Baltimore Ravens Set Sights on Top Seed in Pivotal Showdown Against Miami Dolphins' MVP Contenders

Baltimore Ravens Set Sights on Top Seed in Pivotal Showdown Against Miami Dolphins’ MVP Contenders

The Ravens (12-3) will secure the top seed — and home field advantage throughout the playoffs — if they can beat Sunday’s opponents Miami but the Dolphins (11-4) know a victory will give them a chance of grabbing that slot in the final week.

It promises to be an epic encounter between two teams who have secured their playoff berths, enhanced by two of the most exciting quarterbacks in the league, the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa.

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Jackson is currently the favourite to be named the league’s Most Valuable Player having thrown for 3,357 yards and 19 touchdowns and has added 786 rushing yards.

Tagovailoa has produced even better numbers in his career best season — a league best 4,214 passing yards and completion percentage (70.5%) and is second in yards per attempt (8.5) while delivering 26 passing touchdowns.

Ravens are having season they were supposed to have last year

Jackson’s chances are boosted though by the fact that the Ravens have had a tough schedule defeating nine teams with a winning record while until Miami beat the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve, there were questions about their ability to beat the league’s top teams.

The pundits also note that Tagovailoa benefits from having the NFL’s fastest and best receiver in Tyreek Hill as part of an explosive offense.

After Beating Several Top Teams, Ravens Now Take On 49ers

But the Miami quarterback, who has put last year’s concussion-plagued season well behind him, might yet be able to pip Jackson to the award if he can lead the Dolphins to wins over the Ravens and the Buffalo Bills on the final day of the season.

Asked this week about the MVP award, Tagovailoa said he couldn’t care less but he was effusive in his appreciation of his opposite number.

“He’s a baller. That’s flat-out what he is and that’s what he does. He’s a game-changer with what he can do in the pocket, throwing the ball deep, on the run. And then he can make you miss with his legs. So, I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” he said.

The feeling is mutual and Jackson said he has admired Tagovailoa since he emerged at the University of Alabama.

“I just fell in love with his game then and his poise. I believed he was going to win the Heisman (Trophy) one year. I messaged him, and I was like, ‘You need to win a Heisman. I voted for you.'” he said.

Baltimore Ravens Open as 'Big Underdogs' vs. San Francisco 49ers - Sports  Illustrated Baltimore Ravens News, Analysis and More

“His game is great. He’s a phenomenal quarterback. He just has to keep doing what he’s doing – just not this week,” he said.

There is plenty on the line across the league this weekend and the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, can make it into the playoffs despite some poor recent results.

The Chiefs (9-6) have lost four of their last six games but a win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday would clinch the AFC West title.

The San Francisco 49ers could take the top seed in the NFC if they win at the Washington Commanders and Detroit and Philadelphia lose,

The Lions are at the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday but the play-off bound Eagles are strong favourites at home to the 3-12 Arizona Cardinals.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl winners in 2020, will seal a place in the playoffs with a win over the New Orleans Saints.

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