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Ravens Get Good News as QB Lamar Jackson Returns to Practice

All week the Ravens told everyone that the knee injury suffered by quarterback and last year’s NFL MVP Lamar Jackson was “minor,” yet until he took the practice field fans were holding their breath.

Well Ravens fans, you can breathe again.

Jackson was back to his old self Friday as his two-day absence of practice is done, as he was back on the practice field Friday.

Jackson participated in practice and didn’t display any limitations, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, including going without a knee brace after he was listed on the injury report with a knee issue.

The Ravens will battle the Bengals and rookie QB Joe Burrow Sunday, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday that Jackson is “100 percent” and will play Sunday.

Ravens and the Chiefs – Round Two Coming Week Three on Monday Night in Baltimore

Through two weeks of the season the competition level for the Baltimore Ravens has slowly gotten better each week.

Week one it was the sorely unprepared and undisciplined Cleveland Browns, who didn’t seem to put up much of a fight as the Ravens led by 18 by halftime at 24-6.

Sunday in Houston it was J.J. Watt, DeShaun Watson and the Texans, but again the Ravens were able to hold them in check for the most part and by the time it was over walk out of Houston with a 33-16 win.

Now though, the competition will get tougher – maybe as tough as it can possibly get.

Monday night the Ravens will play host to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that the Ravens had to watch hoist a Lombardi Trophy a few months back that they felt would be going to them.

The oddsmakers currently have the Ravens as an early 2.5-3 point favorite to beat the Chiefs, but for the most part it’ll be an even game by the time the two teams kickoff at 8:15pm ET Monday evening.

Get the most updated NFL lines, odds, spreads, and picks from BetQL for every game and every bet type.

The Ravens were one of the teams that nearly got it done against the Chiefs last year in an early season battle at Arrowhead Stadium.

It was another coming out party that day for Lamar Jackson, as the Ravens and NFL MVP from a season ago was on fire, throwing for 267 yards, and rushing for 46 yards and a score.

The Baltimore defense though could not stop Mahomes, as he threw for 374 yards and three scores as the Ravens fell by a final of 33-28.

You got a sense that day you were seeing the best two teams in the AFC in 2019, and standings wise by the time the season ended that was the case.

If the Ravens had not choked in the divisional round against the upstart Tennessee Titans, they would have hosted the AFC Championship against Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Instead, they had to sit and watch as the Chiefs got the honor of hosting the game for the second straight season, but this time they got it done against the Titans, and eventually took care of the 49’ers in the Super Bowl.

It should be a fun week leading up to round two Monday night at M&T Bank Stadium, and even though the stands won’t be full, it’ll be an electric atmosphere as two teams that have unfinished business play what could be the best game of 2020.

Wednesday Injury Report for the Ravens Battle with the Browns

CLEVELAND BROWNS
 
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday T Christopher Hubbard (ankle), CB Kevin Johnson (liver), CB Greedy Williams (shoulder), LB Mack Wilson (knee)
 
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday CB M.J. Stewart (hamstring), C J.C. Tretter (knee)
 
BALTIMORE RAVENS
 
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday RB Justice Hill (thigh), DT Justin Madubuike (knee), WR Chris Moore (finger)

Lofty Expectations For Ravens – Browns on Deck

Better than Last Year?

Baltimore ended the 2019 season with the best record and most points scored in the league while breaking an NFL rushing record that stood for 41 years until Lamar Jackson and company staked their claim to that title with 3,296 yards.

Head coach John Harbaugh shared his thoughts on the accomplishment, “It’s like Joe DiMaggio’s record – that’s the record that would never be broken, and it just got broken by the 2019 Baltimore Ravens. It feels really good. The first team I think ever to average 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in a season. That’s nothing to take lightly. That’s something that these guys are going to have and we’re going to carry with us for a long time, coaches and players.”

But the good vibes didn’t last much longer because the Ravens got knocked off of their pedestal by the Titans in their first playoff game. And now, after months of soul searching as to where it all went so wrong following a regular-season in which it all went so right, we are left to contemplate how this season’s iteration will compare to last.

