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Ravens-Texans: Five predictions for Monday night

Posted on 26 November 2017 by Luke Jones

The schedule couldn’t set up much better down the stretch, but consistency is a must for the Ravens.

After winning in Green Bay last week to move into the No. 6 spot in the AFC playoff race, Baltimore seeks back-to-back victories for the first time since the first two weeks of the season, a reflection of how inconsistent the 2017 campaign has been for John Harbaugh’s team. The Ravens will be facing a Houston Texans squad that’s lost three of its last four, however, and is still reeling from the loss of rookie quarterback sensation Deshaun Watson at the beginning of the month.

With rookie offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor expected to be their only injury-related scratch on Monday night, the Ravens arguably have their healthiest 53-man roster since early in the season, an important factor for a team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in three years. Four of the final six games are at home with only two contests coming against teams currently owning winning records, factors leaving Baltimore with no excuse not to be playing in January.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens try to move above the .500 mark for the first time since early October by improving their all-time regular-season mark to 7-2 over Houston. The Texans have won two of the last three meetings between the teams, but Baltimore is 4-0 against them at M&T Bank Stadium, which includes a victory in the 2011 postseason.

Below are five predictions for Monday night:

1. Joe Flacco will eclipse 235 passing yards for just the second time this season. Houston has the NFL’s 26th-ranked pass defense, but this prediction is more about the Texans ranking seventh in run defense and allowing just 3.7 yards per carry. The Ravens have struggled to run the ball in recent weeks, averaging under 3.4 yards per rush in three of their last four games. Teams are keying on Alex Collins, meaning Flacco and the passing game should have more opportunities to push the ball down the field. It won’t be all that efficient, but the Ravens will find some modest success through the air.

2. Jeremy Maclin will find the end zone for the third time at home this season. Veteran Kareem Jackson has been the weak link in the Texans secondary and will line up as the slot cornerback in sub packages, which should bode well for Baltimore’s best receiver. Maclin appeared to be finding his stride with Flacco before the bye, but he took a step back last week with just 34 receiving yards against the Packers. The Ravens will need to move the chains on some third-and-intermediate situations, and Maclin is the right man to handle that situation and will catch his fourth touchdown as a Raven.

3. Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins will catch a touchdown in a mostly-quiet night. Houston quarterback Tom Savage has targeted Hopkins a whopping 39 times over the last three games, which equals Mike Wallace’s targets for the season. Hopkins usually lines up on the same side of the field as Jimmy Smith, which is great news for the Ravens as the veteran corner is enjoying the best season of his career. It will be interesting to see if Texans coach Bill O’Brien moves Hopkins around formations to get him away from Smith, but his production will be modest, regardless of how often he’s targeted.

4. Tony Jefferson will return a takeaway for a touchdown. I’ve predicted a Jefferson interception three other times this season, so I naturally decided to quadruple down on that as a guest on Ravens Unscripted this week. The starting safety has received grief from teammates for not having a pick — especially after rookie Marlon Humphrey came away with his first in Week 11 — but Jefferson has played better in recent weeks after a disappointing start. Playing behind a bad offensive line and timid against a strong defense, Savage will have a pass tipped at the line with Jefferson taking it the other way.

5. The Ravens defense will mostly dominate and the offense will mostly stay out of the way in a 20-10 win over Houston. Expecting another shutout from Baltimore would be unfair, but this Texans offense hasn’t been the same since Watson’s injury and won’t find very much success against a defense-strong team playing its first Monday night home game in over five years. Meanwhile, Flacco and the offense will have its challenges while managing to do just enough against a Texans defense that’s a shell of its former self without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. It won’t be pretty and won’t prompt ESPN to be clamoring for more Ravens home games moving forward, but the victory is all that matters.

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Mosley, Stanley questionable, but expected to play against Houston

Posted on 25 November 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens’ prayers on inside linebacker C.J. Mosley were answered.

