The Ravens’ latest wide receiver misfortune will add further scrutiny to a lowly regarded position group that, only a year ago, seemed on the verge of a breakthrough. But after trading away top wideout and former first-round pick Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who was unhappy with his role in coordinator Greg Roman’s offense, last offseason, and now losing Bateman to injury, the Ravens will turn to Devin Duvernay as their top option over the season’s second half.
Duvernay is seventh in the NFL in all-purpose yardage (801 yards), but his wide receiver production (24 catches for a career-high 313 yards) accounts for less than half of his total. The All-Pro punt returner is 42nd in the NFL in yards per route run (1.68) among wide receivers with at least 20 targets, according to Pro Football Focus, a metric considered one of the more reliable indicators of receiver ability. Bateman is ninth; Demarcus Robinson, who’s emerged as a solid rotational piece, is 80th.
The Ravens have largely avoided spread-offense looks this season, preferring heavier personnel groupings featuring fullback Patrick Ricard and multiple tight ends. In Bateman’s absence, rookies Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar, who’s yet to make his NFL debut, could take on greater roles in the team’s passing game.
Ravens’ Rashod Bateman to undergo season-ending foot surgery - Jamison Hensley
The loss of Bateman is a significant blow for the first-place Ravens (5-3), whose wide receiver group has been one of the youngest and most unproven in the league. Baltimore’s wide receivers have totaled 790 yards receiving this year, which is the third fewest in the NFL.
Without Bateman, Jackson’s four receivers on the active roster are Devin Duvernay, Demarcus Robinson, Tylan Wallace and James Proche II. Only Robinson (1,819) has produced more than 800 yards receiving in his NFL career.
“It’s a huge loss,” left tackle Ronnie Stanley said. “He’s a dynamic wide receiver. We’re going to miss him — a competitor like that who plays at a high level and threatens the defense. But, at the same time, he knows and we all know that we can’t sulk and we have to move forward.”
Bateman accounted for three of Baltimore’s five completions over 30 yards. The top free agent wide receiver available is Odell Beckham Jr., who is reportedly looking at a mid-November return after tearing an ACL in Super Bowl LVI.
NFL picks against the spread - Vic Tafur
I thought the Ravens were going on a run even before they traded for Bears LB Roquan Smith. Since entering the NFL in 2018, Smith ranks second among all LBs in “splash plays” (177), behind only TJ Watt. (Splash plays include takeaways, sacks, pressures leading to throwaways, pass breakups and stops on late downs.)
WR Rashod Bateman is a big loss for the Ravens, who also may be without Mark Andrews. Among the five Ravens who have run 100-plus routes, Bateman leads the group in yards/route (2.38) and yards per target (10.2). He’s behind only Andrews in targets/route (28.6%).
But Lamar Jackson has a pretty big edge over Andy Dalton and the Ravens defense is slowly starting to resemble itself. Plus, you are getting some line value because the mediocre Saints blew out the Raiders, who were a no-show last week.
The pick: Ravens (-2.5)
Week 9 NFL Picks Against the Spread - Sheil Kapadia
Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints (+2.5)
Can’t decide if I like the Ravens’ move to acquire linebacker Roquan Smith or not. On one hand, any time you can get an All-Pro player who’s 25, you should strongly consider it. I could easily see Smith being the face of their defense for the next 6-8 years. On the other, the Ravens didn’t sign Smith to an extension as part of the deal. Now Smith will have significant leverage in that negotiation, and the cost is going to be north of $19 million per year. The Ravens are going to have to pay up to keep Lamar Jackson long term and need to be smart about how they use resources on the rest of their roster. I admire the aggressiveness, but I’m not sure I would’ve been so bold.
The Saints flat-out dominated the Raiders last week. Alvin Kamara had 27 touches for 158 yards. The Ravens don’t have one thing they can hang their hat on, and I could see a low-scoring game. But Baltimore can win in different ways and has a big edge on special teams. I like them to take care of business here.
The pick: Ravens (-2.5)
Week 9 NFL game picks: Eagles stay perfect against Texans on Thursday night; Lions knock off Packers - Gregg Rosenthal
These would be my top two picks in the “better than their record” Olympics. Both teams could go streaking in the second half of the season — especially New Orleans, if rookie cornerback Alontae Taylor is as good as he looks and Marshon Lattimore returns to health. It’s too early to say the Saints’ defense is back, but the offense is efficient enough and the Superdome will be rocking. I only give the Ravens a slight edge because they might have the best special teams in football, while the Saints might have the worst.
NFL Week 9 Picks and Predictions: Lock of the Week, Upset of the Week, and Scores for Every Game - Dallas Robinson
Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints
The Ravens ran over the Buccaneers in Week 8, totaling 231 yards on the ground. They’re unlikely to have that much success against a Saints run defense that ranks first in EPA, so Lamar Jackson could top his season-high of 38 passing attempts.
Meanwhile, the Saints’ defense -– which had given up at least 30 points in three consecutive games -– shut out the Raiders in Week 8 while allowing just 183 yards of offense. Facing Lamar is a much different challenge, and New Orleans will have to work to contain him in the pocket.
Ravens 24, Saints 17