Ravens plan to start Lamar Jackson vs. Falcons on Sunday

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Rookie sensation Lamar Jackson will have a chance to lead Baltimore to a third consecutive victory.

The Ravens plan to start Jackson against the Falcons this Sunday, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported, via sources informed of the situation.

This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that the coaching staff is prepared to hand the reigns over to Jackson for the remainder of the season.

Still nursing a hip injury, veteran starter Joe Flacco has yet to be cleared for game action. There's a chance Flacco's status could change in the coming days, Garafolo added, but Jackson remains the choice for now.

In stark contrast to a pass-heavy attack that had regressed over the season's first two months, the Ravens have suddenly discovered an identity as a multi-faceted, smashmouth offense led by a pair of newcomers in Jackson and undrafted power back Gus Edwards.

After averaging just 92.7 rushing yards in nine games with Flacco under center, Baltimore has run roughshod over Cincinnati and Oakland, averaging 254.5 yards on the ground.

While the defenses of the Raiders and injury-decimated Bengals have reached pushover status of late, the sledding doesn't get any tougher for Jackson and Edwards. The next two opponents -- Atlanta and Kansas City -- rank 31st and 32nd, respectively, per Football Outsiders' run defense metrics.

Jackson's passing ability remains exceptionally raw, as expected, with simpler reads and a penchant for risky throws. Like a crafty baseball pitcher trying to trick opposing hitters with a wide array of throwing motions, Jackson has shown the skill to adjust his own delivery, mixing side-arm darts with overhand rainbows depending on the situation. After finding tight end Mark Andrews for a 74-yard gain early in last week's game, he hit speedster John Brown in-stride down the sideline for another big play that was nullified by a holding penalty.

Ravens offensive coaches Marty Mornhinweg and Greg Roman understand that they can't lapse into a predictable one-dimensional offense overly reliant on Jackson's legs. It will be interesting to see what kind of passing plays they cook up for this week's matchup in Atlanta.

If Jackson continues to show improvement in the passing game while leading the Ravens to a third straight win, it will be tough to turn back to Flacco in a tightly contested race for the AFC's No. 6 playoff seed.

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