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Late for Work 9/9: What Pundits Expect in Ravens-Jets Season Opener

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Pundits Near Unanimous in Picking Ravens Over Jets

The fact that the Ravens will be facing Joe Flacco for the first time since they traded the Super Bowl XLVII MVP after the 2018 season has added intrigue to their season opener Sunday at the New York Jets, but an overwhelming majority of pundits aren't expecting much drama as far as the outcome of the game.

Of the pundits we looked at, 45 of 46 picked the Ravens, who are seven-point favorites, to win. Of the 26 who predicted the score, 19 have the Ravens winning by double digits. The lone pundit to pick the Jets is NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, who predicted a 24-23 upset.

The Ravens enter the season as the AFC North favorites after a ridiculous amount of injuries derailed their once-promising 2021 season. The Jets have had six consecutive losing seasons and are still in rebuilding mode.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said this is a game Baltimore cannot afford to lose.

"It's pretty simple. If the Ravens are going to do anything this year they can't go to the Jets and lose," Florio said. "This is one that they need to check off as a victory because it's not like there's a ton of easy 'W's' on the schedule for any team in the AFC this year, especially not the AFC North."

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

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense will be too much for the Jets defense.

USA Today’s Safid Deen: "Lamar Jackson will continue doing what Lamar Jackson does. And the Ravens will start the season off with a relatively easy win."

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer: "The Jets upgraded their secondary with three new starters but they still have holes in their front seven, which will carry over some of the run defense woes from last season. That's not good news against Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and a run-heavy attack."

It's going to be a big day for Andrews.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: "Bold prediction: Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews will set a career-high with 150 receiving yards. Jackson is going to rely on his favorite target even more with receiver Marquise Brown getting traded to Arizona and top running back J.K. Dobbins (knee) not being at full strength. The Jets allowed the third-most receiving yards to tight ends last season (1,113), giving up at least 100 to Kyle Pitts, Rob Gronkowski and Dallas Goedert."

The Ravens will win, but it won't be easy.’s Gregg Rosenthal: "Don't be surprised if [Jets Head Coach Robert] Saleh's defense turns this one close and ugly. New York's front four could be nasty and cornerback Sauce Gardner is part of an improved back end. They'll make Lamar Jackson earn it."

Russell Street Report’s Rob Shields: "My bold prediction for this game is that it will be closer than most think and Ravens fans want it to be. You have the Flacco factor. You know he's going to want to ball out in this game. But bigger than that is that I think the Ravens are going to look a lot better in 4-6 weeks than they will now. They have guys still hurt and guys who are coming back. They also didn't play many players in the preseason. So, you have a combo of rust and health early on. Now, it helps that the Jets aren't good but they do have some good running backs. They do have some weapons at WR that can hurt you. It won't surprise me if the Jets offense looks relatively decent."

The Jets have some promising young players on offense, but they will miss starting quarterback Zach Wilson.

Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton: "The Jets have some intriguing playmakers with rookie first-round wideout Garrett Wilson, second-year wide receiver Elijah Moore and a couple of young running backs in Michael Carter and rookie second-rounder Breece Hall, but they don't have a quarterback to get their offensive engine running this Sunday. Wilson is out, and Flacco isn't going to cut it at his age."

Flacco will give the Ravens defense problems.

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: "The one thing Joe Flacco can do is get the ball down the field, and when you look at the Ravens' ability to rush the passer, that's their No. 1 concern going into the season — can they get enough pass rush? And so for that reason I think he's going to stand back there and hit some shots. They have some talented receivers outside, some young receivers, some young guys but there is talent there, and I think he's going to keep it close."

Ravens WR Rashod Bateman vs. Jets CB Sauce Gardner is a matchup to watch.

Fox Sports’ Henry McKenna: "There might not be a more fun matchup between young playmakers around the NFL. Bateman had a quiet rookie season while dealing with an injury, but it is clear the Ravens expect a major breakout in year two, partly because their wide-receiver room is devoid of top talent aside from him. Gardner, the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft, gets a chance to show why the Jets believed in him."

Table inside Article
Source Prediction Commentary
ESPN 9 of 9 panelists pick Ravens
Baltimore Sun Ravens 27, Jets 13 “The matchup with Joe Flacco holds narrative allure, and we have little idea how sharp the Ravens will be after their starters took a pass on the preseason. But the Jets don’t have a talent advantage in any area, and they don’t have an offensive star to go shot for shot with Lamar Jackson. The Ravens will stifle New York’s offense and bank a road victory as they begin their quest to return to the playoffs.” — Childs Walker
USA Today 7 of 7 panelists pick Ravens Ravens 20, Jets 11 “Don’t be surprised if [Jets Head Coach Robert] Saleh’s defense turns this one close and ugly. New York's front four could be nasty and cornerback Sauce Gardner is part of an improved back end. They’ll make Lamar Jackson earn it.” — Gregg Rosenthal
NFL Network 10 of 10 panelists pick Ravens
Sporting News Ravens 30, Jets 14 “[The Jets] should have more pop with rookies Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson, but they are facing a Baltimore secondary that is arguably the league's best after offseason changes. The Jets also upgraded their secondary with three new starters but they still have holes in their front seven, which will carry over some of the run defense woes from last season. That's not good news against Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and a run-heavy attack.” — Vinnie Iyer
CBS Sports 8 of 8 panelists pick Ravens “[Joe] Flacco won a Super Bowl for the Ravens, but it's been a while since he did. Lamar Jackson is back healthy after a down 2021 season, and I think he gets off to a good start here. The Ravens have some pass rush questions, but they will get around it against their old quarterback. It's close.” — Pete Prisco
Pro Football Talk 3 of 3 panelists pick Ravens “It looks like it’s going to be a long season for the Jets, and a rebound season for the Ravens.— Michael David Smith
Sports Illustrated 5 of 5 panelists pick Ravens
FanSided Ravens 34, Jets 14 “Lock of the week. The Ravens are an excellent team that was besieged by injuries in 2021. Healthy once again, they take on a Jets squad which has a backup quarterback, a shaky defense and an offense waiting for Zach Wilson to return.” — Matt Verderame

Jackson Explains Why He Liked Tweet of Him Wearing Dolphins Jersey

It created a Twitter frenzy when Jackson liked a tweet of him wearing a Miami Dolphins jersey a couple weeks ago, but the Ravens quarterback said he was just having some fun at the expense of those who have said he wants to leave Baltimore.

"It's a great organization. … Very friendly organization, and I love being here," Jackson said of the Ravens during his appearance on the "GoJo Show." "I tweeted before that this is where I want to be at. So now I'm seeing things like, 'Oh, he wants out,' because I'm liking stuff. It's just, yeah, because I see you all keep engaging in that way, like, 'Oh, you want to leave,' so I'm like all right, I'm going to play back, and yeah, I liked something. … Showing my shots on social media because they like doing it to me, I guess."

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