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Ravens-Seahawks: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 19 October 2019 by Luke Jones

The vaunted Ravens defense against the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom,” right?

Not these days as offense is currently king in both Baltimore and Seattle while the defenses are rather pedestrian.

Sunday’s tilt provides the Ravens a major test after entering Week 7 tied for having the NFL’s easiest schedule by winning percentage and holding the second-lowest strength of victory in the AFC (not including winless Miami and Cincinnati). The Ravens can’t control which teams they play, of course, but a win against a 5-1 Seahawks team would be quite a statement to the rest of the conference still finding its way behind undefeated New England.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens meet the Seahawks for just the sixth time ever with Seattle holding a 3-2 series advantage. Baltimore is winless in its only two trips to CenturyLink Field and hasn’t defeated the Seahawks since Nov. 23, 2003, a crazy 44-41 overtime final.

Below are five predictions for Sunday:

1. Earl Thomas will grab an interception against his old team. The six-time Pro Bowl safety took the high road and expressed respect for his former organization this week, but you know Thomas would love nothing more than to stick it to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll for fazing him out of Seattle’s plans in his mind. More importantly for the Ravens, Thomas’ confidence is growing as he noted he’s having fun and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has given him “that green light.”

2. Russell Wilson will go over 35 pass attempts for just the second time this season. The veteran is overdue to throw his first pick of 2019, but making his offense one-dimensional by shutting down the run may not be that desirable. The Seahawks are right on the Ravens’ heels in terms of run-pass ratio, but Seattle ranks 17th in yards per carry at 4.1 compared to Baltimore’s league-best 5.5 yards per attempt. In other words, why run so frequently with mediocre results instead of giving Wilson more chances to make plays with his arm? He’s second in the NFL at 9.0 passing yards per attempt. The Ravens taking away that “balance” by completely stopping the run could actually prove to be detrimental.

3. Mark Andrews will go over 100 receiving yards and catch a touchdown. Speedy wide receiver Marquise Brown appears unlikely to play after missing another full week of practice, putting even more pressure on Andrews to be the go-to guy for Lamar Jackson and the passing game. The Seattle defense has given up three touchdown passes to tight ends and 66 or more receiving yards to Cincinnati’s C.J. Uzomah and the Rams’ Gerald Everett, who had a career-high 136 two weeks ago. Even with the Ravens’ lacking a vertical threat, Andrews should have another big day.

4. Tyler Lockett and D.K Metcalf will catch touchdowns against a reshuffled secondary. We’ve seen the defense take positive steps in each of the last two weeks, but forgive me if I’m not convinced holding Devlin Hodges-led Pittsburgh to 23 points and the winless Bengals to 17 constitutes a real breakthrough. I like the Marcus Peters acquisition, but the high-variance cornerback had to fly across country twice in little more than a 48-hour period and is still learning a new playbook. This trade will pay off, but that won’t come until after the bye week when Peters can catch his breath.

5. Red-zone and third-down efficiency will be the difference as the Ravens fall 30-23 to Seattle. Baltimore will try to control the clock with the ground game and keep Wilson off the field as much as possible, but that only works if you’re finishing drives with touchdowns rather than field goals, which is easier said than done against a good opponent on the road. The Seahawks rank seventh in third-down defense and tied for 15th in red-zone defense, superior to the Ravens defense in both departments. This will be a close game that could go either way, but Wilson is playing too well right now to bet against him, even if Jackson gives you a real chance to win whenever he steps on the field.

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marquisebrown

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M. Brown, Onwuasor, Stanley questionable for Ravens-Seahawks game

Posted on 18 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens could again be without wide receiver Marquise Brown and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor after neither practiced all week in preparation for Sunday’s game at Seattle.

Officially listed as questionable, Brown and Onwuasor sat out the Week 6 win over Cincinnati and haven’t practiced since injuring their ankles against Pittsburgh on Oct. 6. Head coach John Harbaugh indicated at the start of the week they’d need to log some practice time to play against the Seahawks, but he seemingly changed his tune Friday in what may amount to little more than some gamesmanship. Under Harbaugh, injured players have rarely played in a game after missing the entire practice week.

