Here’s how The Baltimore Sun sports staff views the outcome of Sunday afternoon’s Week 15 game between the Ravens (8-5) and Green Bay Packers (10-3) at M&T Bank Stadium:
Jonas Shaffer, reporter
Packers 30, Ravens 21: The health of Lamar Jackson’s right ankle is this matchup’s most important variable. It’s also maybe the least mysterious variable in play here. If Jackson does suit up Sunday after missing a week of practice, he probably won’t be the same make-you-miss threat as a runner or the same strong-armed passing threat. Tyler Huntley is no Aaron Rodgers, but he has enough confidence in his abilities and enough talent on the roster to challenge Green Bay’s secondary. On defense, the Ravens’ best hope is shutting down the Packers’ ground game and forcing Aaron Rodgers into unmanageable third-down scenarios. If the Ravens can do that, and take advantage of their massive special teams superiority, this could come down to the wire. Again.
Mike Preston, columnist
Packers 31, Ravens 21: Unless the Ravens can dominate with their running game, they have virtually no chance of winning. They also need a big game from their special teams, which could happen because Green Bay is atrocious in that area. But this will probably be a stat-padding day for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense, especially with the Ravens missing three starters in the secondary. On any given Sunday, one team can beat another in the NFL, but it’s hard to see an upset here.
Childs Walker, reporter
Packers 28, Ravens 23: The Ravens have lost two in a row and began the week uncertain who would play quarterback against the Packers, who are competing for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. Lamar Jackson vs. Aaron Rodgers should be a glamour matchup; instead, the Ravens are legitimate underdogs at home. They’ll use their advantages in the run game and on special teams to keep this close, but Rodgers will do what he needs to do in the end.
Ryan McFadden, reporter
Packers 30, Ravens 23: If safety Chuck Clark can’t play, the Ravens will face the Packers without their entire starting secondary. Aaron Rodgers will continue to show why he’s one of the best to ever play quarterback while receiver Davante Adams will take advantage of the Ravens’ banged-up secondary. Lamar Jackson’s availability is up in the air, but even if he does play, it’s hard to imagine him keeping up with Green Bay, especially if he isn’t 100%.
C.J. Doon, editor
Packers 31, Ravens 27: Even with Lamar Jackson and a healthy defense, this would be a tough game to win. With Jackson likely out and defensive end Calais Campbell doubtful, it’s hard to find a reason to pick Baltimore. But this Packers team isn’t invincible, despite its 10-3 record. Green Bay ranks 10th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and has the league’s worst special teams unit. Aaron Rodgers is playing with a nagging toe injury, and injuries along the offensive line and to star defenders Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith have inevitably led to some cracks. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley and the Ravens defense will do enough to keep this game competitive, but Rodgers and star receiver Davante Adams is too potent a combination to contain all afternoon.
Tim Schwartz, editor
Packers 27, Ravens 17: It looks less likely by the day that Lamar Jackson will play for the Ravens, and while Tyler Huntley is a quarterback capable of leading them to victory, it’s a tall task to go toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay. The Packers are on a roll offensively and haven’t been crushed by COVID-19 like many teams around the league. Green Bay just faced a mobile quarterback in the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray and did well to contain him, meaning Huntley might not be quite as dangerous scrambling as he was against the Browns. Defensively, the Ravens don’t have a favorable matchup against wide receiver Davante Adams, whose coming off a 10-catch, 121-yard, two-touchdown performance and has 100-plus yards in three straight. Is Anthony Averett the guy to slow him down? According to Pro Football Focus, he is tied for the seventh-most catches allowed this season. Adams could be in for a big day, and the Packers have a backfield that could do well to hold any lead they get early.