Ravens Week 1 Preview vs New York Jets

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

Getty Ravens QB Lamar Jackson runs the ball in a game against the Jets on December 12, 2019.

The Baltimore Ravens will kick off their 2022 campaign on Sunday, September 11 with a road matchup with the New York Jets. The game will be played at MetLife and broadcast on CBS at 1 pm EST. Both teams are coming off seasons in which neither made the playoffs in 2021 and were both lauded for the additions they made during the offseason but especially via the 2022 NFL Draft. This game features several interesting storylines, key matchups, and could playoff implications down the road since they’re both AFC teams.


Top Storylines

Facing former first-round picks

The Ravens will be playing against two players that they selected in the first round of their respective drafts and were franchise pillars during their tenures in Baltimore. On defense, they will be going up against former franchise and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco who was officially named the starter for the Jets for their first three games in place of the injured second-year signal caller, Zach Wilson. On offense, they will be facing veteran four-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley for the first time since he departed in free agency following the 2018 season.

First live-action for starters

The team took an overcautious approach to training camp this year, didn’t hold any joint practices, and held out most of their healthy and rehabilitating starters in the preseason. That means Sunday’s matchup will be the first live reps against an opposing team that the vast majority of the first-team units on both sides of the ball will have since the end of the 2021 regular season. It will be interesting to see if there is any initial rust that needs to be shaken off that would lead to a slow start and a closer game in the first half or throughout.

Ravens running back rotation

Starter J.K. Dobbins was a limited participant for the entire week of practice and is listed as questionable to play in the game. Even if he does suit up, the second-year pro will likely be on a snap count to start the season since he’s coming off a torn ACL. That leaves the remainder and bulk of the snaps to get divvied up between veterans Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake and fourth-year pro Justice Hill. In a press conference on September 8, 2022, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said that the Ravens will get all of their backs involved in the game plan and that the “hot hand” will get “a lot of action”.

“They brought me in here to make plays,” Drake said. “Whatever capacity that is, however, I learn the playbook … I’m out there and they’re throwing me in any and every situation. I’m taking it all in stride. Once the bright lights come on, that’s when I make the most of my opportunity.”


History of Matchup

The Ravens lead the all-time series between the two teams in the regular season 9-2 and have four of the last five. Their last loss to the Jets came on October 23, 2016, in a 24-16 defeat and prior to that, they had won eight straight since losing their first-ever matchup 19-16 on November 2, 1997. The last time they met was in 2019 during Lamar Jackson’s unanimous MVP season and the Ravens ran away with a 42-21 victory on December 12, 2019, in primetime on Thursday Night Football.


Final Injury Report

The Ravens are the healthiest they have been in over a year given how devastated their roster was before the 2021 regular season even got underway. The only player they have officially ruled out is rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones but that was to be expected given the already shared timeline for return from his hyperextension knee injury. After being listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report, starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley was officially ruled out on Saturday after being a limited participant in just two practices this week and sitting out another. He will sit out as the team continues to take an overcautious approach with all of their players recovering from major surgeries and after Stanley appeared in just one game last year which happened to be the season opener, it’s completely understandable.

Jackson won’t be the only quarterback without his veteran blindside protector in Week 1 as the Jets have officially ruled out their starting left tackle, Duane Brown, for the game. They recently signed the former five-time Pro Bowler after losing Mekhi Becton for the season and he will miss the season opener due to a shoulder injury that held him out of practice all week. New York doesn’t have any players listed as doubtful to play and the only other player that has been ruled out is Wilson.


Matchups to Watch

WR Rashod Bateman v CB Sauce Gardner

The battle between the Ravens’ 2021 first-round pick and the fourth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft by the Jets will be the top individual matchup to keep an eye on in this game. Bateman is widely believed to be a prime breakout candidate in his second season and has looked phenomenal all off-season and training camp. Gardner is coming off a preseason in which he wasn’t even targeted in coverage according to Pro Football Focus and he didn’t allow a single touchdown in his entire collegiate career. When these two line up across from each other it’ll be must-see TV for fans and analysts alike.

Ravens Pass Rush v Jets O-line

While the interior of their starting offensive line looks solid, New York’s situation at offensive tackle is far less ideal. With Brown out this week and Becton out for the year, New York will be trotting out George Fant at right tackle and Conor McDermott will be stepping up on the left side. Even though the Ravens only have two outside linebackers on the active roster in veteran Justin Houston and second-year Pro Odafe Oweh, they still have a handful of options they could elevate from their practice squad and veteran defensive end Calais Campbell is capable of starting and dominating on the edge as well. Michael Pierce and Justin Madubuike will be a handful between the tackles for the likes of Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, and Laken Tomlinson as well.

Ravens O-Line v Jets Pass Rush

Since Stanley will most likely sit out this week, the Ravens will likely have veteran Ja’Wuan James starting in his place. The former first-round pick hasn’t played in a regular season game since Week 14 of the 2019 season due to injuries and opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns. He is also making the transition to playing on the left side after being a career right tackle and looked good at his new spot in the preseason. The rest of the Ravens’ starting offensive line is very solid to well above average with fourth-year pro Ben Powers a left guard, rookie center Tyler Linderbaum, and veteran Kevin Zeitler and Morgan Moses on the right side. New York is getting back veteran edge rusher Carl Lawson back from injury after he missed all of 2021 with a torn Achilles and they have first-round rookie pass rusher Jermaine Johnson, who was linked to the Ravens in the pre-draft process, coming off the edge as well.

DB Kyle Hamilton v TE C.J. Uzomah

Last season as a member of the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, the seven-year veteran torched the Ravens for 127 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight catches between the two meetings between the team. The Ravens have struggled to cover tight ends for quite some time but they may have found the tight end neutralizer in their rookie safety. The first-round rookie possesses the rare length and athleticism to blanket what are essentially big-bodied receivers all over the field. Unlike Gardner who wasn’t even targeted in coverage, Hamilton didn’t allow a single reception in over twice as many coverage snaps according to Pro Football Focus.

QB Lamar Jackson v ILB C.J. Mosley

The Ravens’ 2018 first-round pick will be squaring off against their 2014 first-rounder for the first time since Mosley departed in free agency following Jackson’s rookie season. The four-time Pro Bowler was on injured reserve when the two teams played in 2019 but he will be leading the charge to try to keep Jackson from gashing the Jets’ defense through the air and on the ground as he did in their previous matchup. The former league MVP threw for five touchdowns and nearly ran for 100 yards before sitting out the last half of the fourth quarter. Mosley will try his best to keep him in the pocket and take away some of his reads over the middle of the field where Jackson is among the best in the league at picking apart opposing defenses.


Predictions 

The Ravens will come out with a show of force and dominate on both sides of the ball as they cruise to a lopsided victory to start the 2022 season on a high note. Jackson will throw for four touchdowns and run for another, Bateman will be on the receiving end of two of his touchdown passes, and the defense will gobble up Flacco for six sacks and force three total turnovers.

Final score: Ravens 34 Jets 13

Comment Here
Subscribe
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Frank Stoutstens
Frank Stoutstens
2 months ago

Tried Screen Variety Tv?

1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x