“We don’t like to have that rule,” Harbaugh said, “so we’ll just leave that up in the air right now.”

After practicing Thursday and Friday, new Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters should see extensive action against Seattle, especially with reserve cornerbacks Maurice Canady (hamstring) and Anthony Averett (ankle) listed as questionable to play. Canady didn’t practice all week while Averett missed workouts on Thursday and Friday, leaving their availability in doubt.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was listed as doubtful after practicing on a limited basis this week for the first time since injuring his right knee in the season opener. The veteran appears likely to make his return to action after next week’s bye.

With the Los Angeles Rams having played the Seahawks just two weeks ago, Peters had the advantage of already being familiar with Sunday’s opponent while trying to learn a new playbook this week.

“He looked good. He’s ready to go,” Harbaugh said. “As I said, he’s going to play. He’ll probably play a lot, so we’re looking forward to it. He looks good, and our coaches have done a good job of getting him up to speed. He’s done a really good job of studying and being up to speed.”

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) was upgraded to full participation Friday and is expected to play on Sunday.

The Seahawks listed left tackle Duane Brown (biceps) and strong safety Bradley McDougald (back) as questionable despite neither practicing all week. Right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) could make his return to action after sitting out Seattle’s win at Cleveland last week.

The Weather.com Sunday forecast in Seattle calls for rain showers and temperatures reaching the mid-50s with winds five to 10 miles per hour and a 70-percent chance of precipitation.

Below is the final injury report for the week:

BALTIMORE
DOUBTFUL: CB Jimmy Smith (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Anthony Averett (ankle), WR Marquise Brown (ankle), CB Maurice Canady (thigh), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), OT Ronnie Stanley (knee)

SEATTLE
OUT: TE Will Dissly (Achilles)
DOUBTFUL: S Lano Hill (elbow)
QUESTIONABLE: OT Duane Brown (biceps), S Bradley McDougald (back), DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), G D.J. Fluker (hamstring), DE Quinton Jefferson (oblique)

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marquisebrown

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Marquise Brown absent again as Ravens prepare for Seattle showdown

Posted on 17 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens would love to jump-start their vertical passing game in time for a difficult test at Seattle, but their biggest threat to do it remains sidelined.

Wide receiver Marquise Brown missed his fifth straight practice Thursday and appears in danger of missing his second straight game. The 2019 first-round pick injured his right ankle in the Week 5 win in Pittsburgh and hasn’t practiced since returning in the fourth quarter of that overtime contest. Head coach John Harbaugh indicated Monday that Brown would need to log some practice time this week to play against the Seahawks.

Since completing 16 passes of 20 or more yards over the first three games of the season, the Ravens have just six over the last three contests as opposing defenses began taking measures to limit the deep ball even before Brown’s injury. The speedy rookie’s absence has left tight end Mark Andrews as Lamar Jackson’s only consistent downfield threat in the passing game.

“Marquise can definitely affect the game that way,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “But we’ve got [other] guys that can do it as well. A lot of it starts with how the defense chooses to play. But we’re always looking for them for sure. It’s definitely a focus of ours I would say. A lot of different ways to do it too.”

After arriving at the team facility Wednesday evening and spending three hours diving into the playbook with defensive backs coaches Chris Hewitt and Jessie Minter, newly-acquired cornerback Marcus Peters made his practice debut with Baltimore and is expected to play on Sunday. Harbaugh said Peters will play “as much as he can” in Week 7, but coaches have already complimented the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback’s football intelligence.

With fill-in cornerbacks Maurice Canady (hamstring) and Anthony Averett (ankle) missing Thursday’s practice and veteran starter Jimmy Smith (knee) only returning to practice this week for the first time since the season opener, Peters playing is almost a necessity for the NFL’s 25th-ranked pass defense.

“There are maybe a couple of different things terminology-wise that he has to get used to,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “He said he’d let me know by Friday if he’s ready to go with the whole thing, and I said, ‘Just lie to me and tell me that you are, and we’re just going to play you.'”

Smith practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day as he continued to wear a bulky brace on his right knee. The 31-year-old admits he initially thought the worst about his knee before further tests revealed a Grade 2 MCL sprain.

