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50 Words or Less: Ravens Are Stiff-Arming the Hype

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

The Ravens are looking to win their third straight game and show that last week's big win against the Detroit Lions wasn't a flash in the pan.

Here are my thoughts on this week and Sunday's game in Arizona, all in 50 words or less:

The Ravens' 32-point win over the Lions made them sports talk show darlings this week, but Baltimore has stiff-armed the hype. The tenor this week at The Castle has been serious about maintaining consistency following the offensive breakout. The Ravens are locked in against a letdown versus the one-win Cardinals.

The 2019 Ravens started 2-2 before their offense caught fire and the defense improved, resulting in a 12-game winning streak full of blowouts. This year, the defense has been rolling from the jump and the offense is settling into Todd Monken's system. This team could go on a similar run.

Kurt Warner's breakdown of Baltimore's offense against Detroit made some fair points, but you could pull up the film on any team any week and find a handful of clips where it didn't look good. That's how it works in the NFL. I'll take that level of execution every week.

The wild part of Zay Flowers' historic start is there's room for so much more. Every week, it feels like Flowers could go off. He's tied for No. 37 in the NFL in targets (19) of 10+ yards down the field. The next step is unlocking Flowers' deep game.

Let's take stock of Ravens defenders having career years: Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen, Justin Madubuike, Brandon Stephens, Geno Stone, Kyle Van Noy … who am I missing? Jadeveon Clowney is having a resurgence. Young players such as Kyle Hamilton and Travis Jones are taking off. That's an impressive list.

The Marquise Brown trade two years ago was a shocker, but it looks mighty good now. Tyler Linderbaum is an integral anchor in the middle of the offensive line. The Ravens missed "Hollywood" last year when they were short-handed at wide receiver, but Flowers has filled the void.

Ravens fans were practically catatonic Wednesday when Roquan Smith didn't practice because of a shoulder issue. He's good to go, and I love his mentality. "As long as the sun rises on Sunday, and as long as I have breath, I'll be on the field," Smith said. What a leader.

Brown is the player the Ravens must concern themselves with most on Sunday, but he's not the only Cardinal with big-play potential. Check out 45-yard touchdown run speedster Rondale Moore hung on the Cowboys in Week 3. Michael Wilson also had a 69-yard catch and run in that upset win.

Still, the Ravens should win Sunday's game if they simply play a clean game. Baltimore has had only one game without a turnover this season (Week 2 in Cincinnati) and the Ravens' seven fumbles lost are tied for the second-most in the league. Cleaning that up is a top priority.

How's this for weird stat of the week? If the Ravens win Sunday, Kevin Zeitler will have beaten every single team in the NFL at least once. He would become just the No. 17 player and third offensive lineman to do so since 1991. He'd join a who's who of players.

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