BALTIMORE — The 2018 season will begin with less-than-ideal weather conditions as the Ravens host the Buffalo Bills.
According to Weather.com, significant rain will fall throughout the afternoon with temperatures reaching the mid-60s and winds 10 to 20 miles per hour with stronger gusts possible. Going back to last December, this will be the third straight regular-season home game with poor weather conditions after last Week 16 included heavy rain and the 2017 finale brought the coldest temperature for a home game (19 degrees) in franchise history.
Aiming to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, the Ravens will be without their top draft pick as rookie tight end Hayden Hurst will not play as he continues recovering from a stress fracture in his foot. Defensive tackle Willie Henry is also inactive after undergoing hernia surgery in late August. Third-year defensive lineman Michael Pierce will start in Henry’s place.
After much external debate this week about their backup quarterback plans, the Ravens will make rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson the game-day backup to starter Joe Flacco. Veteran Robert Griffin III is inactive, but he figures more prominently into Baltimore’s plans if Flacco were to miss an extended period of time.
As anticipated, cornerback Maurice Canady (hamstring) and inside linebacker Kenny Young (knee) are both active despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report. The Ravens deactivated rookie cornerback Darious Williams, which should reinforce their confidence in Canady’s health after an extended absence. Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman is also unlikely to be slinging the ball all over the field in such poor conditions.
Two rookies, offensive tackle Orlando Brown and center Bradley Bozeman, will be the only active reserve offensive linemen for the Ravens on Sunday since second-year lineman Jermaine Eluemunor was a healthy scratch.
The most interesting inactive note on the Buffalo side was the healthy scratch of former Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis, who signed with the Bills in February and was competing for a starting job with Phillip Gaines this summer. Gaines will start on the outside opposite standout Tre’Davious White with rookie Taron Johnson serving as the nickel.
Sunday’s referee is Shawn Hochuli, the son of retired NFL referee Ed Hochuli.
The Ravens are wearing their white jerseys with white pants while Buffalo dons blue tops with white pants for Week 1.
Sunday marks the eighth all-time meeting between these teams with the Ravens holding a 4-3 series advantage. Buffalo is opening the season at M&T Bank Stadium for the second time in three years after Baltimore won a 13-7 final on Sept. 11, 2016. The Ravens are looking for their third straight season-opening win and are 7-3 in Week 1 games under head coach John Harbaugh.
Below are Sunday’s inactives:
QB Robert Griffin III
WR Jordan Lasley
CB Darious Williams
OL Jermaine Eluemunor
DL Zach Sieler
TE Hayden Hurst
DT Willie Henry
CB Vontae Davis
TE Khari Lee
CB Ryan Lewis
WR Ray-Ray McCloud
OL Conor McDermott
LB Julian Stanford
G Wyatt Teller