The Ravens haven’t yet ruled out Smith for Sunday’s game, but the more realistic target for his return appears to be the Week 9 home meeting with New England.

“I’m trying to be careful with it. We have a bye week next week, so I’m just trying to be smart with it,” Smith said. “Things are going according to plan. I feel really good. I’ll get out there in warmups on Sunday.”

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s workout. Harbaugh has said he expects the fourth-year offensive lineman to play against Seattle, but Stanley was more conservative with his comments before Thursday’s practice.

“We’ll make the decision when the time comes. Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” said Stanley, who didn’t miss any snaps in last Sunday’s win over Cincinnati until the final three Jackson kneels. “We’ll see. I’ll talk to them after today and see how I am out there on the field. We’ll come to a decision soon.”

The Seahawks were again without left tackle Duane Brown (biceps) and defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle), but right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Anthony Averett (ankle), WR Marquise Brown (ankle), CB Maurice Canady (thigh), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), DT Brandon Williams (non-injury)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Jimmy Smith (knee), OT Ronnie Stanley (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Brandon Carr (non-injury), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury)

SEATTLE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), TE Will Dissly (Achilles), OT Duane Brown (biceps), S Lano Hill (elbow), S Bradley McDougald (back)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G D.J. Fluker (hamstring), DE Quinton Jefferson (oblique)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Chris Carson (non-injury), WR Tyler Lockett (non-injury), LB K.J. Wright (knee)

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marquisebrown

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Ravens-Bengals: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 13 October 2019 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Ravens will be without their leading wide receiver as they welcome Cincinnati to town for Week 6.

After missing the entire week of practice with a right ankle injury sustained in last Sunday’s overtime win at Pittsburgh, rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown is inactive. Head coach John Harbaugh had labeled the first-round pick a game-time decision after Friday’s practice, but Brown didn’t work out on the field at M&T Bank Stadium in the hour leading up to the inactive list being released.

Baltimore saw its early offensive success fizzle when Brown left the Steelers game midway through the second quarter, and he was ineffective upon returning in the fourth quarter, making only one catch for three yards. The speedy Oklahoma product has registered 21 catches for a team-leading 326 yards and three touchdowns in his first five NFL games while other Baltimore wide receivers have combined for 24 receptions for 336 yards and four touchdowns this season. Needless to say, the Ravens need some combination of Willie Snead, Seth Roberts, and rookie Miles Boykin to step up against the Bengals.

The Ravens will also be without starting inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor (right ankle), who didn’t practice all week and was spotted wearing a walking boot on Tuesday. His absence further complicates a struggling position group that turned to the just-signed Josh Bynes as the starting “Mike” linebacker against the Steelers. That move allowed Onwuasor to move back to the weak-side spot where he had played well in the previous two seasons.

With Onwuasor out, veteran L.J. Fort was lining up at the weak-side spot during warmups while Kenny Young and Chris Board lined up with the second defense. Young was a healthy scratch last week after starting three of the first four games while Board played only one defensive snap in Pittsburgh.

Onwuasor’s absence and Tony Jefferson’s season-ending knee injury last week leave Sunday’s Ravens defense with just two remaining starters — defensive tackle Brandon Williams and cornerback Brandon Carr — from the group that lined up on the first defensive snap against the Bengals in Week 11 last November (see below). Of course, that doesn’t include cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who played 42 of 55 defensive snaps in that contest.

Third-year safety Chuck Clark is expected to wear the “green-dot” helmet with the speaker to relay calls to the defensive huddle after Onwuasor and Jefferson were the ones to previously handle those responsibilities this season. It’s a lot to ask of someone who’s made just three career NFL starts, but Clark is regarded by teammates and coaches as one of the smartest players on the team.

With Brown sidelined for Sunday’s game, second-year wide receiver Jaleel Scott is active for the first time in his NFL career. It will be interesting to see if offensive coordinator Greg Roman gives the 6-foot-5 Scott any looks in the passing game with the Ravens lacking play-making ability at the position without Brown.

Recently-signed defensive lineman Jihad Ward is also active for Baltimore.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) is missing his fifth straight game.