After an initial plea for divine intervention on the sideline and then downplaying the severity of Mosley’s sprained right ankle late in last week’s 23-0 win at Green Bay, head coach John Harbaugh proved to be right as the standout defensive player returned to practice as a full participant Saturday and will play against Houston on Monday night.

Mosley is officially listed as questionable on the final injury report after missing workouts earlier in the week, but he left no doubt regarding his status against the Texans.

“I’m playing, so I’m not worried about that,” Mosley said. “It wasn’t a high ankle sprain, so that’s what the doctors feared most [initially]. After we found out it wasn’t that, it was just about trying to get as much treatment as possible and rest.”

Mosley said the plan was for him to sit out practice through most of the week and wanted to return to the field Saturday for peace of mind more than anything else. The Ravens not playing until Monday night certainly helped in the recovery process.

A reflection of how good he’s feeling two days prior to Monday Night Football, the two-time Pro Bowl selection even took a playful jab at fellow inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor for his indirect role in the injury occurring just before the two-minute warning at Lambeau Field.

“I didn’t even see who landed on me. I was just trying to make a tackle,” Mosley said. “I blamed it on ‘Peanut’ since he wasn’t on the field. We [only] had 10 men, so I was about to call timeout, but I just let the play go on. It was probably his fault.

“It could have been bad because I was getting blocked back while I got landed on. Luckily, it was a minor sprain. I felt pretty decent out there today.”

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is also listed as questionable against Houston, but he will return to action after being cleared from the concussion protocol on Friday. He and right tackle Austin Howard (knee) — who was also designated as questionable — have been hampered with injuries recently, but the Ravens will have their normal offensive line on the field to try to slow standout pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

That continuity is of the utmost importance after Stanley’s absence against the Packers last week forced starting left guard James Hurst to left tackle and reserve Luke Bowanko into the starting lineup, leaving the Ravens weaker at both blindside positions.

“It’s good to have your guys, your starters out there,” Harbaugh said. “They’re the starters for a reason. And we’ll be going in there full strength Monday night, and we’re excited about that.”

As expected, starting cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles tendon) returned to practice as a full participant Saturday after missing workouts earlier in the week and is officially listed as questionable. The veteran has regularly missed practice time with tendinitis since early October and was also listed as questionable in each of the last six games before playing in them all, leaving very little doubt about his availability.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has been slowed by an ankle injury this week, but he is expected to play despite being listed as questionable. He received his usual veteran day off Saturday to conclude the practice week.

Baltimore officially ruled out rookie offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor with a shoulder injury. With only one of their seven game-day scratches in line to be because of injury, the Ravens arguably find themselves in the best shape from a health standpoint that they’ve enjoyed since the start of the season.

Meanwhile, the Texans officially ruled out second-year wide receiver Will Fuller as he continues to recover from cracked ribs. Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins will play despite being slowed by a foot injury in practices earlier in the week.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: OL Jermaine Eluemunor (shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: OT Austin Howard (knee), LB C.J. Mosley (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (Achilles), OT Ronnie Stanley (concussion), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle), RB Terrance West (calf)

HOUSTON
OUT: OT Julien Davenport (shoulder), WR Will Fuller (ribs), OL Greg Mancz (shoulder)

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Ravens left tackle Stanley clears protocol, expects to play Monday

Posted on 24 November 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After dealing with what he labeled the most significant concussion of his football career, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley is expected to return against Houston on Monday.

The second-year offensive lineman officially passed concussion protocol Friday and was a full participant in practice, paving the way for him to start against the Texans. Stanley said he expects to play, but he reiterated that the final decision will be made by the coaching and medical staffs.

“It feels great just to be back on the field and be with my teammates. It feels like it’s been a really long time,” Stanley said. “That was probably the most impactful [concussion] that I’ve had in my career, but I feel fine now.”

The 2016 first-round pick said he sustained the head injury on the same play on which he hurt his right shoulder in a third-quarter collision with Tennessee linebacker Wesley Woodyard. He temporarily left that Nov. 5 game and returned for the final play of the third quarter and played the entire final period until the Ravens’ last offensive play from scrimmage with under one minute remaining. It’s unclear whether Stanley self-reported his concussion symptoms at that point as the focus had been on his right shoulder, which he had initially hurt the previous week against Miami.

