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Breaking Down Week 2: Jets at Ravens

Brian Billick

Despite losing their first game of the season last Monday night to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Baltimore Ravens should have a 6-1 or at worst 5-2 won-lost record over the next six weeks before their bye week, given the caliber of competition they will face. They should be favored over the next six weeks opponents(NY Jets, Arizona, Cleveland, San Francisco, St.Louis & Buffalo) and, therefore, the winning streak should begin this Sunday when they face the Jets at home.

Everything starts with the offensive line and, at present, the Ravens O-line is unsettled. LT Jonathan Ogden should have had surgery on his big toe during the offseason but did not, hoping rest would cure his ailing toe if he decided not to retire and return for his twelfth season. In the Cincy game, the Ravens replaced Ogden in the lineup by moving second-year starter Adam Terry from RT to LT and inserting 2007 third-round draft pick Marshal Yanda in the RT slot.

IMO further changes to the O-line are necessary but will probably take until mid-season to finalize if then. The key here, of course, is the status of Ogden’s big toe. Assuming Ogden returns at some point, Terry would move back to RT replacing Yanda.  If not, 2007 fifth-round supplemental draft pick Jared Gaither could replace Yanda at RT this year.

Barring injury, in the interior line positions, look for second-year pro RG Chris Chester to become the starting OC (replacing current starter Mike Flynn) with 2007 first-round pick Ben Grubbs taking over at RG. In this scenario, only LG Jason Brown would remain at his current position all year on the line.

Even though the O-line is a work-in-progress, the Ravens have too much talent on the rest of their team not to begin this week to show why they were picked by most experts this year to win the AFC North Division.  Only time will tell if the jelling of the O-line will allow the Ravens to go deeper into the playoffs than they did last year.

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