There were no surprises among the Cincinnati inactives after the Bengals officially ruled out six players on Friday, a list including seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle), two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap (knee), and offensive tackles Cordy Glenn (concussion) and Andre Smith (ankle). John Jerry — officially listed as a guard — is expected to start at left tackle, which is not an encouraging situation for an 0-5 Bengals team that’s already surrendered 20 sacks this season.

Sunday’s referee is Clay Martin.

According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast in Baltimore calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures reaching the mid-60s with winds light and variable and only a slight chance of precipitation.

The Ravens are wearing their purple jerseys with white pants while Cincinnati dons white tops with black pants for Week 6.

Sunday marks the 47th all-time meeting between these teams with the series tied at 23-23. The Ravens are seeking back-to-back wins against the Bengals for the first time since the regular-season finale of the 2011 campaign and the 2012 season opener. Yes, it’s been a long time.

Below are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Marquise Brown
ILB Patrick Onwuasor
CB Jimmy Smith
CB Anthony Averett
G Ben Powers
DT Daylon Mack
QB Trace McSorley

CINCINNATI
DE Carlos Dunlap
DT Ryan Glasgow
OT Cordy Glenn
WR A.J. Green
OT Andre Smith
DE Kerry Wynn
QB Jake Dolegala

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onwuasor

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Onwuasor, M. Brown “game-time decisions” after not practicing all week

Posted on 11 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have listed wide receiver Marquise Brown and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor as questionable for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

Both missed the entire week of practice after sustaining right ankle injuries in the Week 5 win at Pittsburgh. Brown and Onwuasor were able to finish the game — the former did miss much of the second quarter and the entire third quarter — but they’re now in danger of sitting out against the Bengals.

Under 12th-year head coach John Harbaugh, it’s been rare for players to suit up and play after missing an entire week of practice.

“They’ll both be game-time decisions, so we’ll see how they do come Sunday morning,” Harbaugh said. “If they can go, they go. I thought they’d practice today, so we’ll see how they are Sunday.”

If Brown doesn’t play, the Ravens would likely lean more heavily on veteran Seth Roberts and rookie third-round pick Miles Boykin. Brown leads all Baltimore wide receivers with 21 receptions for 326 yards and three touchdowns while Willie Snead ranks second with just 12 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Onwuasor’s injury complicates an inside linebacker position that had finally found some stability last week with the arrival of veteran Josh Bynes, who surprisingly started and played well at the “Mike” linebacker spot. Onwuasor moved back to the weak-side position where he had started and played well the previous two seasons next to former Raven C.J. Mosley.

Should Onwuasor not be able to play Sunday, the Ravens would turn to some combination of Kenny Young, Chris Board, and veteran L.J. Fort to play next to Bynes. Young was a healthy scratch last week despite starting three of the first four games of the season while Board was limited to one defensive snap after the reshuffling at inside linebacker.

“I’m sure that they want to have a bigger role, absolutely, and they’re competitive guys,” said Harbaugh about Young and Board. “But the attitude has stayed positive. They want to help us win. They want to practice well. They both practiced well again, so that will just shake itself out as we go.”

The Ravens also listed tight end Mark Andrews (left shoulder) as questionable, but he practiced fully Friday, leaving little question about his availability. Cornerback Jimmy Smith (right knee) was officially ruled out and will miss his fifth straight game after being injured in the season opener.

The 0-5 Bengals are in much worse shape from a health standpoint after ruling out six players, a list including seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle), two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap (knee), and offensive tackles Cordy Glenn (concussion) and Andre Smith (ankle). Smith had already been filling in for Glenn at left tackle to begin the season, leaving a struggling offensive line in even worse shape for Week 6.

The Weather.com Sunday forecast in Baltimore calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-60s with winds light and variable and only a slight chance of a rain shower.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Mark Andrews (shoulder), WR Marquise Brown (ankle), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle)

CINCINNATI
OUT: DE Carlos Dunlap (knee), DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), OT Cordy Glenn (concussion), WR A.J. Green (ankle), OT Andre Smith (ankle), DE Kerry Wynn (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: S Shawn Williams (thigh)

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marquisebrown

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M. Brown, Onwuasor still sidelined from Thursday’s Ravens practice

Posted on 10 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Wide receiver Marquise Brown and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor remained sidelined from Thursday’s practice as the Ravens count down to their meeting with Cincinnati.

