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Ravens News 6/5: Week 1 picks ATS, hope at WR and more

Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun

Way-too-early NFL Week 1 picks: Patriots, Ravens among five to back in new era of betting - Jason La Canfora

Ravens (-5) vs. Bills

The Bills are probably going to start AJ McCarron and they are very much playing for the future. I suspect the Bills will be in shouting range of the first-overall pick when it’s all said and done, which won’t be a bad thing for their continued rebuild. In the meantime, they have lost 60 percent of the offensive line, the run game might not be nearly as robust, the defense has lots of holes, still, and they don’t have playmakers on offense. Baltimore is a solid-enough team with the coach and QB playing for their future there, and the receivers are upgraded from a year ago. Joe Flacco is finally healthy again and plenty motivated, and the Ravens at home early in the season are usually a safe bet.

On paper, Baltimore has a clear advantage in their Week 1 home matchup. Buffalo is probably the least talented team the Ravens will face in 2018.

Ravens have hope after needed changes at wide receiver - David Steele

As much as signs can be read in June — and they really can’t — they are fairly positive so far. Veteran additions Crabtree, Brown and Willie Snead are settling in. So is CFL import DeVier Posey. So are draft picks Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley.

Meanwhile, the heat is on for Chris Moore and, most of all, very recent first-round pick Breshad Perriman.

They’re the faces of change, necessary for everybody there, from Newsome to John Harbaugh to the present franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco — who, in all fairness, had a poor year last season but also had arguably less help than all but a handful of quarterbacks in the NFL.

If Crabtree, Snead, Brown and the rest do what they’ve done in their best seasons, the Ravens’ dedicated upgrade will pay off. Until then, though, none of them, nor Flacco, have many more excuses.

John ‘Smokey’ Brown is the X-factor. As evidenced by his career average of 14.5 yards per reception, the speedster can bring a vertical element that has been lacking in recent seasons.

Ravens corner Tavon Young says he’s ‘almost at 100 percent’ - Jordan Schatz

“I feel great. I spent a lot of time in the training room in the offseason, the whole offseason, during the season, just working on my knee running, getting it strong. Now, this is my first time playing football in almost a year, and I feel good, and I feel like I’m back to myself,” Young said. “It wasn’t really (emotional). I was happy. If you want to say that I was excited, it felt like Christmas. It felt like a gift just to be back, be back with my teammates. There’s nothing like that.

“I feel like I’m almost at 100 (percent), for real. I feel great. I feel good.”

Young, 24, who finished his rookie campaign as the team’s top defender in the slot, wound up missing his entire sophomore season as he rehabbed from a torn ACL.

The Upper Marlboro native, selected in the fourth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Temple, appeared in all 16 games during his first season with the Ravens, including 11 starts.

“For the first time, it looked like, to me, he really got past the trepidation of coming back off the knee (injury) – if that’s the right word. He probably wouldn’t accept that word,” Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said following Thursday’s practice. “But I thought today he let it cut loose a little bit more and looked really good.”

The Ravens impressive depth at cornerback should allow Young to focus on the slot cornerback position. With his quickness in coverage and sure tackling ability, Tavon’s skillset is perfect for the nickel corner job.