If we take a look at what the boys in Vegas are saying, we can see that the NFL odds on the Ravens are reflecting them as the team to beat, along with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. As of this writing, the Sin City and online sportsbooks are dealing Baltimore at +350 to win the AFC, trailing only the Chiefs at +325, and +700 to win the Super Bowl, again behind only KC at +650.

Despite the Ravens being viewed as a half-click below Kansas City, but better than every other team this season, it appears as though Baltimore will be better suited this year to annihilate opponents during the regular season and dethrone the Chiefs as Super Bowl champs. Consider that every offensive position is as good, or better, except for right guard with the retirement of Marshal Yanda.

Lamar Jackson was immense last season, putting up staggering numbers and copping his first MVP title. There is no reason to believe he won’t be at least as good this season and will have another year of seasoning under his belt, which is nothing but a good thing for a 23-year-old wunderkind.

The Ravens’ ground attack was led by Jackson but let’s not forget that Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill also contributed to the record-breaking rushing season. All three will return but they will be joined by J.K. Dobbins, arguably the best pure running back in the 2020 class when he fell to Baltimore late in the second round. It’s a case of the rich getting richer.

The Ravens’ rushing game was so prolific, monopolizing a good portion of their game plan, that it’s not surprising the receiving corps was lightly used, totaling just 1,419 yards, the fewest since the 2011 Jacksonville Jaguars. The corps will be back, almost intact with the exception of Seth Roberts, but this year they will have their featured receiver, Marquise Brown, at full throttle after having a surgical screw removed from his foot.

Baltimore’s offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, believes his second-year receiver will be better because of it, “I think last year, all of us, to a man, were saying, ‘Wow, once ‘Hollywood’ (Brown) has an offseason — a real offseason — wow, that’s going to be something.’ So, I think we are going to see that this year. I really think he’s had a great offseason, physically, and [I’m] very excited about what that looks like this year. [I] can’t wait to get the ball rolling.”

Browns Visit Baltimore in Week 1

Last year the Browns invaded Baltimore in Week 4 and stunned the Ravens, 40-25, accounting for one of only two regular-season losses in 2019. But to be fair, Baltimore was coming off of a 33-28 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead and was not so surprisingly a bit worn out when they entertained Cleveland the following week. The Ravens would return the favor later on in the season when they traveled to FirstEnergy Stadium and defeated the Browns, 31-15, in Week 16.

The NFL lines being offered on this game have the Ravens as 10-point home favorites but if Lamar Jackson and his crew of Ravens are bent on redemption after suffering a humiliating loss to the Browns at home last year then you can be sure this game will be decidedly different than last year’s Week 4 showdown. Watch out for Baltimore this season as the Ravens will be flying high all year long!

How “Complete” Are the Ravens as They Enter the 2020 Season?

The Ravens had the best regular season of any team in the National Football League in 2019, yet fell well short of their Super Bowl goals as they were dispatched in their first playoff game at home in an upset loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The team has already put a plan in place to get better in 2020, and also are looking to make sure the letdown of a playoff loss in round two won’t happen again.

According to many they are the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this season, and today NFL.com has a column up about what team in the league is the most “complete,” and the Ravens are right at the top.

Here’s what the piece had to say:

1. Baltimore Ravens

General manager Eric DeCosta has assembled the best roster in the NFL, bar none. Last season, the Ravens led the league in scoring and finished third in scoring defense. Both units are positioned to dominate once again in 2020.

On offense, it obviously starts with Lamar Jackson. The former Heisman Trophy winner and reigning NFL MVP took a massive leap forward in his second pro season, leading the league with 36 touchdown passes and shattering Michael Vick’s QB record with 1,206 rushing yards. Scary thought: He’s only going to get better, with a talented, young supporting cast he can continue to grow alongside. Second-round pick J.K. Dobbins, with his talent, toughness, work ethic and pedigree, was put on Earth to run the football for the Ravens. With Dobbins joining a backfield that already featured Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, Baltimore has every possible skill set you could want from the running back position. Meanwhile, second-year wideout Hollywood Brown can fly, making him a big-play threat on every snap. And tight end Mark Andrews is fresh off a breakout season that ended in the Pro Bowl, thanks to 852 yards and 10 touchdowns. Marshal Yanda’s retirement is a hit to the offensive line, no doubt, but the Ravens boast one of the NFL’s top tackle tandems in 26-year-old Ronnie Stanley and 24-year-old Orlando Brown Jr.

