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Ravens News 5/14: UDFA Intrigue and more

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Divisional Round - Baltimore Ravens v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

2021 NFL schedule: Best game each week, from Dak Prescott’s return vs. the champs to an all-new Week 18 slate - Jared Dubin

Week 2: Chiefs at Ravens

Patrick Mahomes. Lamar Jackson. Travis Kelce. Mark Andrews. Tyreek Hill. Marcus Peters. Marlon Humphrey. Chris Jones. Calais Campbell. Tyrann Mathieu. Andy Reid. John Harbaugh. This game is absolutely chock full of stars on both sides of the ball. These teams have played memorable matchups in the recent past as well, so there’s a lot of history to draw on.

Week 6: Chargers at Ravens

This game might be more up your alley if you like defense. Some of the brightest defensive minds in the NFL will be doing battle in this game, with new Chargers coach Brandon Staley trying to devise a plan to stop Lamar Jackson, and Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale doing the same for Justin Herbert. There’s a whole lot of defensive-backfield talent involved here, plus some A-plus pass rushing.

Week 10: Ravens at Dolphins

This is another fascinating defensive matchup. Dolphins coach Brian Flores is one of the most creative defensive play-callers in the NFL, but his Bill Belichick-style defense, built back-to-front, is not the best kind of unit to go against Baltimore’s offense. How will he adjust? And can Tua Tagovailoa and company handle what the Ravens have in store for them both up front and on the back end? I can’t wait to find out.

Week 12: Browns at Ravens

Coming off their first playoff appearance in (approximately) 400,000 years, the Browns have one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the NFL. In Year 2 of the Kevin Stefanski era, they should be able to get their offense on track more quickly than they did a year ago. The Browns and Ravens also played a late-season barn-burner featuring 89 total points last year, so maybe they can recapture that magic in 2021.

Ravens Schedule Unbalanced With Home, Away Games, 5 AFCN Matchups Over Final Stretch - Todd Karpovich

Baltimore will play at home on Monday night for just the fourth time since Harbaugh’s 2008 Baltimore arrival. (The Ravens have been scheduled for 14 road Monday night games, including in 2021 at Las Vegas, during Harbaugh’s 14-year tenure.)

The Ravens will not travel for nearly a month between Weeks 5-9.

From Weeks 10-14, four of Baltimore’s five games will be on the road.

In primetime home games during the John Harbaugh Era (since 2008), Baltimore has posted a 15-2 regular-season record, winning 13 of its last 14 contests. Under Harbaugh, the Ravens are 7-0 at home on Thursday Night Football, 5-1 at home on Sunday Night Football, 2-1 at home on Monday Night Football and 1-0 on Tuesday night.

Five Takeaways From The Ravens’ 2021 Schedule - Bo Smolka

A fast start is critical.

Every team wants to open the season strong, but it might be critical for the Ravens to do so, given a schedule that looks back-loaded with tough games. Granted, schedule strength in May doesn’t always look the same by October, but of the Ravens’ final eight opponents, seven made the playoffs in 2020. The only outlier in that stretch is a road game at Cincinnati on Dec. 26.

If there’s a soft spot on the schedule, it comes from Weeks 3-7, when the Ravens face four teams that had losing records last year — the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals. But those first two games are on the road, and the Chargers and Bengals are both considered ascending teams with a franchise quarterback in his second season.

The most underrated player on all 32 NFL teams - Sam Monson

BALTIMORE RAVENS: CB MARLON HUMPHREY

Unlike many of the players on this list, Marlon Humphrey is already regarded as a top-tier player in the league. But even that might be underselling him. No cornerback has earned a higher PFF coverage grade in single coverage since the start of the 2018 season despite much of that coverage coming via the slot, where receptions are easier to come by for offenses.

Ravens Announce Nine Undrafted Rookie Signings - Clifton Brown

S Ar’Darius Washington, TCU

Size: 5-foot-8, 176 pounds

In 2019, Washington was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the nation’s second-highest graded safety, behind only teammate Trevon Moehrig.

OT Adrian Ealy, Oklahoma

Size: 6-foot-6, 321 pounds

He started 10 games at right tackle for the Sooners and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection. During his two years as a starter (2019-20), Oklahoma ranked second nationally in pass efficiency rating (179.8), fourth in total offense (518.8 ypg), fifth in points per game (42.5) and eighth in yards per rush (5.4). Even after signing free agent Alejandro Villaneuva, the Ravens could view Ealy as added offensive line depth.

DT Xavier Kelly, Arkansas

Size: 6-foot-5, 311 pounds

He was a graduate transfer at Arkansas after playing three years at Clemson, where he totaled 26 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. The Ravens may get a longer look after the Ravens did not draft a defensive lineman.