While the Ravens will not return to the field until Monday evening, there is still plenty to watch this week, starting with tonight’s slate of games.
Super Bowl rematch
While the stakes and intensity will not emulate February’s atmosphere, Tom Brady is expected to make his preseason debut against the Eagles tonight. Still transitioning back from his late season ACL injury, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will not make an appearance, and he is not a lock to start the regular season either at this point. With both squads still positioned to make another deep run in 2018, the preseason encore of Super Bowl LII should be an intriguing kickoff to Week 2.
The making of Mahomes
With Alex Smith now in Washington, Patrick Mahomes may very well serve as a case study for other teams, namely the Ravens, on quarterback transitions. It is hard to ignore the parallels between the Chiefs’ decision to draft Mahomes in 2017 and the Ravens’ decision to select Lamar Jackson in this year’s draft. If Mahomes is successful and able to get the Chiefs over the playoff hump that long plagued Smith during his tenure in Kansas City, then other franchises may be more apt to draft an incumbent long before their competent starter phases out of the NFL. Friday’s match up against the Falcons is another stepping stone in validating Kansas City’s choice to take a chance on the former Texas Tech star.
Khalil Mack watch
With the Raiders and Khalil Mack no closer to reaching a deal, rumors are building that Mack could be traded. Given the standoff, Mack is extremely unlikely to suit up against the Rams. Given that Mack is one of the NFL’s best defensive ends, his holdout is of interest to many teams around the league. Mack was already hit with a $814,000 fine for missing Week 1 of the preseason and will be subject to the same deduction if he does not report this week.
Jimmy G in the spotlight
Finally out of the shadows in Foxborough, Jimmy Garoppolo is starting to experience the scrutiny and attention that accompanies being a franchise centerpiece. Whether it is his criticized choice of dating partner or the expectation that he can lift an organization that has gone 21-43 in the last four seasons, The 49ers quarterback will be a focal point of the 2018 season. After completing just 3 of 6 passes against the Dallas Cowboys, he will look to improve in his second Texas match up against the Houston Texans,
Colts changing Luck?
The Ravens will face the Andrew Luck-led Colts on Monday night. In Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, Luck completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 64 yards and was sacked once. The Colts have floundered in the quarterback’s absence, posting a 4-12 record last season, and Luck has missed 26 games in the last three years. Once billed as the next Peyton Manning in Indy, the Colts will have to hope he can fully rebound from injury. With a weak offensive line, there would be little surprise if the Colts end up starting multiple quarterbacks in 2018.