It was not made public that Stanley has suffered a concussion until the Ravens returned from their Week 10 bye and he appeared on the injury report. The standout tackle practiced on a limited basis all last week before ultimately sitting out the 23-0 win in Green Bay as normal starting left guard James Hurst filled in for him on the outside.

Stanley’s return comes at the perfect time as the Ravens will attempt to slow 2016 Pro Bowl outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, who leads the Texans with eight sacks this season and is tied for 17th among all edge defenders in Pro Football Focus’ grading system.

“He’s a big challenge. Everyone in the league knows Jadeveon and what he brings to the table,” said Stanley about the first overall pick of the 2014 draft. “Speed, athleticism, power, and there’s not going to be an easy snap against him.”

Starting right tackle Austin Howard also practiced fully Friday after missing practice time earlier in the week with a knee injury. The veteran lineman struggled against Green Bay and appeared to be hobbled at a few different points, but he deemed himself ready to go for Week 12.

Howard also recently began wearing a harness on his left shoulder, the same one tsurgically repaired this past offseason.

“I feel like it’s Week [12],” said Howard, who added that that he was “100 percent” about playing. “With that being said, that’s one of those things where you get nicked here and there a little bit and you have to play through it. That’s 100 percent of the league right now, 100 percent of the players. Everybody has something, so it’s just a matter of managing it and getting back out there.”

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Ravens still without Mosley, J. Smith for Friday’s practice

Posted on 24 November 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continue to be without inside linebacker C.J. Mosley as they move closer to their Monday night meeting with Houston.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection sprained his right ankle late in last Sunday’s win at Green Bay, but head coach John Harbaugh downplayed the severity immediately after the game, saying it didn’t look serious “at all” in his post-game press conference. Mosley has yet to practice week, so doubts surrounding his status would increase if he’s unable to return to take part in Saturday’s workout.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles tendon) was absent again on Friday as he continues to battle tendinitis. The standout defensive back missed two practices last week before working on a limited basis in the final workout of the week and ultimately playing 58 of 68 defensive snaps against the Packers, recording an end-zone interception on the game’s opening drive.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley was upgraded to full participation on Friday after being cleared from concussion protocol, meaning he’s expected to be ready to play against the Texans. Since sustaining a concussion on Nov. 5, the 2016 first-round pick had practiced on a limited basis the last two weeks and did not play against Green Bay.

Right tackle Austin Howard (knee) practiced fully after missing Wednesday’s workout and being listed as a non-participant on the estimated injury report for Thursday as the Ravens had off for Thanksgiving. Howard struggled against the Packers and appeared less than 100 percent for much of the game, but he said Friday there’s no doubt that he’ll be ready to play Monday night.

Veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was limited Friday with an ankle issue, but he was present and moving around without incident in the locker room after practice.

Rookie offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor (shoulder) was absent from Friday’s practice.

Below is the full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: G Jermaine Eluemunor (shoulder), LB C.J. Mosley (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (achilles)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Terrell Suggs (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OT Austin Howard (knee), OT Ronnie Stanley (concussion), RB Terrance West (calf)

HOUSTON
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OT Julien Davenport (shoulder), WR Will Fuller (ribs), DE Joel Heath (illness/knee), C Greg Mancz (shoulder)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Alfred Blue (hamstring), OT Chris Clark (knee), OLB Jadeveon Clowney (ankle), WR DeAndre Hopkins (foot), CB Kevin Johnson (concussion)
FULL PARTICIPATION: G Jeff Allen (hand), ILB Dylan Cole (hamstring), WR Bruce Ellington (ribs), S Andre Hal (knee), CB Kareem Jackson (shoulder), ILB Jelani Jenkins (hand), WR Chris Thompson (knee)

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Mosley, Howard, J. Smith absent from Ravens practice

Posted on 22 November 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley was one of three starters missing from practice Wednesday as the Ravens shift their attention toward the Houston Texans.

