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Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

In a literal sense, the 6-5 Browns need to win more than the 7-3 Ravens Sunday night. But if they lose, the Ravens' divisional record would be 0-2, with both losses at home and games at Pittsburgh and Cleveland looming. They really need to win just as much Sunday night.

The Ravens' up-and-down defense seemingly has an opportunity to build momentum Sunday night, as the Browns have scored just 20 points on their last 19 possessions. But a good defensive outing can't happen without a somewhat decent job of limiting Nick Chubb, who averages a league-best 6.0 yards per carry.

Looks like Sunday night could mark the first time in 2021 that Lamar Jackson and all of his top receivers and running backs are active. But no matter who plays, the offensive game plan begins with helping tackle Alejandro Villanueva keep the Browns' Myles Garrett from blowing everything up.

With all four teams over .500 heading into Week 12, the AFC North should produce one dogfight after another down the stretch. If I'm the first-place Ravens, I'm most worried about the Bengals, who have the fewest injuries and five of their last seven games at home.

Nick Boyle's one-sentence summation of the knee injury that sidelined him for a year was sobering: "I had a hamstring, meniscus, PCL, MCL, a little fracture." Yikes. It underscores the extent of the major triumph he quietly celebrated last Sunday by playing 32 snaps in his first game back.

I'm sure the Ravens will carefully monitor Boyle's load, but 32 is more snaps than any Baltimore tight end not named Mark Andrews has played in a game in 2021. Andrews is having a terrific season while playing a ton. He can use some help as the season grows long.

I'm guessing the Ravens wouldn't mind bringing Trace McSorley back at some point, if it's possible, after guiding his early-career development. But with Tyler Huntley seemingly having grabbed the backup quarterback role with both hands after winning a game, McSorley may decide he has better opportunities elsewhere.

To be clear, after paying Robert Griffin III $2.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2020, according to Spotrac, the Ravens decided No. 2 quarterback was a place where they could get away with going younger and cheaper. It was a gamble and they won when Huntley beat the Bears.

Even with Latavius Murray back, it appears Devonta Freeman is the Ravens' No. 1 running back as he had 16 carries against the Bears and is averaging 13 carries over the past three games. One possible reason: Freeman is averaging 4.6 yards per carry while Murray is averaging 3.5.

Devin Duvernay's season to date: 23 catches, three carries as a rusher, 20 punt returns and 13 kickoff returns for 59 overall touches. That's an average of nearly six touches per game, which speaks to how much the Ravens want to utilize his speed even though he isn't starting.

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