Defensively, Baltimore remains absolutely stacked in the back end, with first-team All-Pro CB Marlon Humphrey fronting one of the league’s most talented secondaries. On the second level, the Ravens snagged first-round pick Patrick Queen, whose athletic game is perfect for the modern NFL. And up front, DeCosta traded for Calais Campbell and added Derek Wolfe in free agency, giving the D-line a pair of experienced, versatile veterans with great leadership skills. Did I mention that Campbell’s been a Pro Bowler in five of the past six seasons?

No NFL team is perfect, but DeCosta’s fine work — in free agency and the draft — has produced a roster with the fewest blemishes in the league today.

Matt Judon Happy with the Ravens, But Still Looking for Long Term Deal

Matt Judon has become a valued asset for the Ravens’ defense, but he’d soon like to secure his worth with a long-term deal, Michael Baca of NFL.com reports.

“I think we have 30 more days to work out a long-term contract,” Judon told reporters in a video conference call Monday. “I’m happy to be a Raven. I want to stay here for as long as I play, but I understand that it’s a business and they kind of have a bad/good problem to have. We have a lot of young talent.”

Coming off his first Pro Bowl season, the Ravens pass rusher signed his franchise tag in late May and assured Baltimore will be getting its 2019 sack leader back for the 2020 season. Teams have until July 15 to sign their franchise-tagged players to long-term deals.

Judon grew his production last year, posting career-high numbers in sacks (9.5), QB hits (33) and forced fumbles (4), while also becoming a key leader for a defense that ranked in the top five in points and yards allowed per game in 2019. Judon’s value doesn’t end on the field either. The 27-year-old has the ability to play both defensive end and outside linebacker, and as a fifth-round pick in 2016, Judon has been a mere blip on the Ravens’ cap during his tenure.

“I’m pleased to be tagged,” Judon said. “I feel like only a few players get to go through this in their lifetime. As much as I want stability in the future, I’m proud of where I’m at and where I came. I’m a fifth-round draft pick out of Grand Valley State.”

Jackson Tweets How Being on the Cover of “Madden 21” is a “Dream Come True”

Many Ravens fans will be purchasing the “Madden 21” video game this summer, and when they do they will have a rare treat as their hometown quarterback, Lamar Jackson, will be on the cover this year.

Jackson, last season’s NFL MVP, tweeted out today how honored he is to be the cover man for this year’s game, which will release in August for all video game systems.

Relive some of Jackson’s 2019 highlights for the 14-2 Ravens!!

Ravens Coach John Harbaugh Concerned About Covid-19 When Camps Open

Covid-19 is still a huge talking point in the NFL, and with training camps set to open in about a month, Ravens coach John Harbaugh still has plenty of concerns about how teams are going to deal with the deadly virus and keeping players and team personal safe.

We’re going to do everything we can do,” Harbaugh said in a radio interview Thursday.

“We’re going to space, we’re going to have masks. But, you know, it’s a communication sport. We have to be able to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice.”

The league “has made very clear they are letting the science and data drive their decision-making,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Friday on NFL NOW.

“Like the data that is constantly being updated with each passing day, everything remains in flux, meaning some protocols could change in the weeks to come. Questions like Harbaugh’s about the viability of operating under such requirements are to be expected, especially in a game that is very much fixed in its preseason preparation process.

“Well as another head coach told me, you’ve got other things here,” Pelissero continued. “When you talk about crunching things down. You didn’t have spring practices. Now you have the possibility of not having as much practice, as much padded time through the course of August. As that head coach put it, how are you going to pick your team?

“There’s pro scouting departments that, looking at the possibility of shrinking the preseason, say how are we going to evaluate other rosters when it comes to getting to the waiver process? There are a ton of questions.”

It remains to be seen all the protocols that are put into place to try and keep teams safe once camp opens, but Harbaugh is right in stating that there should be major concerns on how the league is going to handle things just a month from now.