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Ravens vs. Seahawks potential X factors: 2021 first-rounders primed for breakout games

This interconference clash could be decided by contributions from a handful of players

Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9 for the first in a three-game homestand. They are strong home favorites as they look to win their fourth straight in a battle of the birds. Both teams are leading their respective divisions with just two losses.

In almost every game, there is a play or two made that helped swing momentum back into a team’s favor or extend their lead to put an opponent away for good. There are a handful of select players who either aren’t being talked about as much or are primed to have a big day.

Below are some of those individual players that could prove to be deciding factors in avoiding a potential.

WR Rashod Bateman

Baltimore Ravens v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The third-year pro is on the precipice of a breakout game. Bateman has been heating up lately and flashing his playmaking ability after a slow start to the season. He continues to build his confidence back up in his surgically repaired foot.

“I feel I’m getting back to my old self, maybe even better than I was before,” Bateman said Wednesday. “I feel like we’re heading the right direction.”

Bateman is coming off his most productive game of the year thus far, recording a season-high 52 scrimmage yards on three touches in the team’s win over the Arizona Cardinals. His first touch was a clutch 29-yard reception, where he turned into a defensive back and prevented an interception. His third resulted in his first career rush for 18 yards on a jet sweep.

Against a formidable Seahawks secondary, where a lot of attention will be devoted to Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr., Bateman is poised to be a big difference maker.

DT Travis Jones

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jones doesn’t have gaudy sack numbers like defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and hasn’t had a monster game like veteran nose tackle Michael Pierce. However, he is still having a very strong sophomore season.

“He’s been balling,” Madubuike said Wednesday. “I told him, ‘When you’re balling, everybody’s going to ball. Everybody’s going to eat, because you’re just a young guy that’s just super strong, super fast, super quick.

In last week’s win over the Cardinals, Jones was disruptive and finished with three total tackles — all of which were solos — including one for a loss. Look for him to continue being dominant against the run this week while showing more flashes as a pass rusher. The Seahawks’ interior offensive line is compromised, as three of their top guards are dealing with injuries and two are questionable to play.

EDGE Odafe Oweh

Baltimore Ravens v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Oweh came close to having a sack against Josh Dobbs last week. That would have been his first set of consecutive games with a full sack since his rookie year. He still managed to finish with a tackle in his first start since returning from an ankle injury. Oweh also extended his streak of games with a quarterback hit to seven in a row dating back to Week 17 of last season.

He’s been a handful off the edge for opposing offensive tackles this season including perennial Pro Bowlers. Oweh’s array of pass rush moves has grown and his explosive burst helps him generate quick pressure, as well as draw holding penalties. Whether he lines up across from the Seahawks’ left tackle Charles Cross or their backup right tackle Stone Forsythe, expect to see Oweh bringing the heat often.

CB Arthur Maulet

Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The veteran nickelback has played exceptionally well in the slot this year after a season-ending injury to Ar’Darius Washington. Maulet is having a career-best season as a blitzer off the edge and leads all cornerbacks with two sacks. He’s also been consistently preventing receivers from gaining separation in coverage.

Last week, Maulet also made an impact in run support with a tackle for loss. On Sunday, he’ll have quite the challenge with Seahawks’ Pro Bowler Tyler Lockett and first-round rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who are both dangerous out of slot.

RB Keaton Mitchell

Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Mitchell has only seen action in two regular season games thus far due to injuries. He has just one touch in two total offensive snaps and it went for a nine-yard reception. Mitchell is slated to make his return against the Seahawks after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury.

Seattle’s run defense ranks Top-10 in the league and is yielding the third-fewest yards per carry (3.6). However, Mitchell’s blazing speed can eliminate angles and beat defenders to the edge. While veteran Gus Edwards and Justice Hill will still likely receive the lion’s share of touches, Mitchell will be determined to make the most of his opportunities. He could emerge as a secret weapon in the second half of the season.