The time has come for the Ravens to dominate

Point of No Return

We live, we learn. That’s how life’s supposed to work, right? We start out with “clean chalkboards” in our brains, not really understanding anything at all and only processing the basic needs we need to survive as humans — eating, sleeping, absorbing water, checking our Facebook accounts while driving 75 miles per hour along Omar Road while pounding down a quadruple bacon-cheeseburger...

But I digress. And quite early this week, I might add.

Regardless, part of this exercise we call life is the notion that we continue to learn. We learn from the guidance of others who have had more experiences. We learn from our peers. We learn from books and movies and other stimuli around us. And, if we are fortunate enough to pay attention and utilize a little humility, we learn from our own previous mistakes in life.

I’ve learned not to put my hand on a hot stove, based on an unfortunate choice in my youth. I’ve learned to not eat raw Hungarian wax peppers to prove a point, and I’ve learned that 2 a.m. at a bar is not the best time to make life-decisions. I’ve also learned that talking trash rarely results in a positive outcome.

To be clear, I’ve learned that last one. But I haven’t yet evolved to the point of instilling it in my day-to-day life.

You see, I am an unapologetic fan of the Baltimore Ravens. Actually, I’m an unapologetic fan of the 14-2, top-seeded Baltimore Ravens, kings of the AFC North, masters of the AFC realm, leader of First Men and mothers of dragons. Well, I might have gotten caught up in the moment a little bit there, but you get my drift — this is about to be an unbelievably obnoxious column to read if you happen to be a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots or any other inferior franchise that just hates to see the Ravens do well.

So, basically, all of you non-Ravens fans.

The Ravens, with all of their regular-season success this season, sat out the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs last weekend on a bye, thus allowing all those lesser playoff teams the chance to shine one last time before the big guys steal the spotlight this weekend. First up on the Ravens checklist? The Tennessee Titans, who will take their beating at M&T Bank Field in Baltimore Saturday night in front of a national television audience.

Editor’s note: I’m terrified of the Titans. I’m actually terrified of every team the Ravens face at any time, but false bravado is as American as apple pie, baseball and crushing personal debt. And I am indeed a Yankee Doodle Dandy, so... back to our show.

The Ravens are led by the 23-year-old wunderkind at quarterback, Lamar Jackson, the second-year starter who has compiled a regular-season record of 20-3 since taking over the offense from Joe Flacco halfway through last season.

Jackson is an electric athlete who can beat teams with both his legs and his arm, and, maybe most importantly, with his mind. He has also proven deft at deflecting individual praise toward his teammates and coaches, and shrugs away talk of his physical gifts as gifts from God that he has an obligation to harness. So, he’s a good kid.

And he is ridiculously exciting. He broke the all-time NFL record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback, led the Ravens to beating the all-time record for most rushing yards in a season by a team, led the entire NFL in passing touchdowns with 36 and generated more “ooh” and “ahh” moments than most July 4 firework celebrations.

Is that good? It feels like that’s good.

Editor’s note: It is good.

Riding a 12-game winning streak into the playoffs, the Ravens are without a doubt one of the contenders to win the Lombardi Trophy. Sure, there are no bad teams left at this time of the year, but I don’t see a single team out there capable of topping the Ravens in this year’s tournament.

Editor’s note: I can see every single team left in the playoffs beating the Ravens on the proverbial “any given Sunday.”

It all starts Saturday night. The prediction here is the Ravens jump out to a big first-half lead behind Jackson and an aggressive defense, and put their foot on the gas pedal until the fourth quarter, when the back-ups will come in for some mop-up duty before sending the Titans home to Nashville. Jackson will throw for three touchdowns, run for another, and the defense will score one off a Titans turnover. It will be complete domination, from the opening whistle to the last.

Let’s go with 45-13, Ravens.

Editor’s note: I’ll take 14-13, if we’re being honest.