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Preseason Week 3: Ravens vs. Eagles preview

Battle of the birds on dress rehearsal night.

NFL: AUG 15 Preseason - Packers at Ravens Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After rattling off consecutive victories against the Jaguars and Packers, the Ravens hit the road in Week 3 of the preseason to take on the Eagles. After two successful joint practices earlier this week with Philadelphia, the Ravens are looking to extend their preseason win streak to 16 games.

The general consensus surrounding the presesaon is that the third game is the most important one, as most of the starters see a good amount of playing time.By this point in the offseason, many teams already have an idea of what their 53-man roster is going to look like.

For the Ravens, however, there are still numerous question marks at different positions on both sides of the ball. Here’s a preview of the team’s showdown with the Eagles.

When: Thursday, August 22, 7:30 PM

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia (PA)

Note - the projected starters below are subject to change prior to kickoff

Projected starters:

Baltimore Ravens

QB - Lamar Jackson DT - Michael Pierce
RB - Mark Ingram DT - Brandon Williams
FB - Patrick Ricard DE - Chris Wormley
LT - Ronnie Stanley OLB - Pernell McPhee
LG - Ben Powers MLB - Patrick Onwuasor
C - Matt Skura MLB - Kenny Young
RG - James Hurst OLB - Matthew Judon
RT - Orlando Brown Jr. CB - Marlon Humphrey
TE - Nick Boyle CB - Jimmy Smith
WR - Chris Moore SS - Tony Jefferson
WR - Willie Snead IV FS - Earl Thomas

Philadelphia Eagles

Offense Defense
Offense Defense
QB - Josh McCown DT - Tim Jernigan
RB - Jordan Howard DT - Malik Jackson
LT - Jason Peters DE - Brandon Graham
LG - Issac Seumalo DE - Derek Barnett
C - Jason Kelce OLB - Zach Brown
RG - Brandon Brooks OLB - Kamu Grugier-Hill
RT - Lane Johnson MLB - Nigel Bradham
TE - Zach Ertz CB - Ronald Darby
WR - Alshon Jeffery CB - Sidney Jones
WR - DeSean Jackson SS - Malcom Jenkins
SWR - Nelson Agholor FS - Rodney McLeod

What to watch for:

Defense’s toughest test to date

No offense to the likes of Gardner Minshew and DeShone Kizer, but the Ravens defense has yet to face much adversity this preseason. The Jaguars and Packers largely struggled to move the ball and while Baltimore deserves credit for being stingy, they’ll face a much more potent offense this week - especially if Carson Wentz suits up for a few drives. Even if Wentz doesn’t play, the Eagles have capable signal-callers in Josh McCown and Clayton Thorson, a strong offensive line, and several talented players at WR-RB-TE.

Opportunity awaits for young offensive lineman

We’ve talked all offseason about someone emerging at left guard, and unfortunately a surefire starter has yet to separate himself from the pack. Jermaine Eluemunor has been running with the 1’s for several weeks but the results have been mixed. Eluemunor is nursing an injury he suffered earlier this week, however, opening the door for James Hurst, Ben Powers, or Patrick Mekari, the latter of which is looking to continue the streak of UDFA making the Ravens 53-man roster. Any standout performance from either of these three guys could push them atop the depth chart alongside or ahead of Eluemunor.

Can Justice Hill and Chris Moore continue their strong play?

Baltimore’s two best offensive playmakers through two preseason games have been WR Chris Moore and RB Justice Hill. Moore has caught all six of his targets for 100 yards, as well as a 23-yard touchdown reception from Trace McSorley against the Packers. With Seth Roberts and Marquise Brown missing time, Moore may be in the driver’s seat for a starting receiver spot. The same can’t be said for Hill, although his performance to date suggests he may play a larger role in the offense than originally thought. Against Green Bay and Jacksonville, Hill posted a combined 98 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown.

Key matchups:

C Matt Skura vs. DT Fletcher Cox

One of the only constants in Baltimore this offseason has been Matt Skura, the team’s starting center. Skura has been available and steady throughout OTA’s, minicamp, and training camp. Unfortunately, more often than not, Skura’s on-field performance leaves much to be desired. Thursday night represents a great test for the Duke product, as the Eagles signed a talented defensive end in Malik Jackson this offseason. Jackson played 13 snaps in Philadelphia’s matchup against Jacksonville last week, and even a similarly-low snap count tomorrow would pose a challenge for Skura.

CB Marlon Humphrey vs. WR Alshon Jeffery or DeSean Jackson

After signing former Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson in free agency, Philadelphia now boasts a talented outside wideout duo of Alshon Jeffery and “D-Jax”. Whether or not they suit up on Thursday night remains to be seen but if either of them play, star cornerback Marlon Humphrey will likely be shadowing them. In the unlikely scenario that both receivers are active, Humphrey should be matched up with Jeffery, one of the league’s most athletic and talented jump-ball playmakers. Jackson, on the other hand, is a bonafide deep threat. Humphrey is well-equipped to handle any type of receiver but either Jeffery or Jackson would pose a solid challenge.