Mosley suffered a sprained right ankle seconds before the two-minute warning in Green Bay, but head coach John Harbaugh said the injury didn’t “look serious at all” immediately after the 23-0 win, even making light of his initial reaction as a star defensive player limped off the field late in a blowout victory.

“We’re on the sideline and he comes limping off and I’m not happy about it,” Harbaugh said. “I wasn’t really pointing the finger at myself. I’m not responsible for every substitution. I did say, ‘If he’s hurt, we’re the dumbest coaching staff in America.’ I think I might have mentioned that.

“The coaches didn’t say much, but I know that they were praying.”

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles tendon) and right tackle Austin Howard (undisclosed) were also missing during the portion of Wednesday’s workout open to reporters. Smith’s absence was not surprising as he’s missed practice time on a weekly basis since early October, but Howard recently began wearing a harness on his surgically-repaired left shoulder and looked hobbled in an underwhelming performance against the Packers on Sunday.

With Baltimore not playing until Monday, the first injury report of the week will not be released until Thursday.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (concussion) was present and working, but he was a limited participant in practices all last week before ultimately being declared out against Green Bay. Harbaugh said Wednesday that the 2016 first-round pick remains in the concussion protocol. Starting left guard James Hurst moved out to Stanley’s spot in Week 11 and struggled to keep quarterback Joe Flacco clean against the Packers front.

“The first thing is obviously you have to switch guys around and you have to take guys out of their position and ask them to do a little bit more just because they’re in a different spot on the field,” Flacco said. “Then, you couple that with the fact that your first-round draft pick-type talent isn’t out there. It definitely all adds up.”

The Ravens will wear their black jerseys and black pants for their first Monday night home game since the 2012 season opener. They own a 16-7 all-time mark when wearing their popular alternate jersey, but Pittsburgh prevailed 26-9 in Week 4 when Baltimore wore its all-black uniforms for the first time this season.

Outside linebacker Matt Judon was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after collecting two sacks and a forced fumble against the Packers.

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Ray Lewis one of 27 semifinalists for 2018 Hall of Fame class

Posted on 21 November 2017 by Luke Jones

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has taken the next step toward football immortality.

The 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was named one of 27 semifinalists for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class on Tuesday. He is one of six in their first year of eligibility, joining defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebacker Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

Considered one of the best middle linebackers in NFL history, Lewis is expected by most to be a first-ballot selection and would become the second lifelong Raven to be inducted after left tackle Jonathan Ogden was enshrined in 2013. The 15 modern-era finalists will be announced in January with no more than five of those tabbed for induction in Minneapolis on Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl LII.

The enshrinement ceremony will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio next August.

Lewis retired after the 2012 season with his brilliant 17-year career concluding with a win in Super Bowl XLVII. In his fifth season, he was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXV after leading one of the best defenses in NFL history to a championship.

The 1996 first-round pick out of the University of Miami is the Ravens’ all-time leader in tackles and ranks second in interceptions behind only Ed Reed and second in forced fumbles behind Terrell Suggs. Reed will be eligible for Hall of Fame induction after the 2018 season.

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Twelve Ravens thoughts following 23-0 win over Green Bay

Posted on 21 November 2017 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens getting back to the .500 mark with a 23-0 victory at Green Bay, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Sunday marked the third time in 2017 that the Ravens defense has forced five turnovers in a game. That’s quite a change from two years ago when the group ranked 30th in the NFL with 14 takeaways for the entire season.

2. Jimmy Smith intercepting a pass in the end zone on the opening drive was the latest example why the cornerback has been the team MVP. You wonder how different this one might have been if the Packers finished that drive with a touchdown or at least a field goal.

3. The offense coming away with a total of three points off three turnovers on the Packers’ first three possessions sure doesn’t say much for the work put in by Marty Mornhinweg’s side of the ball during the bye week.

