Baltimore Ravens: Rookie Lamar Jackson was named the starter over Joe Flacco on Wednesday with endorsements from Flacco and coach John Harbaugh. Flacco said he felt like Jackson played well enough to remain the starter while the veteran nursed a hip injury. Harbaugh said his head and heart told him Jackson was the right man for the job, at least for Week 15. As for Jackson, he wouldn’t take the bait when asked if the Ravens were his team now. “It’s our team. All of us together. I don’t go out there and block. I don’t go out there and catch the ball. I don’t make tackles. I just do my part. It’s all our team,” he said.
Cincinnati Bengals: Wide receiver Tyler Boyd is 10 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards in 2018, which might be a surprise to some. Quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel were on the Boyd breakout bandwagon months ago. “Andy and I were talking back in OTAs and training camp, and we were saying every day, ‘Man, Tyler looks awesome. Tyler’s going to have a huge year,’” Driskel said. “All the momentum that he built up in the offseason program really carried over this season. He’s been a huge playmaker for us. He’s made tough plays all year long, and he’s going to continue to do so. He’s had a great year, and he’s a guy we want to get the ball.” Boyd, a second-round pick in 2016, has 72 receptions for 990 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Cleveland Browns: Not in a few moons has a Browns quarterback been able to breathe the phrase “playoff contender” in December and be taken seriously, but Baker Mayfield said Cleveland is pounding that point home ahead of Thursday’s game at Denver. A Browns win, coupled with a Steelers loss to the Patriots and Ravens loss to the Buccaneers, kicks open the playoff possibility matrix for the Browns in the AFC North as well as the wild-card picture. “Absolutely. Like I said after the game, we have to take it one week at a time,” Mayfield said. “You have to have a big picture mindset but also be able to focus in on the task at hand. Right now, everybody knows. We have talked about it. We are still in that hunt. We said it a couple of weeks ago. We just have to handle this week. That is the important thing.”
Pittsburgh Steelers: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admits it’s a bad time to be frustrated, but the New England Patriots should jar the Steelers back into focus after three straight losses. Since he entered the NFL, the Steelers are 3-9 against the Patriots, and Pittsburgh has no margin for error with a half-game lead on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. “We can only control this week. We have had opportunities. We just for whatever reason haven’t found a way to do it,” said Roethlisberger. “I don’t think it’s from a lack of sense of urgency. It could be lack of execution, lack of one thing here or there. We understand what it takes to get it done. We just have to do it. We realize what’s at stake. Not panic.”
—Field Level Media