BALTIMORE — For the first time in his NFL career, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will not start a game in which he’s been active, officially signaling the start — or continuation — of the Lamar Jackson era.
The rookie will make his fifth straight start against Tampa Bay as Flacco assumes backup duties in his return from a hip injury that sidelined him for four games. Baltimore will aim for its fourth win in the last five games to further improve its playoff positioning in the AFC. The 7-6 Ravens enter the week holding the second wild-card spot and are only a game behind Pittsburgh in the loss column in the AFC North.
After doing some pre-game running and agility work to test out their respective groin injuries, cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young are both active after missing extensive snaps against Kansas City last week. Humphrey only returned to practice on a limited basis on Friday, making his status uneasy against the pass-happy Buccaneers.
Safety Tony Jefferson will make his return to the lineup after a two-game absence with an ankle injury.
As expected, left guard Alex Lewis is inactive and will miss his second straight game with a lingering shoulder injury. Veteran James Hurst is expected to start once again at left guard as rookie Orlando Brown Jr. continues to start at right tackle.
The most surprising inactive was running back Ty Montgomery, who is a healthy scratch. With third-year running back Kenneth Dixon collecting 80 yards on nine touches last week, Montgomery saw only three touches against the Chiefs. Reserve running back Buck Allen received the nod over Montgomery because of his various roles on special teams.
The Buccaneers already ruled out speedy wide receiver DeSean Jackson (thumb) and starting safety Justin Evans (toe) on Friday, but two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is active after being listed as questionable with knee and hip ailments.
The Weather.com forecast calls for periods of rain and temperatures reaching the mid-40s with winds 10 to 20 miles per hour and a 100-percent chance of precipitation. Those conditions figure to favor the run-heavy Ravens against Tampa Bay’s league-leading passing attack, but the rain isn’t expected to be as severe as it was on Saturday. Tarps were covering the M&T Bank Stadium field until 10:30 a.m.
Sunday’s referee is Ron Torbert.
The Ravens are wearing their purple jerseys with black pants while Tampa Bay dons white tops with white pants for Week 15.
Sunday marks the sixth all-time meeting between these teams with the Ravens winning the last three meetings to hold a 3-2 series advantage. The Buccaneers’ last win came in Baltimore in 2002.
Below are Sunday’s inactives:
QB Robert Griffin III
WR Jordan Lasley LB Tim Williams
G Alex Lewis
RB Ty Montgomery
DL Zach Sieler
FB/DL Patrick Ricard
QB Ryan Griffin
WR DeSean Jackson
S Justin Evans
CB David Rivers
LB Adarius Taylor
DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches
TE Tanner Hudson