4. Brett Hundley was awful for Green Bay, but credit the Ravens defense for confusing the inexperienced quarterback with an abundance of looks. Eight different defensive backs played 18 or more snaps as defensive coordinator Dean Pees employed various sub packages.

5. Whether rushing the passer, setting the edge, or dropping into coverage, Matt Judon is steadily improving and was arguably the best player on the field with two sacks and a forced fumble. His development is encouraging with the still-dependable Terrell Suggs now 35.

6. Joe Flacco had an OK day despite being under duress, but his interception on a pass intended for Danny Woodhead was baffling. He wasn’t pressured on the throw, and at no point did Woodhead separate from Pro Bowl safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. That can’t happen when approaching the red zone.

7. It was refreshing to see Mike Wallace grab a one-handed touchdown for a quarterback who hasn’t gotten enough help from his receivers. This isn’t the Big 12 where you can expect to get open with no one within 10 yards in coverage. Contested catches are a must to be successful.

8. Willie Henry is rapidly becoming a big part of sub packages as an interior rusher and even dropped into zone coverage on at least one occasion against the Packers. It’s crazy to think how important he’s become to the rotation when many wondered if he’d even make the 53-man roster.

9. Yes, Flacco should have been granted a timeout on the play, but Ryan Jensen still can’t snap the ball three feet over the quarterback’s head to torpedo a promising drive. The center has enjoyed a breakout season, but his shotgun snapping was also shaky in Tennessee.

10. We may have witnessed the changing of the guard as Marlon Humphrey replaced Brandon Carr as a starting cornerback in the first half. It’s a good problem to have as Carr has played admirably, but it grows more difficult every week to keep the rookie first-round pick off the field.

11. Much focus was on James Hurst’s problems replacing Ronnie Stanley, but Austin Howard also had real difficulty against the Packers. He isn’t listed on the injury report, but he’s recently been wearing a harness on his left shoulder and hasn’t looked 100 percent. That’s something to monitor.

12. Anyone dismissing the defense’s accomplishments because of the poor quarterbacks they’ve faced this season should note that the 2000 Ravens’ four shutouts came against Kent Graham, Scott Mitchell, Tim Couch, and a broken-down Troy Aikman in his final season. Regardless of the opponent, give this 2017 unit credit.

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Ravens may not be pretty, but playoff hopes looking bright

Posted on 21 November 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens aren’t a pretty football team.

You’d be hard-pressed to argue that they’re good as they own a mediocre 5-5 record, haven’t won back-to-back games in over two months, and rank 13th in the AFC in strength of victory, a reflection of not owning a single win against a team currently sporting a winning record. Having one of the worst offenses in the NFL certainly doesn’t help the overall perception — or make it any easier to win football games.

But here the Ravens stand holding the final wild-card spot in the AFC playoff picture entering Thanksgiving. And a look around the rest of the conference leaves you doubting the capabilities of any others in the “second division” to seriously challenge for that No. 6 seed.

“Win, and it will take care of itself,” said head coach John Harbaugh, whose team plays only two more opponents currently holding winning records the rest of the way. “It’s not like we don’t know what’s happening. We certainly know who does what.”

While their remaining schedule and the ineptitude of other so-called wild-card contenders might be the biggest factors working in the Ravens’ favor entering the final stretch, their defense is certainly playing at a playoff-caliber level after recording its third shutout of the year in Green Bay. No matter who the opposing quarterback is, that’s not a feat to be taken lightly, especially on the road.

The Ravens lead the NFL with 16 interceptions and are tied for first in takeaways (23) with Jacksonville. Their second-ranked pass defense is allowing the fewest passing yards per game by a Baltimore unit since 2008. And though the run defense still ranks only 17th in yards per carry allowed, the Ravens have surrendered only 2.94 yards per rushing attempt over the last three games as Brandon Williams has settled back in as the anchor of the defensive line after his four-game absence.

