In order to preview this (meaningless) matchup, I reached out to our associates over at Baltimore Beatdown. Kyle Barber was kind enough to answer my questions, so let’s take a look at those. Also don’t forget to check out my side of the Q&A exchange over at BB.
1 - The Ravens got a close up look at some Eagles players during joint practices this week. Are there any players on the Eagles you think the Ravens could be interested in trading for (interior offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski)? On the flip side, is there anybody potentially available on the Ravens?
For the Ravens, you already hit the nail on the head. If the Ravens were interested in trading for somebody, it would be Stefen Wisniewski. They need an interior offensive lineman to supplement the lack of depth at the position. Bringing in Wisniewski would bolster the line and leave them with better talent overall.
On the flip side, the Ravens are stacked at defensive lineman. A highly-talented UDFA defensive tackle by the name of Gerald Willis may catch the attention of Eagles coaches and scouts but not enough for trade bait.
2 - How long should we expect to see the Ravens’ starters play on Thursday, if at all? Who are the key players in/out?
This is a tough one as multiple starters are currently injured after the two joint practices this week, including starting left tackle and left guard Ronnie Stanley and Jermaine Eluemunor. Mind you, RG Marshal Yanda is also not playing until Week 1 of the regular season, meaning three of five starting lineman are currently not protecting the sophomore quarterback, Lamar Jackson. I don’t want Jackson out there for long.
On defense, I see no reason for most of the veterans to play. Why risk the injury of Earl Thomas, Tony Jefferson, Jimmy Smith and others for a meaningless game?
3 - Who are the under-the-radar players, drafted rookies and/or undrafted rookie free agents on the Ravens you are most looking forward to watching on Thursday?
Linebacker Otaro Alaka has come on strong these past couple weeks. He’s on everybody’s bubble watch and either landing on the 53-man roster or he falls off as the player 54 of 53.
On offense, OL Patrick Mekari is turning heads. He’s outplayed some left guards and also the backup center position. If he continues to perform, he’ll make the roster. He was on my second rendition of my roster prediction.
4 - What’s the outlook for the Ravens this year? How many wins are you expecting? What’s the confidence level when it comes to Lamar Jackson?
The outlook for Baltimore teeters around 8-8 to 10-6. The first part of their schedule could give them an easy boost as they face two of the presumed easier teams in the league (@MIA, vs. AZ) but the schedule quickly reminds them of their division title last season with a matchup @ KC in Week 3. I see 9-7 but if the offensive line remains a revolving door, the losses can truly add up quick.
As for Lamar Jackson, confidence is high. Fans believe in him and so do his teammates and coaches. He’s been given a full arsenal of weapons and he won’t be forced into a running scheme from Marty Mornhinweg.
5 - Wanna give a meaningless score prediction for Thursday’s game?
The Ravens are riding a 15-game preseason win streak, therefore I’ll go 24-17 in favor of Charm City over the City of Brotherly Love.