The Baltimore Ravens had one of their best players on both sides of the ball miss the entire short week of practice leading up to their primetime matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews still has a chance to suit up after being listed as questionable on the final injury report, six-time Pro Bowl defensive end, Calais Campbell was ruled out with an illness that kept him out of practice all week.
This will be the first game of the season that Campbell will miss and the sixth overall since joining the team via trade in 2020. He ranks third on the team in sacks with three and second in quarterback hits with six through seven games and has also recorded a forced and seven total pressures according to Pro Football Reference.
The other players they have listed as questionable in addition to Andrews include starting cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, backup cornerback Brandon Stephens, starting left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, inside linebacker Josh Bynes, running back Gus Edward, and wide receiver Rashod Bateman.
Buccaneers Rule Out Multiple Starters
Tampa is not as fortunate on the injury front and is entering this game much more banged up than Baltimore. They will be without five starters including the two best players in their secondary safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (concussion) and cornerback Carlton Davis III (hip). Reserve cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was also ruled out with a quad injury
On offense, they will be without rookie starting guard Luke Goedeke (foot), starting tight end Cameron Brate (neck), and No. 3 wide receiver Russell Gage (hamstring). Veteran wide receiver Julio Jones will be a game-time decision due to a knee and veteran defensive tackle Akiem Knicks is listed as questionable with a foot injury,
The interconference bout between the teams heading in different directions will be decided by battles between specific players, position groups, and units.
Ravens D-line v Buccaneers O-Line
Even with Campbell out for this game the Ravens still have plenty of talent on their defensive line to wreak havoc upon and take advantage of the Buccaneers’ subpar interior offensive line. Expect big days from third-year pro Justin Madubuike and rookie Travis Jones as they will likely be generating consistent pressure up the middle which has historically been the best way to rattle Tom Brady. The Ravens’ edge rushers have been heating up as of late as well and will have a tough test going up against right tackle Tristan Wirfs but veteran left tackle Donovan Smith is more vulnerable of the two and is coming off a rough game in Week 7.
Tyler Linderbaum v Vita Vea
The Ravens’ standout rookie center with have his toughest test yet with the Buccaneers’ Pro Bowl interior defensive lineman. Vea leads his team in sacks with 3.5 from his defensive tackle spot and at 6-foot-4 and 347-pounds, he will be a huge obstacle in the run game while still presenting a potent pass-rush threat. According to NFL Rookie Watch, Linderbaum has allowed just one sack in 240 pass-blocking snaps which came this past Sunday against the Cleveland Browns in Week 7.
Ravens CBs v Buccaneers WRs
Thankfully the Ravens will have their All-Pro cornerback tandem available for this matchup as both of them will be tasked with guarding two of the top wide receivers in the league. Humphrey will likely shadow Chris Godwin, especially when he lines up in the slot while Peters and Mike Evans will be must-see TV on the perimeter. The last time Evans played the Ravens came in Week 15 of the 2018 season and he caught four of nine targets for 121 receiving yards including a long of 64 while Godwin was held without a catch on three targets. Since then the Ravens acquired Peters via trade the following year and Humphrey has established himself as one of the premier shutdown corners in the league.
Mark Andrews v Lavonte David
After being held without a catch for the first since Week 14 of his rookie season in 2018 in the team’s win over the Browns, the Ravens All-Pro tight end will be looking to rebound against the Buccaneers. If active, he will certainly get more than just two targets like he did this past Sunday and many of those snaps will likely come against Tampa’s All-Pro inside linebacker who is one of the best players at his position in coverage. Their battles in space over the middle of the field will be fun to watch and key to the Ravens’ ability to stay in rhythm in the passing game since Andrews is the team’s leading receiver and Lamar Jackson’s most trusted target.
Patrick Queen v Leonard Fournette
The Ravens’ third-year inside linebacker has been stacking one impressive game after over the past month with the way he has been helping limit some of the league’s most dangerous running backs as both runners and receivers out of the backfield. This week he’ll be tasked with keeping his fellow LSU alumni under wraps whenever he gets the ball in his hands on handoffs or in space. Fournette is having a bit of a down year, averaging just 3.5 yards a carry but has been more effective as a pass catcher with an average of seven yards per catch according to Pro Football Reference.
This has all the makings of a commanding Ravens victory but a team led by Brady with its back against the wall should never be counted out or slept one, especially when they have as much talent as this year’s Buccaneers. Nevertheless, Tampa is vulnerable and underperforming in some key aspects of the game that the Ravens are strong and excel at executing.
The Ravens will gash the Buccaneers struggling run defense with heavy doses of Gus ‘The Bus’ Edwards, Justice Hill, Kenyan Drake, and Jackson on their way to a comfortable win by double-digits. Their tremendous success on the ground will set up the play-action passing game for explosive plays and result in Jackson throwing multiple touchdowns passes for the first time since Week 3, he hasn’t thrown more than one in a game since then.
On defense, the Ravens pass rush will stay hot and prevent the Buccaneers’ offense from getting back on track. They will tie their season high for sacks in a single game of five with half or maybe even the bulk coming from the interior defensive line. Brady will be giving his banged-up offensive line an earful on every other drive in frustration and will be forced into helping the Ravens’ defense extend the longest active turnover streak in the league by throwing an ill-advised pass that gets intercepted by Peters.
Final score: 38-16