Ravens Week 1 Preview vs. New York Jets
The Baltimore Ravens kick off their 2022 season on Sunday, September 11 with an away game against the New York Jets. The game will be played on MetLife and will air at 1 p.m. EST on CBS. Both teams are coming off of seasons where neither made the playoffs in 2021 and both were commended for the additions they made in the offseason, but especially over the 2022 NFL Draft. This game features several interesting storylines, important matchups and could have playoff implications later on as both are AFC teams.
Looking at former first-round picks
The Ravens will play against two players selected in the first round of their respective drafts who were mainstays of the franchise during their tenure in Baltimore. On defense, they will face off against former franchise and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco, who was officially named the Jets’ starter for their first three games in place of injured signal caller sophomore Zach Wilson. On offense, they meet veteran four-time Pro Bowl linebacker CJ Mosley for the first time since he left free agency after the 2018 season.
First live action for starters
The team went into camp that year overly cautiously, holding no joint practices and holding off most of the healthy and rehabilitating preseason starters. That means Sunday’s matchup will be the first live replays against an opposing team who will have the vast majority of first-team units on either side of the ball since the end of the 2021 regular season. It will be interesting to see if there is an initial rust that needs to be shaken off that would result in a slow start and closer play in the first half or throughout the game.
Raven’s running back rotation
Starter JK Dobbins was a limited participant throughout practice week and is listed as questionable for the game. Even if he gets dressed, the sophomore is likely to start the season quickly as he has a cruciate ligament rupture. That leaves the rest and bulk of the snaps to be split 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 the Ravens will put their entire backs into the game plan and that the “hot hand” will get “a lot of action.”
“They brought me here to do plays,” said Drake. “Whatever that capacity is, I’m learning the playbook… I’m out there and they throw me in every situation. I accept all of this. As soon as the bright lights come on, I make the most of my opportunity.”
history of the matchup
The Ravens lead the all-time streak 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 loss. Before that, they had won eight straight games 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 walked away in a 42-21 win on Thursday night’s prime time on December 12, 2019.
Final Injury Report
The Ravens are the healthiest in over a year considering how devastated their roster was before the 2021 regular season even started. The only player they’ve officially ruled out is rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones, but that’s to be expected given their already shared schedule for returning from his hyperextension knee injury. Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley is listed as Doubtful after having limited two practice sessions this week and missing another. He will most likely sit out given how overcautious the team is when all of their players are recovering from major surgeries, and after Stanley only appeared in one game last year that happened to be the season opener, that’s entirely understandable.
Jackson won’t be the only quarterback without his veteran blindside protector in Week 1, as the Jets 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 with a shoulder injury that kept him out of practice all week. New York has no player listed as doubtful and the only other player left out is Wilson.
encounters to watch
WR Rashod Bateman vs. CB Sauce Gardner
The battle between the 2021 Ravens first-round pick and the fourth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft by the Jets will be the single most important matchup to watch in this game. Widely regarded as one of the top breakout contenders coming into his sophomore season, Bateman has looked phenomenal throughout the offseason and training camp. Gardner is coming off a preseason where he wasn’t even targeted, according to Pro Football Focus, and didn’t concede a single touchdown in his entire collegiate career. When these two come face to face, it becomes a must-watch for fans and analysts alike.
Raven’s pass rush against Jet’s O-line
While the inside of their offensive starting line looks solid, New York’s situation when it comes to offensive tackles is far less than ideal. With Brown out this week and Becton out for the year, New York will sideline George Fant in the right tackle and Conor McDermott will step up on the left. Though the Ravens only have two outside linebackers on the active roster in veteran Justin Houston and sophomore Pro Odafe Oweh, they still have a handful of options that could make them stand out from their practice team, and veteran defensive end Calais Campbell is in able to start and also dominates on the edge. Michael Pierce and Justin Madubuike will also be a handful between the tackles for Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern and Laken Tomlinson.
Raven’s O-Line vs. Jet’s Pass Rush
With Stanley most likely sitting out this week, the Ravens will likely start veteran Ja’Wuan James in his place. The former first round selection has not played in a regular season game since week 14 of the 2019 season due to injuries and being pulled from the 2020 season due to COVID concerns. He’s also making the transition to playing at left after being a career right tackle and looked good in his new spot preseason. The rest of the Ravens’ beginning offensive line is very solid to well above average, with fourth-year left guard Ben Powers, rookie center Tyler Linderbaum, and veterans Kevin Zeitler and Morgan Moses at right. New York is bringing back veteran edge-rusher Carl Lawson from injury after missing all of 2021 with a torn Achilles tendon, and they have first-round rookie pass-rusher Jermaine Johnson, who is in the pre-draft process connected with the Ravens, also get off the edge.
DB Kyle Hamilton vs TE CJ Uzomah
Last season as a member of the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, the seven-year veteran torched the Ravens for 127 receiving yards and two touchdowns on eight catches between the team’s two encounters. The Ravens have struggled to cover tight ends for quite some time, but they may have found the neutralizer for tight ends in their rookie security. The first-round rookie possesses the rare length and athleticism to cover essentially large-bodied receivers across the field. Unlike Gardner, who wasn’t even affected by the coverage, Hamilton didn’t allow a single reception in over twice as many coverage snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
QB Lamar Jackson vs. ILB CJ Mosley
The 2018 Ravens first-round pick will play their 2014 first-round pick for the first time since Mosley left free agency after Jackson’s rookie season. The four-time Pro Bowler was injured when the two teams played in 2019, but he will lead the charge in trying to stop Jackson from hitting the Jets’ defenses through the air and on the ground like he did in their previous matchup Has. The former league MVP threw for five touchdowns and rushed for nearly 100 yards before sitting out the latter half of the fourth quarter. Mosley will do his best to keep him in the bag and take away some of his reads in midfield, where Jackson is among the best in the league at tearing apart opposing defenses.
The Ravens will come out with a show of force, dominating on both sides of the ball as they drive to a lopsided win 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 turnovers total.
Final score: Raven’s 34 Jets 13
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