Ravens-Jets Predictions For A Game Baltimore Can't Afford To Lose
Oh, how Baltimore would love to head into its bye with a much-needed victory to stop the bleeding from a three-game losing skid.
Most pundits think the Ravens will pull it off.
Of the 38 analysts below, 71 percent (27 total) say Baltimore will leave MetLife Stadium victorious over the New York Jets.
"The Ravens have won eight straight games against the Jets, and I can't see Gang Green suddenly waking from their season-long slumber to topple Baltimore," wrote Fox Sports' Peter Schrager.
It's far from guaranteed, however.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley said there are 52 million reasons the Ravens aren't heavy favorites to beat the 1-5 Jets. With nine players missing practice Wednesday, that represented $52.83 million (34 percent) of Baltimore's salary cap on the sideline. That includes franchise quarterback Joe Flacco.
So while the Jets may be dealing with a quarterback controversy, naming Geno Smith the starter for the first time this season, the Ravens quarterback situation is also far from settled because Flacco is dealing with an injury to his right throwing shoulder.
It wouldn't be surprising to see both offenses rely on their rushing attacks, which might play into the hands of the Ravens considering they have the No. 1 rush defense and Terrance West seems to get stronger with each game.
But a quarterback change could spark New York. The last time Smith started in Week 17 of the 2014 season, he picked apart the Miami Dolphins with 358 pass yards, three touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
"One team is 3-3 and the other is 1-5, but they're practically mirror images of each other in terms of their offensive struggles and general foibles," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee. "Again, injuries continue to cripple the Ravens, and I think the Jets will be inspired by the quarterback switch from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Geno Smith just enough to eke out the win."
Will Sunday's Game Become Battle Of Backup Quarterbacks?
After missing his second day of practice this week, the level of concern for Flacco's availability Sunday grew even more.
Ravens' Young Pass Rushers About To Be Thrown Into Fire
Hopefully the Ravens' young pass rushers are quick learners, because they are going to have to grow up FAST.
Terrell Suggs is expected to miss Sunday's game with a biceps tear and Elvis Dumervil (foot) doesn't have a timetable for a return, so we're going to see a lot of second-year player Za'Darius Smith and rookies Matthew Judon and Kamalei Correa.
"The Ravens drafted Correa and Judon in the second and fifth rounds, respectively, hoping they'd make an immediate impact but also envisioning them as potential replacements for Suggs and Dumervil down the road," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
"Their contributions are needed now."
The Ravens only have 11 sacks this season and Suggs has five of them. No other outside pass rusher has notched a single sack. Albert McClellan, Smith, Judon and Correa have combined for just two quarterback hurries, per Zrebiec.
"The Ravens certainly hope things start to come quicker for their young edge rushers," he wrote.
Steve Smith Has Strong Words For Josh Brown And Domestic Violence
Receiver Steve Smith Sr. had strong words for New York Giants kicker Josh Brown after police documents showed Brown admitted to abusing his wife.
Smith has a long history of speaking out against domestic violence after he witnessed his mother, a survivor, be abused. For years, Smith has held events to raise awareness and funds.
Earlier this month, he teamed up with Uber to give $5,000 worth of rides for families at the House of Ruth Maryland, a charity that supports domestic violence survivors. He also held a benefit fashion show for the charity.