Brown hurt his right ankle in the second quarter of the Week 5 win at Pittsburgh and didn’t return until the fourth quarter, registering just one catch for three yards after sustaining the injury. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is hoping to get Brown going again after the 2019 first-round pick registered a total of 44 receiving yards over the last two games. However, he did make a terrific 11-yard touchdown catch before leaving Sunday’s game with the ailment.

Many are clamoring for offensive coordinator Greg Roman to find more creative ways to get the speedy Brown the football as defenses have gone out of their way to take away the deep ball since the first two games of the season when Brown registered a combined 12 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

“I think we’d like to definitely deploy Marquise in a variety of ways,” Roman said. “I think if you do them all at once, that’s one way to do it. But you kind of like to evolve and add things as you go rather than just kind of throw it all out there in one game or two games. It’s a long season, so it’ll continue to evolve, his role.”

Onwuasor is also dealing with a right ankle injury despite playing all but six defensive snaps against the Steelers. With the arrival of veteran Josh Bynes to play the “Mike” linebacker position last week, Onwuasor moved back to the weak side, the position he previously played next to four-time Pro Bowl selection C.J. Mosley.

Should Onwuasor not be able to play Sunday, the Ravens would have to choose between second-year linebackers Kenny Young and Chris Board to play next to Bynes, who is rapidly gaining trust among Ravens coaches and teammates after a strong 2019 debut.

“The biggest thing Josh brought was a calmness to the middle of the defense, and it let ‘Peanut’ play faster,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “It just really brought a calmness to our group inside there with the linebacker room.”

Tight end Mark Andrews (left shoulder) and cornerback Maurice Canady (thigh) practiced on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out the first practice of the week.

Meanwhile, the Bengals welcomed back wide receiver A.J. Green to practice for the first time since the seven-time Pro Bowl selection injured his ankle on the first day of training camp in July. Green will not play against the Ravens, but his limited participation improves his chances of playing in Week 7.

Offensive tackle Cordy Glenn (concussion) didn’t practice after working on a limited basis Wednesday, making it likely he’ll miss his sixth straight game to begin the season.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marquise Brown (ankle), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), DT Brandon Williams (non-injury)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Mark Andrews (shoulder), CB Maurice Canady (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Brandon Carr (non-injury), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), G Marshal Yanda (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury)

CINCINNATI
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), OT Cordy Glenn (concussion), OT Andre Smith (ankle), S Shawn Williams (thigh), DE Kerry Wynn (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Carlos Dunlap (knee), WR A.J. Green (ankle), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (non-injury), G John Miller (groin), LB Nick Vigil (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: K Randy Bullock (back), WR Alex Erickson (concussion), G Michael Jordan (ankle)

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Andrews, M. Brown among Ravens missing from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 09 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are still feeling the effects of a physical battle with Pittsburgh as nine players sat out Wednesday’s practice with preparations ramping up for the Week 6 meeting with Cincinnati.

Baltimore lost starting safety Tony Jefferson to a season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter against the Steelers, but four others playing key roles in the 26-23 overtime win are dealing with ailments and a season-high four players received veteran days off Wednesday. The list of injured players was headlined by rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown and second-year tight end Mark Andrews, the Ravens’ two leading receivers

Brown left Sunday’s game in the second quarter with a right ankle injury and didn’t return until early in the fourth quarter. However, he appeared limited while catching just one pass for three yards in his return to action. It’s the opposite foot from the Lisfranc injury he sustained last season at Oklahoma.

“He should be [fine], yes,” head coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “He should be. Nothing serious.”

Andrews left Sunday’s game with a shoulder issue midway through the fourth quarter, but he was able to return on the next offensive series. Harbaugh didn’t reveal the specifics of the ailment Monday, but he reminded the 2018 third-round pick is still dealing with the effects of a lingering foot injury that’s cost him practice time dating back to Week 2.

