Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Titans - Clifton Brown
Ravens offensive tackles vs. OLB Rashad Weaver
All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley is still on the PUP list and starting right tackle Morgan Moses may see limited action, if any. Ja’Wuan James, rookie Daniel Faalele, David Sharpe and Jaryd-Jones Smith are among the Ravens’ tackles who could see plenty of action. They’ll be matched against Weaver, a 2021 fourth-round pick who spent last season on the injured list. Weaver will want to show he’s healthy and ready to roll, and the Ravens’ tackles will need to keep him away from the quarterbacks.
Ravens secondary vs. QB Malik Willis
New starting safety Marcus Williams won’t play and rookie corner Jalyn Armour-Davis did not practice this week. However, fans could get their first look at first-round safety Kyle Hamilton and corner Pepe Williams, two rookies who could figure prominently in Baltimore’s secondary. The Titans are grooming third-round pick Willis to be their eventual starting quarterback, although Ryan Tannehill remains the clear No. 1 for now. This will be Willis’ first NFL game experience and Hamilton and Williams would love to make plays against the young quarterback.
Ravens pass rush vs. Titans offensive line
The season-ending injury to Vince Biegel in training camp hurt Baltimore’s depth at outside linebacker. Justin Houston won’t play, and last year’s team sack leader Tyus Bowser is still on the PUP list. This is a golden opportunity for a pass rusher to stand out, be it Daelin Hayes, Jeremiah Moon or Steven Means, or a defensive lineman like rookie Travis Jones.
As the Ravens ready for their preseason opener, roster competitions take center stage - Jeff Zrebiec
Fourth and fifth wide receiver
This competition really hasn’t heated up, primarily because none of the team’s five undrafted free agents have made a push. Bridges got off to a strong start, but he’s struggled in recent practices. Bolden, Gaither and Williams are all dealing with physical issues. Wallace, meanwhile, was pretty much viewed as a lock for that fourth wide receiver spot behind Rashod Bateman, James Proche and Devin Duvernay, but he’s not distinguished himself in camp. Moore has and he’s made a very strong roster case. He’s probably been the third most productive receiver in practices behind Bateman and Proche. Victor has had his moments, too. There’s a chance that the Ravens could keep just four receivers and use tight end Isaiah Likely as a receiver, but the former is not ideal. The Ravens really need some of their young receivers to emerge in the preseason to force them to make some tough decisions.
We’re making several assumptions here. One, Peters, who is expected to return to practice later this month, will be ready for Week 1. Two, the Ravens have five cornerback locks in Peters, Humphrey, Stephens and rookies Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams. And three, the Ravens will keep five safeties (Marcus Williams, Chuck Clark, Kyle Hamilton, Tony Jefferson and Geno Stone), which could impact how many corners they have room to keep. If there is a position where the Ravens will keep an extra body or two, it is cornerback. They annually get hit hard by injuries at the position. Fuller, an eight-year vet and two-time Pro Bowl selection, was signed this offseason with designs on him occupying that No. 3/4 cornerback role. He’s showing better form in recent practices and that role still could be in play for him. He’s given up some big plays, but Seymour has had a solid training camp and Harbaugh recently lauded his special teams ability. Vereen, an undrafted rookie from Newberry, has opened eyes this summer.
Players chosen by: Jonas Shaffer, Baltimore Sun
Riser: EDGE ODAFE OWEH
Kyed: Oweh earned a respectable 67.9 PFF grade as a rookie first-round pick last year. He’s been making plays throughout training camp and appears primed to improve upon that mark in Year 2.
Faller: OG BEN CLEVELAND
Kyed: Cleveland began training camp on the non-football injury list after failing to pass his conditioning test. He’s since struggled in camp.
10. Marlon Humphrey
Baltimore Ravens · Sixth season
Humphrey sneaks into the final spot here over New Orleans’ Marshon Lattimore, who had a down year in 2021 and allowed seven touchdowns in coverage. Humphrey missed the final five games of 2021 with a torn pectoral muscle and the Ravens’ defensive production took a big hit. Baltimore allowed nearly five more points per game in Weeks 14-18 without Humphrey than it did in Weeks 1-13 with him. He’s one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league but also thrives on the outside, ranking second only to Atlanta’s A.J. Terrell in completion percentage allowed on the outside last season, per PFF.
Baltimore is maybe the most fascinating case of all, though, since it was somehow tied at the top of both charts. The Ravens’ 6-2 start was, as I wrote in November,enabled by a string of late-game rallies that seemed unsustainably lucky. They’d go on to win just four of their league-high nine coin-flip games in 2022 and miss the playoffs completely. Playing nine total coin-flip games in a season tied the Ravens with the six-year high set by the 2018 Cleveland Browns, who broke a nearly-two-year winless streak with a Week 3 comeback over the Jets and went 7-8-1 overall, with a little help from a 4-4-1 record in coin-flip games.
Though those two squads inspired more nail-biting, hair-pulling and chain-smoking from their fans than any of the other 190 team-seasons of the last six years,1 there’s no data to suggest anything unusual is happening with the NFL and close finishes. The leaguewide share of coin-flip games has been relatively stable, between 20.3 percent and 26.6 percent of all contests, and so has the per-team average since 2016.
That said, when about one out of every four NFL games comes down to good luck in the last five minutes, the “usual” range of possible outcomes for each team is still huge.