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Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton In Spotlight As Pats Host Ravens

Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton In Spotlight As Pats Host Ravens

Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton dont know each other well on a personal level.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.: Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton dont know each other well on a personal level.

It didnt stop the Patriots quarterback from reaching out to his Ravens counterpart and reigning NFL MVP recently on social media.

He hit me up, Jackson said this week.

Did the veteran Newton pass along any advice to the 23-year-old?

Not really, Jackson said. Just game recognizes game. Hes the O.G. Hes Superman.

Old school and new school will collide Sunday night when New England (3-5) hosts Baltimore (6-2). A creative and mobile quarterback with a huge arm to match, Jacksons NFL rise shares similarities to Newton’s.

Newton burst onto the football national landscape as a junior at Auburn in 2010, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound one-man show who threw for 30 touchdowns and ran for 20 more while leading the Tigers to a 14-0 record and national title on his way to claiming the Heisman Trophy.

Six years later a similar spotlight shined on Jackson as a sophomore at Louisville, when he passed for 30 touchdowns, rushed for 21 and also earned Heisman honors.

Ive watched Cam since Auburn. Everyone in the country did. Everyone knew about Cam Superman doing his thing, Jackson said. “A lot of us looked up to him. … I followed him a lot. Wanted to get to where hes at, and now Im here. Now Ive got to play against him. Just cant wait to do that.

Sundays matchup will be a role reversal of sorts between the pair.

In their only previous meeting in 2018, Newton beat the Ravens when he was with Carolina, though Jackson was still waiting for his turn behind Joe Flacco and played sparingly. Flacco got one more start after that, hurting his hip in a loss against Pittsburgh. Jackson took over the following game and has been the impressive starter ever since.

This time around Jackson is a bona fide star while Newton is trying to prove he can still be an elite QB in the league. Whats more, Jacksons team has fared far better this season and can add to the recent misery for Newton and the Patriots, who are in a fight to even make it back to the playoffs.

Regardless of what happens Sunday, though, Newton says he will remain a lifelong fan of Jackson.

Lamars got a gift not many human beings got,” Newton said. “Im a fan of the game. if Im watching Baltimore, obviously Im watching to see what the MVP is gonna do. I respect his game so much.

A NEW TARGET

With Julian Edelman on injured reserve and N’Keal Harry working his way back from a concussion, Newton may have found a new main target in receiver Jakobi Meyers. Meyers had career highs in catches (12) receiving yards (169) in last weeks win against the Jets. He said a recent pep talk from Newton has helped him turn a corner.

“I just remember him pretty much telling me that I was selling myself short. That I have potential, all I have to do is just live up to it and go out there and show coaches what I can do. It was crazy, because right after that I got my opportunity, Meyers said. It ended up leading to good things.

STILL WARY OF PATRIOTS

The Ravens come in as 7-point favorites against a team theyve long struggled to beat. New England doesnt have Tom Brady anymore, of course, and struggled to beat the winless Jets, but overconfidence shouldnt be an issue for Baltimore.

Its still a Bill Belichick-led team. So, you have to respect them and give them the respect they deserve, Baltimore defensive tackle Derek Wolfe said. Theyre still a good football team, and you still have to go out there and bring your best because theyre going to bring their best.

Baltimore has never won a regular-season game in New England. Harbaugh is 4-6 against Belichick and the Patriots, including playoffs.

FLYING HIGH

The Ravens brings several impressive streaks into the game.

Baltimore has scored at least 20 points in 31 straight games, the longest run in NFL history. The Ravens have run for at least 100 yards in each of those games, the third-longest such streak in the history.

In addition, the Ravens have forced a turnover in 21 successive games, the best active streak in the NFL, and have won 10 straight on the road.

READY FOR PRIME TIME

This is the second straight primetime game for the Patriots, and for Baltimore marks the beginning of a stretch in which four of five games will be held under the lights. Its a chance to shine for the entire country, but Jackson and the Ravens dont necessarily see it that way.

We dont put that in our minds that its a primetime game. Its just another game at the end of the day, Jackson insisted. We go in there thinking were going to play football (and)) were trying to come out here with this victory. Thats all.

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AP Sports Writer David Ginsburg contributed to this report.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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