Ravens vs. Seahawks scouting report for Week 9: Who has the edge?

The Ravens hung on to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 31-24. The Seahawks rallied late to defeat the Cleveland Browns, 24-20. Who will have the edge when these playoff contenders meet Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium?

Ravens passing game vs. Seahawks pass defense

Lamar Jackson struggled to find open targets against an Arizona defense that rushed three or four and dropped seven or eight in coverage to take away his primary reads. Instead of consistently hitting his check down receivers, Jackson held the ball, giving the Cardinals time to disturb him. He averaged 5.8 yards per attempt, 2 yards below his season average. Jackson did niftily adjust his arm angle to connect with tight end Mark Andrews for Andrews’ team-leading sixth touchdown of the season. Jackson’s other favorite target, rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers, caught five passes for just 19 yards against Arizona, finding no space to get loose on quick screens. On the plus side, 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman flashed signs of breaking out, especially when he wrestled a 29-yard reception away from his defender in the first quarter. Jackson’s pass protection was decent, but left tackle Ronnie Stanley allowed four pressures, three hurries and a sack, per Pro Football Focus.

Jackson will have to play more patiently against the Seahawks, who, like the Cardinals, blitz infrequently. They rank just 19th in DVOA against the pass but have played better than that in recent weeks. In an Oct. 15 loss at Cincinnati, Seattle held Joe Burrow to 185 yards on 35 attempts, and opponents have averaged just 5.6 yards per pass attempt overall. Rookie Devon Witherspoon, the No. 5 pick in the 2023 draft, wasted no time becoming one of the league’s top all-around cornerbacks. He already has eight passes defended and two sacks. Safety Jamal Adams remains a frightening blitz threat from the secondary. Weakside linebacker Boye Mafe and nose tackle Jarran Reed have been the Seahawks’ most productive pass rushers, but they added serious help at the trade deadline in defensive end Leonard Williams, who gave the Ravens problems when he played for the New York Giants.

EDGE: Even

Seahawks passing game vs. Ravens pass defense.

Quarterback Geno Smith has played well for much of the season but has undermined himself by throwing five interceptions over his past three games. Smith is completing 67.6% of his passes after he led the league at 69.8% last year and has dynamic targets in wide receivers Tyler Lockett (35 catches, 370 yards, three touchdowns) and D.K. Metcalf (27 catches, 404 yards) and tight end Noah Fant (14 catches on 16 targets, 16.1 yards per catch). His pass protection is iffy. Left tackle Charles Cross has yet to live up to his billing as the No. 9 pick in the 2022 draft. The Seahawks displayed split personalities in their win over Cleveland, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, managing just a field goal over their next eight possessions, then rallying to score the game winner in the last two minutes.

After facing the No. 2 pass defense by DVOA last week, the Seahawks will take on No. 1 in Baltimore. The Ravens left Arizona angry that they had allowed a pair of long touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. But they lead the league with 31 sacks, and interceptions by cornerback Brandon Stephens and safety Geno Stone fueled the win over the Cardinals. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike continued his hot streak with another sack to push his total to a team-high 6 1/2. Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh has played well since returning from an ankle injury that kept him out four weeks. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has dialed back his blitzes in recent weeks; almost all the Ravens’ pressures and hurries against the Cardinals came from their defensive front.

EDGE: Ravens

Ravens running game vs. Seahawks run defense

The Ravens used their run game to score in the red zone and keep Arizona at bay in the second half. Gus Edwards delivered 80 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, signaling that he’s ready to carry the load when the Ravens need to play power football. He has rushed for more yards than Jackson, who picked up just 17 on five carries against the Cardinals. The Ravens mixed up their attack with a jet sweep to Bateman that went 18 yards. They rank third in the league in rushing and eighth in yards per attempt.

They’ll take on a solid Seattle run defense that ranks eighth in DVOA. Ageless linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks in tackles and still grades as one of the top run defenders in football, per Pro Football Focus. His younger partner in the middle, Jordyn Brooks, has also played well. Seattle doesn’t have a dominant interior run defender, though Williams will fortify their front.

EDGE: Ravens

Seahawks running game vs. Ravens run defense

The Seahawks rank 19th in rushing and 11th in yards per attempt, relying on an efficient pair of young running backs in Kenneth Walker III (516 yards, six touchdowns) and Zach Charbonnet (5.8 yards per carry). They rarely go high-volume on the ground but rushed for 114 yards on 17 attempts against Cleveland’s excellent run defense. Smith isn’t much of a threat to take off.

The Ravens gave up a surprising 129 yards on 32 carries against the Cardinals, who were playing without their top running back. Linebacker Roquan Smith was back on form with 11 tackles after a mediocre performance the previous week against Detroit. Nose tackle Michael Pierce played as dominant a game as you’ll see from an interior lineman, stuffing multiple plays at the line of scrimmage. Fellow bruiser Travis Jones is also enjoying a quiet breakout in his second season. The Ravens rank fifth in DVOA against the run.

EDGE: Ravens

Ravens special teams vs. Seahawks special teams

Nelson Agholor failed to recover an onside kick, and Justin Tucker banged a 53-yard attempt off the left upright against the Cardinals. Tucker has made just one of four attempts from beyond 50 yards this season. Jordan Stout was excellent, burying four of his five punts inside Arizona’s 20-yard line. The Ravens rank 18th in special teams DVOA, thanks to Tucker’s relative inconsistency and to their early-season struggles in punt coverage.

Seattle kicker Jason Myers has missed four field goal attempts this season, making just one of three from beyond 50 yards. Punter Michael Dickson is a Pro Bowl candidate. Returner DeeJay Dallas has also stood out, averaging 12.7 yards on punts and 25.7 on kickoffs.

EDGE: Seahawks

Ravens intangibles vs. Seahawks intangibles

The Ravens avoided a full-on letdown in Arizona and will enjoy a run of three straight home games after they pumped up their frequent-flyer miles in October. They’re one of the best teams in the league by record and the best by DVOA. They’re the healthiest they have been since their season opener. They did not make a move at the trade deadline a day after coach John Harbaugh said he did not see a glaring hole in their roster. Now, they’ll have to prove it against a fierce remaining schedule.

The Seahawks are also feeling good, with a return to the playoffs firmly in sight after their comeback against the Browns. They’re not great at any one thing but good at many, and they added a significant defender in Williams. Coach Pete Carroll, in his 14th season in Seattle, has taken them to the postseason 10 times. Both the Seahawks’ losses have come on the road.

EDGE: Ravens


This is a good midseason test for both teams. The Ravens will have the best playmaker in Jackson and the better all-around defense. But Seattle will make them earn drives on offense and has the weapons to punish defensive lapses. The Ravens will build another early lead and hang on with support from their home crowd. Ravens 27, Seahawks 20


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