“He’s just dealing with the thing; he’s dealing with his foot,” Harbaugh said. “He just has to keep working on that, and that’s just part of the process.”

The other two health-related absences came on the opposite side of the ball as inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor is nursing an ankle injury and cornerback Maurice Canady was listed as having a thigh injury. Harbaugh said Onwuasor turned his ankle in the Pittsburgh game, but he was spotted wearing a boot on his right foot in photos posted on the team’s official website Tuesday. Onwuasor did speak to reporters Wednesday and wasn’t wearing the boot.

Drawing his first start of the season in place of the demoted Anthony Averett, Canady recorded a team-high seven tackles and forced a fumble against the Steelers. However, injuries have hampered him throughout his four-year career, leaving some concern about his status for Week 6.

“Maurice really stepped up. He played well,” Harbaugh said Monday. “He covered man, covered zone, made plays on the ball, made tackles. I thought he played very well. It’s nice to see a guy step up when the opportunity comes, and he did it.”

Canady was already filling in for the injured Jimmy Smith, who remains out with a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee and appears likely to miss his fifth straight game Sunday. The 31-year-old Smith has increased his activity level, but Harbaugh wouldn’t reveal any timetable for when he might begin practicing.

Smith was injured on the sixth defensive play of the season-opening win at Miami and has now missed at least four games in seven of his nine NFL seasons.

“I wouldn’t want to speculate on it exactly because you just can’t say for sure,” Harbaugh said. “I’d just say he’s doing well, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for soon.”

Smith has often been tasked with matching up against Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green over the years, but the seven-time Pro Bowl selection won’t play Sunday as he continues to recover from an ankle injury sustained on the first day of training camp in July. That’s good news for the Ravens, who are just 4-8 against the Bengals since Super Bowl XLVII and 2-6 in games in which Green has played.

The winless Bengals were also without left tackle Andre Smith (ankle) and safety Shawn Williams (thigh) for Wednesday’s practice. Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn (concussion) was listed as a limited participant, but he hasn’t played since suffering a head injury in the preseason and practiced on a limited basis two weeks ago before again sitting out last week, leaving his status in doubt.

Cincinnati placed wide receiver John Ross (shoulder) on injured reserve last week, further damaging a passing attack already missing Green.

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Mark Andrews (shoulder), WR Marquise Brown (ankle), CB Brandon Carr (non-injury), CB Maurice Canady (thigh), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), G Marshal Yanda (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury)

CINCINNATI
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), WR A.J. Green (ankle), OT Andre Smith (ankle), S Shawn Williams (thigh), DE Kerry Wynn (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Alex Erickson (concussion), OT Cordy Glenn (concussion), G Michael Jordan (ankle), G John Miller (groin), LB Nick Vigil (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: K Randy Bullock (back)

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humphrey

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Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 5 win in Pittsburgh

Posted on 08 October 2019 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens snapping their two-game losing streak with a 26-23 overtime win in Pittsburgh, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Sunday’s game was far from “must-win” territory, but the Ravens came away with an “exhale” victory. It wasn’t pretty and real concerns persist, but you never take a victory at Heinz Field for granted, no matter the Steelers quarterback. We’ve seen backups win in this rivalry before.

2. Marlon Humphrey made the play of the game, but I’m impressed by his willingness to point out when he can be better, highlighting breakdowns and bad plays like his failed strip of JuJu Smith-Schuster earlier in the game. The 23-year-old wants to be the NFL’s best, and he’s getting closer.

3. Justin Tucker receives more publicity than any kicker in the league, but it still doesn’t do justice to his brilliance. Not only did he make tying and winning kicks in the open end of a stadium notoriously tough on kickers, but his kickoffs gave Pittsburgh poor field position all day.

4. Josh Bynes hadn’t played in a game since November and hadn’t been with a team since being cut by Arizona in March before signing Wednesday, starting, playing 43 snaps, and recording five tackles and an interception. That is remarkable and speaks to his drive to be ready for that opportunity.

5. That sequence of events also reflects how desperate the Ravens had become at inside linebacker. It’s telling that Kenny Young was inactive and Chris Board played only one defensive snap, but moving Patrick Onwuasor from the “Mike” spot back to the weak-side position was also a plus.

