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The biggest surprise of the most recent NFL postseason was that Lamar Jackson and the Ravens did not advance past their first game in the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the Tennessee Titans.

The Ravens were favored by many to play in the AFC Championship game and that loss seems to stick with Lamar Jackson. In a recent interview on Complex’s “Load Management” podcast, Jackson spoke on their Divisional Round loss.

Don’t underestimate your opponents,” Jackson said. “They caught us by surprise. That’s all it was.

Although Jackson may have admitted to underestimating his opponent, this may not have been the case.

The Baltimore Ravens fell into a trap that several teams in NFL history have fallen into. With the number one seed in the AFC secured, coach John Harbaugh decided to rest all of his offensive starters in their week 17 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. When their playoff game came around, it had been nearly three weeks since any of their starters played any meaningful football.

In this game, the Ravens struggled to get anything done on offense and Jackson did not play particularly well. On a recent episode of “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed”, Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe compared their struggles to the 1996 Denver Broncos.

I remember Mike rested a lot of us in the last game of the season. We were playing the Chargers when they were in San Diego. So I didn’t play, John [Elway] didn’t play, I don’t think TD [Terrell Davis] played. So here you are, you know, three guys, that’s not gonna play for three weeks. We played Jacksonville, and this exact same thing happened.

In the 1996 season, the John Elway led Denver Broncos had the number one seed in the AFC secured and many of their starters were rested in week 17. This led to them being unable to find a rhythm in their divisional-round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The following season the Broncos were put into a similar situation, the starters played in week 17, and they were able to win the Super Bowl in that season and the following season. 

Admitting to underestimating the Titans was not one of Lamar Jackson’s best moves.

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