Ravens coach John Harbaugh talks about the team's win over the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field.
Over the past four weeks, the Ravens have lined up and knocked down some of the NFL’s most talented teams. But after wins over the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills, a different test awaits Thursday night.
The New York Jets are 5-8 and didn’t win their second game this season until Week 10. One of their top defenders, former Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, is on injured reserve. But they’ve also won four of their past five games, and “that’s what we talk with the guys about,” coach John Harbaugh said.
“That’s all you need to know. Watch the tape; they’re playing winning football,” he said Monday. “We understand that. We know this league. Our guys don’t take anybody for granted. You never can, you never should.”
The Ravens, who can clinch their second straight AFC North crown with a win at M&T Bank Stadium, are a step up from the Jets’ recent competition. Their recent wins are over the New York Giants (2-10), Washington Redskins (3-10), Oakland Raiders (6-7) and Miami Dolphins (3-10). The Jets’ only loss in that stretch was to the then-winless Cincinnati Bengals (1-12).
Their greatest strength is their run defense, which is allowing 78.8 yards per game, second lowest in the NFL, and just 3 yards per carry, a league-best mark. The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing (200.9 yards per game).
Jets running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to return for Thursday’s game after missing Sunday’s win over the Dolphins with the flu, and Harbaugh also praised Jets second-year quarterback Sam Darnold (2,424 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions) and wide receiver Robby Anderson (43 catches for 662 yards and four touchdowns).
“I think they’re going to come in here and try to kick our butts, like any other team would," cornerback Jimmy Smith said Monday. "I don’t know if us being 11-2 makes it any different for them. I think they’re going to come in and try to win anyway.”