Jets defense is sneaky good, and the interior of the offensive line will be tested against Quinnen Williams (provided he is healthy) and company.

Baltimore needs to prove they can put up the numbers through the air to complement their rushing attack; something that can be done vs. the Jets.

New York Jets: 4 guys they should keep, 4 guys they should ditch. Next

This game will come down to how well Sam Darnold, the ultimate Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of second-year quarterbacks, plays vs. the Ravens defense. If he brings his A-game, New York can keep it within 10 points. If not, it could get ugly fast. Final score prediction: 27 Ravens 14 Jets