6. Lamar Jackson had his worst passing performance of the season, but his 14 carries for 70 yards reminded why you like his skill set even when he’s not succeeding from the pocket. He needs to be better, but his legs were vital as Baltimore couldn’t run between the tackles.

7. Was it any coincidence the offense fizzled from the time Marquise Brown left the game with an ankle issue? The ground game is paramount, but this passing attack isn’t very potent when Brown or Mark Andrews is limited physically. Both were banged up by the end of Sunday’s game.

8. The last drive of the first half was embarrassing. Starting at their 11 with 1:36 to go and two timeouts, the Ravens ran twice to move the chains, huddled with the clock running, took a sack, huddled again, and then Jackson was picked. Did the coaches leave the field early?

9. I don’t believe Earl Thomas had malicious intent with his helmet-to-chin hit on Mason Rudolph, but he appeared to be caught between trying to disrupt the passing lane and hitting the quarterback, which resulted in him launching into Rudolph. That was a disturbing scene.

10. The offensive line struggled against the Pittsburgh front, but Ronnie Stanley continues to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season with Pro Football Focus grading him first in pass blocking and fifth overall among offensive tackles. He’s going to be commanding a ton of money in the near future.

11. Maurice Canady went from being waived at the end of the preseason to starting and playing very well in Pittsburgh. His performance has been crucial, especially with second-year cornerback Anthony Averett disappointing in his opportunity to fill in for the injured Jimmy Smith.

12. Truthfully, I’m not yet sure how good the Ravens are when the teams they’ve defeated have a combined two wins, but Baltimore has the same number of victories as the rest of the AFC North combined. That always helps as a team tries to address its problems.

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earlthomas

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 05 October 2019 by Luke Jones

The sizzle in this AFC North rivalry is currently lacking, but that doesn’t mean the Ravens and Pittsburgh aren’t both eager for a victory to reverse their early-season fortunes.

A victory would allow Baltimore to exhale after a two-game losing streak and would keep John Harbaugh’s team at least tied for first place in the division with two games to go until the Week 8 bye. The Steelers are trying to avoid falling to 1-4, a record from which only 14 teams since 1970 have rebounded to make the playoffs.

It’s time to go on the record as these division rivals meet for the 51st time — counting the postseason — with Pittsburgh owning a 25-21 advantage in the regular season and a 3-1 edge in the playoffs. Including the playoffs, the Ravens are 12-13 against the Steelers in the Harbaugh era with 18 of those games decided by a single score.

Below are five predictions for Sunday:

1. Earl Thomas will come away with his second interception of the season. The truth is somewhere in between regarding Thomas’ start as he’s been neither dynamic nor the problem some have suggested him to be. Hearing him admit he’s still adjusting to playing different coverages from what he did in Seattle is disconcerting, but it’s not as though he’s been directly responsible for most of the big plays the Ravens have surrendered. The 30-year-old does need to be a bigger part of the solution, and a pick of second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph will be a step in the right direction.

2. James Conner and Jaylen Samuels will each score a touchdown. The Steelers have averaged just 3.4 yards per carry, so finding running room against a front expecting to have Brandon Williams back won’t be easy. However, Conner and Samuels caught a combined 16 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 and will be facing a Baltimore linebacker group that’s been a total liability in coverage. As they did against Cincinnati, the Steelers will use gadget plays, screens, and short passes to keep life simple for Rudolph. The Ravens have struggled against those kinds of plays.

3. Lamar Jackson will rush for 75 yards and throw for two touchdowns. The Pittsburgh defense is moving in a better direction after a rough start, but the Steelers haven’t yet encountered the full Jackson experience, which is difficult for anyone to prepare for. We’ll see a more aggressive Jackson running to the edges like he did in Week 2, which will force Pittsburgh’s secondary to creep forward and create chances for the second-year quarterback to throw the ball down the field. The Ravens would love to get Marquise Brown going again after he had a total of six catches for 71 yards over the last two games.

