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1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Eagles

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1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Eagles

It's time again for our weekly predictions, as we look more closely at some of the key issues and players in Sunday's Ravens-Eagles game:
1. The Eagleswill not score on their opening possession.The Ravens allowed only oneopening-possession score in the regular season last year, a touchdown by SanDiego. The Eagles' first possession lastweek against Cleveland ended with a fumble, and the Ravens will keep the Eaglesat bay early again.2. Ray Rice willhave 20 touches.In 2010 and 2011,the Ravens were 21-2 when Rice had 20 touches, and 5-8 when he did not. Ricehad just 13 touches in the Ravens' 44-13 win over the Bengals on Monday night,in part because of the new-look offense, but also in part because he sat outmost of the fourth quarter once the Ravens got their big lead. This week willbe a tougher test, and Rice's number will be called more often.3. Joe Flaccowill be sacked at least three times.The Ravens' youngline, which featured two starters playing in their first NFL regular-seasongame (T Kelechi Osemele, G Ramon Harewood), fared pretty well against theBengals. But they yielded three sacks and the Bengals were missing one of theirtop pass rushers. The Eagles will spread their rushers wide, and DE Jason Babin (18 sacks last year), DT CullenJenkins and company will test the Ravens from the edge as well as stunting up themiddle.4. The Ravenswill have three pass plays of 20 yards.The Ravens hadsix plays of 20 yards last week, all through the air, and they spread thewealth around: Those six plays went to five different receivers: Torrey Smith,Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson and tight end Dennis Pitta. Flaccowill again look downfield, and if the deep receivers stretch the field, Pittaand tight end Ed Dickson could work free for big gains underneath.5. The Ravenstight ends will have at least seven catches.Pitta and Dicksontotaled seven catches for 95 yards last week, and Pitta remains one of Flacco'sfavorite targets. He had a team-high nine passes thrown his way last week,finishing with five catches for 73 yards. Flacco will look to this duo oftenagain.6. CourtneyUpshaw will have at least four tackles.The Ravens' topdraft pick this April had an underwhelming training camp, at times slowed by ashoulder injury, but defensive coordinator Dean Pees said he is" startingto come around" and is "starting to feel a little more comfortable inthe defense." Just in time, too, because Paul Kruger (back) isquestionable, so it's possible Upshaw will start. He had four tackles off thebench against Cincinnati. Expect him to at least match that output against theEagles.7. The Eagleswill rush for more than 100 yards.Somewhat lost inthe Ravens' big win was a serious issue with run defense. BenJarvus Green-Ellisaveraged 5.1 yards a carry, and the Ravens allowed 129 yards rushing on 28carries (4.6 avg.). This week they must deal with LeSean McCoy, who ran for 110yards against Cleveland last week, as well as a scrambling Michael Vick.8. The Ravenswill get an interception.Vick threw fourinterceptions against Cleveland last week, and the Ravens have the personnel inthe secondary to make him pay for his mistakes again. The Ravens need togenerate a pass rush to force his hand. Will Ed Reed be adding to his NFLrecord for interception return yardage?9. The Ravenswill have a 30-yard kickoff return.One surprise lastweek was the Ravens used rookie Deonte Thompson, and not Jacoby Jones, as theprimary kick returner. He averaged 22.0 yards on four returns. Special teamscoordinator Jerry Rosburg wouldn't commit to that same arrangement this week,but both Thompson and Jones are big-play threats any time they touch the ball.10. Eagles 23,Ravens 20This is assumingthe Eagles' wide receivers are healthy enough to play -- and Lardarius Webb,for one, is sure they are. The Eagles and Michael Vick will not stumble and bumbleas bad as they did last weekend in Cleveland. The Ravens revamped offensive linewill face a very stiff test, and they need to protect Flacco if this new-lookoffense is to succeed. The Ravens won't lay an egg like they did in Week 2 the past two years, but the Eagles will have just enough to win their raucous home opener.

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Baltimore Ravens select QB Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Baltimore Ravens select QB Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Ozzie Newsome is closing out his last NFL Draft as the general manager of the Ravens with a bang.

After trading down twice from the 16th spot to draft TE Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick, the Eagles traded their 32nd overall pick to the Ravens where they selected QB Lamar Jackson. In return, the Eagles will receive the Ravens' 2018 2nd-round and 4th-round picks in addition to their 2019 2nd-round pick. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner has proven success in the air and on the ground. While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns.  

The first-round selection shows the Ravens are planning for the post-Flacco era.

Standing at 6' 2",  Jackson's build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts were concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed. His NFL comparison is to that of Michael Vick. 

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Baltimore Ravens select Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

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Baltimore Ravens select Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

The pick is in! 

With the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Ravens have selected tight end Hayden Hurst.

Hurst, an ex-minor league baseball pitcher, walked on at South Carolina at 21-years old and finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns. 

Standing at 6' 5", Hurst ran a 4.67 40 yard dash, recorded a 31.5 vertical jump and a 7.19 three cone drill at the combine. 

"His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field. He's sure-handed and could become a young quarterback's safety blanket if he improves elements of his route running. He should see early snaps and has the ability to become a good combination tight end." according to his draft profile

While Hurst is starting his career at 25-years old, he will provide tight end support that the Ravens have yet to address in free agency. It also doesn't hurt that QB Joe Flacco has a tendency to favor his tight ends.

Welcome to Ravens Nation, Hurst.