Late for Work 10/2: Pundits Are Unanimous in Ravens vs. Washington Picks

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Pundits Are Unanimous in Ravens vs. Washington Picks

Since Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season, the Ravens (2-1) have lost back-to-back games just once. The pundits agree that will remain the case after Sunday's game against Washington (1-2) at FedExField.

All 47 pundits we looked at forecasted a victory for Baltimore, which is coming off a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night that ended its 14-game regular-season winning streak.

Of the 26 who predicted the score for Sunday's game, all have the Ravens winning by double digits, and 10 believe they will prevail by at least 20 points.

Here's a sample of what pundits are saying about the game:

The Ravens have a great opportunity to bounce back on both sides of the ball.

The Baltimore Sun's C.J. Doon: "Lamar Jackson and the running game can get back on track, and the defense can take advantage of inexperienced quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., who has three interceptions and four fumbles in three games."

Injuries on its defensive line are a major concern for Washington.

NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal: "The Washington defensive line was the team's identity. After losing underrated defensive tackle Matthew Ioannidis for the season and Chase Young possibly for this week, what's left?"

CBS Sports' John Breech: "Washington is banged up on defense and if there's one game where you can't afford to be banged up on defense, it's when you play the Ravens. If you want a taste of what Lamar Jackson is going to do to this defense, just go hunt down some highlights from Washington's Week 2 loss to the Cardinals. In that 30-15 win for Arizona, Washington had no idea how to stop Kyler Murray. Lamar Jackson is like Kyler Murray, except better and with more experience. Those are both bad things for Washington."

The Ravens will lean on the running game, which will open things up for Jackson.

Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer: "The Ravens won't get complicated here after they saw the Browns run all over Washington. Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards can be effective flanking Lamar Jackson, who won't be thwarted in hitting big pass plays downfield, either."

It could be a big day for the Ravens' opportunistic defense.

Penn Live's Aaron Kasinitz: "The Ravens' six takeaways this season rank third in the NFL, but they have the best per-possession rate of snatching the ball away from opponents. … Sunday's game offers a prime opportunity for forcing turnovers, too. Washington coughed the ball up five times in a loss to Cleveland in Week 2, with quarterback Dwayne Haskins tossing three interceptions and losing a fumble."

Pro Football Talk's Chris Simms: "I think this is a game the Ravens probably score a touchdown on defense. If not, get a short field a few times."

Expect the Ravens to turn up the heat on Haskins.

NFL Next Gen Stats: "The Ravens are itching to rebound from their Week 3 loss, and that could be really bad news for the QB who has to face that defense this week, a defense that's in love with sending the house after QBs. … Do not expect them to back off this week. When Dwayne Haskins has been under pressure this season, he's 3-for-18 for just 30 yards, 0 TD passes, two interceptions and a 0.0 passer rating. So Baltimore may actually be more aggressive than normal, the Ravens playing their best football when they turn up the heat."

Could veteran quarterback Alex Smith be active for the game?

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio: "Given the possibility that things go sideways for Washington early and Alex Smith gets put in, that's the one thing that has me a little nervous about whether or not the Ravens can turn this into a rout. But then again, we don't know what Alex Smith is gonna do two years after he last played."

Table inside Article
Source Team Selected Panelists Score Comments
ESPN
10 of 10 panelists pick Ravens N/A
Baltimore Sun
4 of 4 panelists pick Ravens “Defensive Coordinator ‘Don’ Wink Martindale’s blitzes should land better against inexperienced quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., while the Ravens offense will have its way against a Washington defense missing key players.”— Daniel Oyefusi
USA Today
7 of 7 panelists pick Ravens N/A
NFL.com
Ravens 33, Washington 13 “Expect Baltimore to start blitzing and running the ball off the bus in this rare battle of I-95.”— Gregg Rosenthal
NFL Network
6 of 6 panelists pick Ravens N/A
Sporting News
Ravens 34, Washington 14 “The Ravens won't get complicated here after they saw the Browns run all over Washington.”— Vinnie Iyer
CBS Sports
8 of 8 panelists pick Ravens “The Ravens are coming off a bad showing in losing to the Chiefs. But Washington is the perfect tonic. Lamar Jackson and the offense will get back on track and win an easy one.”— Pete Prisco
Pro Football Talk
3 of 3 panelists pick Ravens “If the Chiefs are Baltimore’s Kryptonite, Washington is Baltimore’s Jimmy Olsen.”— Mike Florio
Sports Illustrated
6 of 6 panelists pick Ravens N/A
Fansided
Ravens 40, Washington 13 “Yes, Baltimore is on a short week but the Ravens were just humiliated on national television by Kansas City. Now, they get the underwhelming Dwayne Haskins and a Football Team without Chase Young. Blowout city.”— Matt Verderame

