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Ravens vs. Seahawks: 5 players to watch

Seattle gives Baltimore one of its toughest tests to date

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Earl Thomas will certainly be the talk of the towns against his former team, the Seattle Seahawks.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens are traveling up to Seattle to take on a current 5-1 Seahawks team that is rolling through their 2019 schedule. Russell Wilson has been a top MVP candidate, throwing 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. This will be the defense’s toughest test after a mid- season rebuild and the toughest atmosphere Lamar Jackson’s offense has experienced. Seattle is a sound and stable football team that is marching its way towards another playoff berth. This will be a good test for all the people saying the Ravens are worse than their record says they are.

Baltimore knows who they are on offense, but the defense is still trying to figure out who they are. The addition of Marcus Peters helps the secondary tremendously and will help create turnovers, but how effective will they be against another great quarterback? Sunday will largely determine where this football team stands. No more excuses, it is time to step up and play when your competition is clearly better than you.

Earl Thomas III:

Earl Thomas will clearly be the storyline playing his former team in the city that started his career. Thomas played nine seasons for Seattle and was a leader of the legendary “Legion of Boom.” With the addition of Marcus Peters, Thomas will be able to play to his strengths and be a true free flying safety. I’m sure there is nothing more that Thomas wants then to go into his old team’s house and play out of his mind.

There has been a lot of talk that Seattle knows what to expect from him as a player and his tendencies. Let us not forget that Earl has the same knowledge of Russell WIlson and Pete Carroll’s habits that he can share with his offense and defense. Thomas will share whatever information helps his football team win, there is no doubt about that.

Thomas will look to create turnovers against his former teammates this Sunday. I’m sure that it will be somewhat emotional considering the way things ended with Head Coach Pete Carroll. This will definitely be an interesting matchup to watch.

Marcus Peters:

The Ravens recently sent Kenny Young and a fifth-round draft pick in 2020 for cornerback Marcus Peters of the Los Angeles Rams, an absolute steal for Eric DeCosta and company. Peters flew in to Baltimore yesterday and is planned to practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday to prepare to play in some capacity Sunday against the Seahawks. Peters already played the Seahawks this year while he was with the Rams and this gives another tool in the belt of his coaches and new teammates. Peters is currently the 14th-ranked cornerback according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). He has been stellar this year against some major wide receivers including Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans. This just goes to show how well he has played up to this point through six games.

Baltimore will be hoping for a seamless transition from LA to Baltimore and then getting on a plane to almost immediately fly to Seattle. Harbaugh wants to give Peters as much time with his coaches as possible, understandably. His number hasn’t been announced yet, but look for Peters to get significant playing time Sunday when the Ravens are going to need him most.

Justice Hill:

Last Sunday against the Bengals, Justice Hill seemed to find an increased workload, especially in the passing game. I have said before that Baltimore was trying to keep Hill under wraps for the first part of the season, only to unleash him once they were ready to spread the ball around and get creative. The deeper the season goes, the more of Justice Hill you will see.

Everything about this guy screams Greg Roman’s offense. He’s quick, elusive, sneaks through tackles, and blocks and seems incredibly football smart. This is a player that will force himself onto the field and that will continue Sunday against the Seahawks to keep them on edge.

Justice Hill has the potential to be a lead back on this team when the time is right. The role that he plays now, is perfect for Lamar Jackson’s development and especially significant to get him into a rhythm when needed. Look for Hill to be used more than any other game this season.

L.J. Fort:

After the Kenny Young trade, Baltimore feels over confident that L.J. Fort can man the duties next to Josh Bynes as the WILL linebacker. Patrick Onwuasor hasn’t practiced since the Steelers game allowing Fort to step into an increased role. Fort played admirably against the Bengals in all levels of the defense, even recording a nice pass defense in coverage. Bynes and Fort have been an extremely effective duo for being early-season free agents off the streets. The additions have remade how the Ravens play their game on defense, but Sunday will be a true test on how effective Fort has been. The Ravens just finished playing back-to-back “cake walk” games and are looking to make a statement.

If “Peanut” Onwuasor doesn’t play Sunday, watch for L.J. Fort to step up and continue to impress. Let’s see how well he can play when the level of competition is at its highest. Clearly the Ravens like what they saw, only enough to ship out Kenny Young in the process.

Nick Boyle:

The Ravens were extremely effective in the run game against Cincinnati because the blocking up front was stellar. Nick Boyle put on an absolute clinic on how to block, minus him tripping over his feet on a keeper by Lamar Jackson. Boyle gets to his block quickly and effectively. I’m confident that when Boyle gets his hands on his opponent, that tackler is not longer in the picture.

Boyle will have to have another good game in the blocking department, but also look for him to get some creative looks in the passing game as high percentage throws for Lamar Jackson. Jackson relies on tight ends very heavily and this will continue Sunday. Nick Boyle is becoming a credible pass-catcher in Lamar Jackson’s playbook.

Look for Boyle to receive some dump offs with space in front of him. Lamar will lean on Boyle in the run game but he will reward him with some receptions. Maybe his first career touchdown comes in Seattle?