The defense continues to chase consistency — the final touchdown surrendered at Tennessee is a recent exhibit of that — but ranking sixth in the league in yards allowed and third in points surrendered makes a pretty strong case that the group is peaking at the right time and can carry the offense-challenged Ravens to the postseason for the first time in three years. The three shutouts are one shy of the four recorded by the 2000 Ravens, regarded by many as one of the greatest defenses of all time.

“It don’t mean s–t if we don’t make the playoffs,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “It’s good, but if we don’t get in [the playoffs], you all won’t even remember them. It’s a good thing to build on, but we’ve got to keep going. We’ve got to keep getting these wins.”

Continuing to win would be easier if the league’s 31st-ranked offense can show any semblance of improvement down the stretch. Despite the five-turnover, six-sack output from the defense against the Packers, the Ravens compiled just 219 yards on 57 offensive plays, finished 3-for-14 on third down, and managed only three points off three first-half turnovers at Lambeau Field.

Even without left tackle Ronnie Stanley in the lineup, that’s just not good enough if the Ravens have any visions of making a meaningful playoff run. They must rediscover their running game after averaging less than 3.4 yards per carry in three of their last four games, and it’s going to take much more than the return of running back Danny Woodhead for this passing game to be considered even mediocre.

The defense might be strong enough to carry the Ravens to victory in any of their six remaining games, but the offense is also inept enough to lose each of those contests, making these final six weeks all the more unsettling despite the favorable circumstances.

You can’t and shouldn’t blame quarterback Joe Flacco for all of the offensive struggles, but now would be the time for something more closely resembling “January Joe” to start getting revved up with December rapidly approaching. Even with the many variables working against him, Flacco must be better.

Their third road win of the season and a very favorable environment in the AFC have established the Ravens as clear-cut playoff contenders, but they still have a long way to go to prove they can be any sort of a viable threat to make noise if left standing in January.

Their circumstances for a playoff push may be pretty, but the Ravens certainly aren’t.

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Ravens-Packers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 19 November 2017 by Luke Jones

GREEN BAY, Wis. — A disappointing NFL career hit a new low for Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman on Sunday.

The 2015 first-round pick is a healthy inactive as Baltimore comes off its bye week to play Green Bay. Perriman has just seven catches on 26 targets this season and struggled mightily against Tennessee in Week 9, failing to high-point two deep shots — one of them leading to an interception — and dropping another pass in the 23-20 loss to the Titans.

The returning Michael Campanaro (shoulder) essentially takes Perriman’s game-day spot, giving the Ravens four active wide receivers against the Packers. The activation of running back Danny Woodhead will give quarterback Joe Flacco another viable option in the passing game.

As anticipated when he was listed as doubtful on the final injury report released Friday, starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley is officially out as he continues to recover from a concussion sustained in Week 9. His absence means starting left guard James Hurst will move outside to left tackle with reserve Luke Bowanko moving into the vacated sport, an unsettling development for a road game.

Despite practicing fully all week and seemingly being over his calf injury, running back Terrance West is inactive for the fifth straight game. His lack of special-teams contributions and the surprising emergence of Alex Collins have clearly changed his standing on the roster.

Defensive ends Chris Wormley and Bronson Kaufusi are both inactive as the Ravens elected to have an extra edge rusher active in the returning Tim Williams. The rookie third-round pick had missed four straight games with a hamstring injury, but he practiced fully all week.

Meanwhile, the banged-up Packers will be without second-round rookie cornerback Kevin King as well as running backs Aaron Jones (knee) and Ty Montgomery (ribs), who were officially declared out on Friday. Green Bay will also be without versatile safety Morgan Burnett as he continues to recover from a groin injury.

Sunday’s referee is Jeff Triplette.

According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast in Green Bay calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 30s with winds up to 14 miles per hour and no chance of precipitation.

The Ravens are wearing white jerseys and white pants while Green Bay dons its throwback uniforms that include navy and gold jerseys and tan pants.

Sunday marks the first time since 2013 that these teams have played with the Packers owning the 4-1 all-time advantage. The Ravens are seeking their first ever win at Lambeau Field in their fourth trip to Green Bay.

