BALTIMORE — Playing their 20th home opener in Baltimore, the Ravens have entered uncharted territory under eighth-year coach John Harbaugh with an 0-2 record to begin the 2015 season.
For a team entering the season with Super Bowl aspirations, the urgency couldn’t be greater in Week 3 as the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals try to bury the Ravens before October. Since 1990, only three 0-3 teams have rebounded to make the playoffs and the prospects of an 0-4 start would be alarming with a Thursday game in Pittsburgh looming in just a few days.
Surprisingly, the Ravens deactivated veteran pass rusher Jason Babin for a second consecutive week after citing his lack of familiarity with the defensive system as the reason he sat against the Raiders a week ago. With the current concerns over the pass rush, Babin being inactive doesn’t speak well for the Ravens’ confidence in him to be able to contribute off the edge.
Baltimore had already ruled out rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), defensive end Chris Canty (calf), and left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion) on Friday. Perriman practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday and went through another pre-game workout on Sunday morning as he tries to work his way back from a sprained knee suffered on the first day of training camp in late July.
Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week.
Cornerback Rashaan Melvin will make his 2015 season debut after dealing with a hamstring injury dating back to the preseason. Given how well he performed in training camp and how much No. 3 cornerback Kyle Arrington struggled in Oakland, Melvin would be a good bet to see playing time in the nickel defense against the Bengals.
Acquired from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2016 seventh-round pick earlier this week, cornerback Will Davis was inactive as he continues to learn the Baltimore defensive system. With Melvin returning to action, the Ravens had less of a need to activate Davis. Rookie Tray Walker was also inactive for Baltimore.
These teams are meeting for the 39th time with the Ravens holding a slight 20-18 advantage and 13-6 mark in Baltimore. However, the Bengals have won three straight and four of the last five in the series after completing a season sweep in 2014.
The forecast called for cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 70s, a 15 percent chance of rain, and winds up to 11 miles per hour.
Referee Walt Anderson and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game.
The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Cincinnati dons its white tops with black pants.
Here are Sunday’s inactives:
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Tray Walker
CB Will Davis
LB Jason Babin
OT Eugene Monroe
DT Christo Bilukidi
DE Chris Canty
WR Greg Little
WR Mario Alford
CB Chris Lewis-Harris
TE C.J. Uzomah
DL Marcus Hardison
DL Pat Sims
DL Margus Hunt