Baltimore Sun staff members give their thoughts on the Ravens' game against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 12 of the NFL season.
Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: The Jets were just what the doctor ordered for the Ravens. It wasn't a complete game by any means for the Ravens, who struggled in the red zone and missed several opportunities. But it was plenty good enough against the Jets and their inept offense. With an inconsistent offense of their own, the Ravens are going to have to win this way going forward. Lean on their defense and special teams and hope their offense can be opportunistic. It worked to perfection today as the Ravens kept their playoff hopes alive.
Aaron Wilson, reporter: Despite repeated red-zone failures and a running game unable to gain traction against the New York Jets' top-ranked run defense, the Ravens managed to win handily behind a long touchdown catch by Jacoby Jones on a rarely seen big play, four field goals from Justin Tucker and a defense that kept pressuring and confusing turnover-prone rookie quarterback Geno Smith. The victory improved the Ravens' record to 5-6 as they remain relevant in the AFC wild-card race heading into a Thanksgiving night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Matt Vensel, reporter: That was the closest thing to a complete game that we have seen from the Ravens all season, though the Jets probably deserve some of the credit. Geno Smith was so awful, you can see why they like using the Wildcat so much. And the Ravens finally generated some big plays in the passing game, including a long touchdown to Jacoby Jones that Ed Reed could not make a play on. This one was a snoozer from the start, but it was a huge win for the Ravens, who will be playing another must-win game four days from now.
Mike Preston, columnist: The NFL should be ashamed of itself. The league has reached a point where these games are no longer entertaining.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: Joe Flacco and Jacoby Jones hooked up for the highlight reel, but this game was won in the trenches. The Ravens defense stifled the Jets and won the turnover battle. Justin Tucker provided the first four scores, which is a good news/bad news proposition, since the offense didn’t exactly dazzle anyone in the red zone. Now, if they can just deliver a similar performance against the Steelers on Thursday, they will be re-established as a legit playoff contender.
Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens' defense was way too much for mistake-prone rookie Geno Smith. But there were still troubling signs from the 19-3 victory, especially the offense's inability to capitalize on exceptional field position. Regardless, the Ravens are set up for a huge game on Thanksgiving against their archrivals from Pittsburgh. The winner could be the favorite for the final AFC wild-card berth.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: The Ravens might be good enough to beat the Jets, but if this offense shows up Thursday, they aren't going to beat the Steelers. The Steelers will crush the gimmick plays. The defense was solid against a rookie quarterback in suspect conditions. Special teams really saved the day. Owner Steve Bisciotti should force coach John Harbaugh to go to a Clock Management 101 class this offseason. Harbaugh still doesn't know how to use his timeouts.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun