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Ravens News 9/17: Lay the touchdown and more

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Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Week 1 DVOA Ratings - Aaron Schatz

The Baltimore Ravens are on top of our ratings after Week 1 for the second straight year. Last year, they chokeslammed the Miami Dolphins 59-10. This year, they “only” beat Cleveland by a score of 38-6. Once again, just like last year, the Ravens are in the top three for offense, defense, and special teams after one week.

Actually, this is the third straight year the Ravens have done this. In 2018, they beat the Bills 47-3 in Week 1 but “only” ranked second because the Jets (yes, you read that correctly) had an even bigger win over the Detroit Lions.

Based on DVOA, the Ravens weren’t quite as good as the Browns were bad. Baltimore ended up with 88.0% DVOA, while Cleveland got spanked to the tune of -107.6% DVOA.

More interesting from this game may be the splits. Cleveland sold out to stop the run, and it worked! Baltimore ranked 29th this week in run offense DVOA. Of course, the Ravens also blew past the rest of the league in pass offense DVOA, over 140% while Seattle was second at 80.1%.

Browns Give Lamar Jackson Added Motivation With ‘Aaron Rodgers’ Comment - Todd Karpovich

When asked about matching up against the reigning NFL MVP, Browns defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson replied: “I don’t think he [Jackson] turned into Aaron Rodgers no time soon.”

Jackson then proceeded with another dominant performance, throwing for 275 yards with three touchdowns (151.2 qbr) in the Ravens 38-6 victory,

Three days after the game, Jackson was asked if he had heard Richardson’s comments:

“Yeah I did,” he replied.

Did that add more fuel to his game?

“I guess so,” Jackson said with a smile.

“You can tell he’s a lot more comfortable, and he’s a lot more pinpoint with it,” wide receiver Marquise Brown said. “It’s now our job to be at the spot because that’s where he’s putting it. He’s doing a good job of throwing it away from defenders and throwing it to where you can catch and run. So, he’s been doing a good job of just improving his game.”

Baltimore Ravens injury report: Ronnie Stanley, Jimmy Smith and 3 others miss practice - Aaron Kasinitz

While coach John Harbaugh said Monday he did not believe Stanley’s injury was serious, his absence from practice does cloud his status for Sunday’s Week 2 game at the Houston Texans. D.J. Fluker replaced Stanley at left tackle for the final few possessions of the Week 1 victory over the Browns.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith is also dealing with a hip injury and did not appear on the field Wednesday, according to the Ravens’ injury report. He was questionable for Week 1 because of back spasms but suited up and played 24 snaps.

Here are the full injury reports for both teams:

RAVENS

Did not practice: Stanley, Smith, DE Calais Campbell (not injury related), DT Justin Madubuike (knee), WR Chris Moore (finger)

Limited: RB Justice Hill (thigh)

TEXANS

Did not practice: None

Limited: WR Brandin Cooks (quad), G/T Tytus Howard (ankle), RB Duke Johnson (ankle), DE J.J. Watt (hip)

NFL Week 2 Preview: Fantasy football advice, betting tips and matchups to watch - PFF

BALTIMORE RAVENS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

Headline of the game: Drawing the Chiefs’ and Ravens’ offenses in back-to-back weeks is as bad as it gets

Houston’s defense wasn’t able to stop the Chiefs through the air or on the ground in Week 1, turning in bottom-10 expected points added per play marks in both run defense and coverage. With the injury to Gareon Conley, an uncertain cornerback group faces an uphill battle — each of Vernon Hargreaves, Lonnie Johnson Jr. and rookie John Reid was called on for 25-plus snaps in the opener. Both Hargreaves and Johnson graded out among the worst cornerbacks in the NFL in 2019, and none of the three cleared a 60.0 grade in coverage against Kansas City to open the 2020 season.

That should spell trouble against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense. They can beat you on the ground better than any team in the NFL, and Jackson has shown himself to be one of the better passers in the NFL over the past year, as well. His 88.8 passing grade in Week 1 trailed only Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, and he averaged a league-high 11.0 yards per attempt while posting a 152.1 passer rating. The Texans’ best opportunity to avoid going 0-2 is for Deshaun Watson to carry them to a shootout victory because it’s tough to see their defense stopping Baltimore’s offense.

NFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 2, 2020: Advanced computer model loving Ravens, 49ers - CBS

Top NFL predictions for Week 2

One of the top Week 2 NFL predictions the model recommends: the Ravens (-6.5) cover against the Texans. Baltimore went 10-6 against the spread in the regular season during its breakout 2019 campaign. The Ravens easily covered a seven-point spread in Week 1 against the Browns as they rolled 38-6 on Sunday.

The Ravens have historically dominated the Texans too. In fact, they are 9-2 all time straight-up, including a 41-7 blowout in their last meeting in 2019. Baltimore covered a four-point spread with over 30 points to spare in that game. SportsLine’s model is calling for more of the same from Baltimore on Sunday, as the Ravens cover in more than 60 percent of simulations, while the under (52.5) hits 60 percent of the time.