4. Steelers defensive linemen Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt will combine for two sacks and force a fumble. One of the reasons why Jackson will run more frequently to the edges is to offset the advantage Pittsburgh has inside, especially with center Matt Skura questionable to play due to a knee injury. The Ravens did a solid job against the Cleveland front last week, but the Steelers’ interior line is a handful with Heyward and Tuitt off to great starts this season. Baltimore’s top-ranked rush offense will be seeing its biggest test inside the tackles so far this season.

5. The Baltimore defense will regroup — somewhat — in a 24-20 win over Pittsburgh. There are too many problems to expect the Ravens defense to just snap its fingers and be fine, but I still believe that group is better than the bottom-10 unit its shown to be so far this season. There will still be mistakes and the Steelers will throw plenty of bells and whistles at them, but Rudolph doesn’t appear to be capable yet of exploiting the Ravens’ woes like Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield did. Jackson and the offense will play an efficient game against a defense better than the numbers suggest, and the Ravens will escape Heinz Field with a victory for the second straight year.

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Ravens-Browns: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 28 September 2019 by Luke Jones

There are always a few pivotal games that stand out in any season with Sunday’s tilt between the Ravens and Cleveland certainly shaping up to be one.

A win gives Baltimore a full two-game lead over every other AFC North team and drops the Browns to 1-3 with the accompanying “same old story” thoughts. However, a Ravens loss would pull Cleveland even in the division and put the winner of Monday’s Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game just one game behind.

With two more division games to immediately follow for the Ravens, Week 4 could help put them on a path to win the AFC North going away or provide a major jolt for the Browns.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens and Browns face off for the 41st time in the regular season with Baltimore holding a lopsided 30-10 advantage and a 19-3 mark under John Harbaugh. However, 10 of the last 15 meetings have been decided by a single possession, including both halves of last year’s split between the division foes.

Below are five predictions for Sunday:

1. The Ravens will commit their first turnover of the season. Only six teams have forced fewer turnovers than Baltimore, but Harbaugh’s team is the only one in the NFL without a giveaway, which reflects Lamar Jackson’s growth in his first full year as a starter. Of course, some luck has been involved as well with the Ravens recovering both of their fumbles this season and Jackson getting away with a few passes that could have been intercepted last week. The law of averages will finally catch up to them.

2. Odell Beckham Jr. will catch a touchdown and Marlon Humphrey will register an interception matched up against each other. With Jimmy Smith out with a knee injury, Humphrey traveled with Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins for much of last week’s game, a strategy that should continue against the talented Beckham. Baker Mayfield has targeted his star wideout 30 times in three games and will continue throwing his way, which will give Humphrey chances to get his hands on passes. It’s worth noting the third-year corner was limited with a hip issue this week, however.

3. Jackson will throw touchdown passes to Nick Boyle and Seth Roberts. The Browns will try to copy Kansas City’s plan to take away deep shots to Marquise Brown, which should create underneath chances for others. That reality coupled with Mark Andrews’ lingering foot issue will make it important for Jackson to look beyond his top two pass-catching targets. Boyle’s first career touchdown is long overdue, and Roberts’ playing time is trending up with Miles Boykin struggling early. Cleveland is likely to be without three starters in its secondary, which sets up for Jackson to have a good game.

4. Myles Garrett will register multiple sacks for the third time in four weeks. Harbaugh admitted his offensive line hasn’t yet seen a defensive front this talented, which will set up some intriguing battles. Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. will have their hands full with Garrett and Olivier Vernon on the edges, but defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi could also create some problems against the run and pass. Even more play-action and run-pass options than usual are in order to keep the Cleveland rush in check, but Garrett will continue his monster start to 2019.

5. Some strong running from Mark Ingram in the fourth quarter will help the Ravens preserve a tight 26-20 win. The body of work for each team so far and the home-field advantage suggest a Baltimore win, but the 1-2 Browns are already feeling pretty desperate with three more games against winning teams immediately following Sunday’s contest. The talent is still there for Cleveland and Mayfield is a better quarterback than he’s shown to be so far this season, but the likely absences of Browns cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams will keep the Ravens offense a step ahead. Baltimore will start 3-1 for the third time in the last four years and eighth time in the Harbaugh era.

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