After hearing that Joe Flacco’s injury was still bothering him following the bye, it was then announced that Lamar Jackson will get his first career start.
Before I get into what I expect from him, I just want to say this is big news. If Flacco’s hip keeps flaring up, who’s going to be the quarterback when he’s healthy? In fact, what’s going to happen if Jackson shreds the Bengals in his first start? There’s going to be a lot of questions in this locker room, but that’s going to depend on the outcome of the game.
As he’s done in recent years, Flacco is underperforming, so with a solid performance and a W from Lamar Jackson, the Ravens may just roll with the hot hand. They are currently sitting at 4-5 in the AFC North and with a pretty decent schedule coming up starting with a showdown against the division rival Bengals.
After a loss to the Bengals at the beginning of the year, you can bet your bottom dollar these guys are looking for revenge. The Bengals just got absolutely torched by the Saints last week, so if I’m Jackson, I’m feeling pretty confident in this one. The Bengals offense maybe top 15 in the league but their defense is far from it.
The Bengals defense is currently giving up 240 passing yards per game and about 95 rushing yards. Jackson has seen snaps throughout the season, but they have mostly been from the Wildcat formation. Sunday, we’re going to get a bit of both.
The Ravens’ run game just hasn’t been consistent so I would expect Jackson to be running the ball and scrambling out of the pocket on a good amount of his plays. In addition to killing you on the ground, he’ll finally get his chance to do it through the air. Defenses are going to be so worried about what he’s doing with the ball that it will open up the field even more.
This a guy who was able to rush for 1,500 yards and throw for at least 3,500 yards in back to back seasons at Louisville. He also added Jackson added at least 18 rushing touchdowns and 27 passing touchdowns in the same two years.
Out of all the quarterbacks taken in the first round, Baker Mayfield is my favorite, but right after him comes Lamar Jackson. I believe these two guys will ultimately be the most successful out of the young quarterbacks taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. Look for Jackson to make things happen on Sunday; yes he’s going to be throwing but I think his feet are going to help him win this job in the long run.
The only thing that would have me worried about Jackson is the fact that he may not have the chemistry with these receivers right off the bat. I don’t know how many reps he takes with the first team but hopefully, it’s just enough where him coming into the game shouldn’t put them in jeopardy.
In my opinion, I don’t see Jackson struggling too much in his debut. I’m gonna give him a final stat line of 220 passing yards, 40 rushing yards with a touchdown coming from both the air and ground.
Photo: CBS Sports