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OTL: Pressure? “We’re in the Diamond-Making Business”

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Roquan Smith diamonds OTL

We’ve reached the time of the year where the money is made in the NFL. As we know all too well, regular season achievements mean very little when not backed up by playoff runs, and the Ravens are poised to silence critics of seasons past with a statement win on Saturday afternoon.

Facing an exciting young Houston Texans team poses an interesting challenge. On one hand, they’re inexperienced and could struggle in a hostile playoff environment. On the other, they have absolutely nothing to lose, facing a team that could see a tremendous season scarred for a second time in five years.

Nonetheless, the Ravens are opening as massive favorites:

It’s reassuring to see Vegas leaning Baltimore’s way so heavily, but for a team used to being the underdog, it’s not necessarily a comfortable feeling. It doesn’t look like the Ravens care, frankly:

Roquan Smith certainly doesn’t care – he’s ready to raise the bar, if anything:

For Odell Beckham Jr, the mindset has been “intense” long before the postseason, and it won’t change before facing Houston:

But as with most things for the Ravens, it all starts with Lamar Jackson, who similarly has looked locked in for the last few months.

Baltimore’s franchise QB has one goal in mind: the Super Bowl. To get there, he’s ready for all obstacles:

The approach Jackson seems to be taking is infectious, and Ryan Mink put together a great story on it here:

At the same time, much of Jackson’s success is not individual, and as big a facet as the talent around him is, their availability is just as critical. Here’s Wednesday’s injury report:

The big names returning is the key here, particularly with a certain Pro Bowl TE getting back up to speed, as well:

Getting Mark Andrews back would be huge, and would be yet another testament of the upgraded strength and conditioning room at 1 Winning Drive. Credit must be given where it’s due, and Jonas Shaffer writes about the impact it’s making:

The Ravens have still had their fair share of injuries this season, particularly at the Running Back position, but many have felt more freak incidents than recurring problems. In years past, that wasn’t the case.

Looking ahead to this weekend and the (hopeful) playoff run that ensues, it’s interesting to see how similar 2024 could shape out to Baltimore’s previous Super Bowl run:

Either way, Charm City has to be out in full force, as Spencer Schultz says here:

This should be fun!

The post OTL: Pressure? “We’re in the Diamond-Making Business” appeared first on Russell Street Report.


Source: https://russellstreetreport.com/2024/01/17/out-to-lunch/otl-pressure-were-in-the-diamond-making-business/


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