Below are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Breshad Perriman
RB Terrance West
CB Jaylen Hill
OL Maurquice Shakir
OT Ronnie Stanley
DE Bronson Kaufusi
DE Chris Wormley

GREEN BAY
CB Kevin King
RB Aaron Jones
S Morgan Burnett
OL Adam Pankey
RB Ty Montgomery
DT Montravius Adams
LB Chris Odom

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Ravens-Packers: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 18 November 2017 by Luke Jones

Sunday presents an important opportunity for the Ravens as they make their first trip to Lambeau Field since 2009.

Many have labeled it a “must-win” game for a 4-5 team coming off its bye, but a simple look at the underwhelming AFC wild-card picture makes that notion hold less weight from a mathematical standpoint. Of course, the Ravens could certainly use a road win from a psychological standpoint as they try to get on a roll to both secure their first trip to the playoffs since 2014 and show they have the potential to morph into some semblance of a threat in January.

Baltimore couldn’t ask for a much better situation on the side of the Green Bay Packers, who continue to be without six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers and are now missing their top two running backs due to injuries. Versatile safety Morgan Burnett will also miss Sunday’s game for the Packers defense.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens try to get back to the .500 mark by securing their first ever win in Green Bay. The Packers have a 4-1 advantage in the all-time regular-season series and have won all three meetings in their home stadium.

Below are five predictions for Sunday:

1. Danny Woodhead will lead the Ravens in catches while Jeremy Maclin will be tops in receiving yards. The return of the diminutive Woodhead is a major headline, but part of me wonders if his presence could be somewhat counterproductive for a passing game needing to push it down the field more consistently. Meanwhile, Maclin is coming off his best game of the year and will have a favorable matchup against slot corner Damarious Randall. These two veterans will be key as a Ravens offense without Ronnie Stanley faces a defense ranking ninth in the NFL in yards per carry allowed.

2. Packers edge rushers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews will combine for two sacks and a forced fumble. The offensive line has been a house of cards that’s held up OK when the starting five are healthy, but it’s frequently fallen apart when less than 100 percent. That will hold true again with Stanley likely to miss Sunday’s game with a concussion. This group can’t afford to be without its best player, and James Hurst being Stanley’s likely replacement means a backup left tackle and backup left guard will be protecting Joe Flacco’s blindside. That’s a frightening proposition, especially on the road.

3. Tony Jefferson will grab his first interception as a Raven. Several defensive players were very complimentary of Packers backup Brett Hundley, but no one is buying the notion of him being the second coming of Rodgers. The third-year quarterback has shown some modest improvement, but he figures to continue relying on short passes, which should give Jefferson opportunities when playing closer to the line of scrimmage. The Ravens defense leads the NFL in interceptions and will grab one for the fourth consecutive game to assist an offense struggling to move the football.

4. Randall Cobb will have 75 total yards and a touchdown to lead the Green Bay offense. It’s been a quiet year for the slot receiver, but the absences of running backs Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery will force Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to get creative with Cobb, who can line up virtually anywhere in a formation. It’ll be interesting to see how the Ravens defense accounts for him as Maurice Canady took away most of Lardarius Webb’s snaps at the nickel against Tennessee. With Baltimore’s outside corners being so strong this year, Cobb will be featured in the middle of the field.

5. The offense will once again hold the Ravens back in a 16-13 loss to the Packers. Green Bay has cracked the 20-point mark just once since Rodgers broke his collarbone in mid-October, and the Baltimore defense will do plenty to make life difficult for an inexperienced quarterback. However, the loss of Stanley is a major blow for an offense that hasn’t been productive enough even with the 2016 first-round pick in the lineup. Don’t believe the sentiment that the Ravens are “finished” if they drop to 4-6 since four of their last six games come at home against less-than-imposing teams, but a loss will surely reinforce major doubts about this team’s ability to stack wins and gain momentum for the stretch run.

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