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Much has changed from when we last saw the Baltimore Ravens play a meaningful game.
Traveling to Denver to take on the Broncos in a divisional round matchup from last January, the Ravens will play their first regular-season game in franchise history without future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis being a member of the organization. Longtime safety Ed Reed is now with the Houston Texans and a number of other key components from the Super Bowl XLVII championship team have moved on.
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and quarterback Joe Flacco remains at the helm and general manager Ozzie Newsome reloaded an aging and largely-ineffective defense from a year with savvy veterans and talented rookies alike, and the Ravens have 19 newcomers to their 53-man roster from the end of last season. The most notable among them is former Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who figures to provide an impressive bookend pass-rushing threat to Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs on the opposite edge.
There were no major surprises on the inactives list for either team as the Ravens had already ruled out defensive tackle Arthur Jones (undisclosed illness) and wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), and defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe) were all listed as doubtful on the final injury report of the week. For Denver, the biggest names missing from this one are cornerback Champ Bailey, who is dealing with a foot injury, and suspended linebacker Von Miller.
As expected, Ravens tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) is active and will play after practicing fully all week and being listed as probable on the final injury report. Defensive end Pernell McPhee (knee) is also active after being limited in practice earlier in the week.
Rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette is inactive, meaning the Ravens will have four active receivers available Thursday night. Backup safeties Bryden Trawick and Anthony Levine are active, meaning each figures to play extensive special-teams roles.
Dealing with the sting of last year’s double-overtime loss to the Ravens, Denver figures to be motivated for revenge as these teams meet for the 10th time in the regular season. The Ravens hold a 5-4 edge and also enjoy a 2-0 advantage in postseason meetings.
Baltimore is also 5-0 in season openers under head coach John Harbaugh.
Walt Coleman and his crew will officiate the NFL’s season-opening game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Ravens will be wearing white jerseys with black pants while Denver will sport their orange home jerseys with white pants.
Here are Thursday night’s inactives:
DT Arthur Jones
DT Brandon Williams
WR Deonte Thompson
OL Ryan Jensen
WR Aaron Mellette
T Jah Reid
LB John Simon
CB Champ Bailey
RB C.J. Anderson
TE Joel Dreessen
G Chris Kuper
CB Quentin Jammer
G John Moffitt
QB Zac Dysert
Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the evening for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio brings live coverage from Denver.