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Bengals up next, Ravens lean toward running Lamar Jackson vs. Packers

Sportsnaut
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) sits on the ground after an injury during the first half of an NFL football game at FirstEnergy Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]Browns 3
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) sits on the ground after an injury during the first half of an NFL football game at FirstEnergy Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]Browns 3

As Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson recovers from a sprained right ankle, the team still stands perched atop the AFC North, leading the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals by one game.

Would the Ravens entertain the possibility of resting Jackson for Sunday’s visit from the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers as a date with the Bengals looms the following week?

“I would say it factors in zero percent because we’re trying to win this game,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “You want to try to get every win you can.”

Whether the Ravens (8-5) attempt to do so without Jackson while attempting to avoid a three-game losing streak appeared doubtful. Harbaugh said Wednesday that Jackson was day-to-day after injuring himself on the first play of the second quarter in a Week 14 loss in Cleveland.

Tyler Huntley, who started when Baltimore defeated the Chicago Bears 16-13 on Nov. 21 and nearly helped the Ravens recover from a 21-point deficit last week, took the starter’s reps to start the week.

“He’s shown he can be a starter in this league,” Ravens linebacker Justin Houston said. “I believe in him. That kid is special.”

The Ravens on Wednesday also signed Josh Johnson off the New York Jets’ practice squad as a possible backup.

Baltimore has committed 31 penalties over the past four games and allowed 47 sacks through 13 games, most in the NFL. Seeking their 14th consecutive victory against an NFC opponent, the Ravens figure to have a tinier margin for error if Jackson is unable to play.

“No matter who they have out there, you can count on them being tough, physical,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said.

Green Bay (10-3) has won three of four after defeating the visiting Chicago Bears 45-30 in Week 14 behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ 341 yards and four passing touchdowns.

“Simply put, one of the best to ever play the game,” Harbaugh said.

Davante Adams had 10 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown, and has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in three straight games.

The Packers can clinch the division title with a win or tie or a Minnesota Vikings loss or tie against the Bears on Monday night. Green Bay can clinch a playoff berth under numerous scenarios, with three requiring a New Orleans loss or tie to Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

Green Bay already has secured the franchise’s 10th season with double-digit victories since 2009, a mark that trails only New England (11) over that span. To earn their 11th win of the season and keep pace in the race for the NFC’s top seed, the Packers know they must shore up their special teams, which allowed 259 yards in kick and punt returns to the Bears, including a 97-yard punt return touchdown from Jakeem Grant.

“(Baltimore’s) special teams is No. 1 in the National Football League, so it’s gonna be a great challenge for us,” LaFleur said.

The Packers boast a 4-2 edge in the all-time series against the Ravens, and are 1-1 in Baltimore. While Green Bay prevailed 19-17 when the teams last met in Baltimore, in 2013, four of the six meetings were decided by at least 13 points.

–Field Level Media