What Signing Marlon Humphrey to a Contract Extension Means for the Ravens

The Ravens will have Marlon Humphrey through the 2026 season after signing the All-Pro cornerback to a five-year extension reportedly worth $98.75 million with an average salary of $19.5 million per year, making him the second-highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.

Here's what media members are saying about the deal:

Penn Live's Kasinitz: "Since Eric DeCosta took over as the Ravens' general manager after the 2018 season, the team has reinforced time and again its intent to invest heavily in building a deep and sturdy secondary. No position group on the roster has received more resources or attention. … It's no wonder, then, that Humphrey was a priority. It's no wonder that even as players at other important positions remain in the final years of their contracts, like outside linebacker Matthew Judon and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, the Ravens first made a move to sew up Humphrey for years to come."

Ravens Wire's Matthew Stevens: "Humphrey joins teammates cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Chuck Clark in getting a recent extension. Peters and Clark are currently signed through 2022 and 2023 respectively, giving the Ravens one of the most talented secondaries in the league for quite some time."

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer: "The deal's also a good sign of how the Ravens have successfully reworked their defensive back seven after losing cornerstones C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle. Humphrey's 24 years old, Chuck Clark's 25, Patrick Queen's 21 and even Peters is still just 27. Few organizations can reload like that. The Ravens have. Again."

The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec: "Three-plus seasons into his NFL career, none of the pre-draft concerns about [Humphrey's perceived flaws in college] have surfaced. He has become one of the top young cornerbacks in football and was a first-team All-Pro last year. He's shown an ability to match up with the opponent's top receiver and move into the slot when the need arises. His profile as a defensive playmaker is on the rise. He's also emerged as a locker room leader who is not afraid to challenge teammates."

Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson and Brad Spielberger: "Humphrey was one of five first-round cornerbacks from the 2017 draft class, with Tre'Davious White the first to sign an extension last month. White signed a four-year, $69 million extension with the Buffalo Bills at a $17.25 million average-per-year value, which we thought could have been even higher given his ascendancy to the top of the league alongside Humphrey. There is no question that Humphrey may be the best in the class, though."

WNST's Luke Jones: "His age is a reason why there's little hesitation making him the second-highest paid cornerback in the league behind Jalen Ramsey. It was either pay him market value now or wait out another potential Pro Bowl season when Humphrey could have an even stronger case to eclipse Ramsey."

Ebony Bird's Chris Schisler: "Judging by what he's done so far, you'd have to think that the Ravens aren't wasting a single penny here."

Ravens Offensive Line Ranked Fourth-Best in the NFL

The Ravens offensive line has come under some scrutiny, but the unit is still regarded as one of the best in the league. In PFF's rankings of all 32 teams' offensive lines, the Ravens came in at No. 4.

"The Ravens' offensive line is still one of the best in the game, boosted by their unique offense and run-heavy disposition, but Marshal Yanda's retirement has certainly left a mark," PFF's Monson wrote. "Baltimore's lowest-graded player on offense at any position through three weeks has been the man playing in Yanda's spot — third-round rookie Tyre Phillips."

It was noted that Phillips has posted a better PFF grade very week. If Phillips continues to develop, the Ravens offensive line could rival the Green Bay Packers as the best in the league, Monson wrote.

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