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Instant analysis: Ravens-Falcons

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Instant analysis: Ravens-Falcons

ATLANTA Although the scoreboard indicated that the Ravens blew out the Atlanta Falcons in Thursdays preseason opener at the Georgia Dome, dont be fooled.

When the starters for both teams were on the field at the outset of the game, the Falcons were far superior on both sides of the ball. The Falcons led, 14-0, early in the second quarter.

After trailing by 10 points at halftime, the Ravens rallied to win big, but they did it as reserves flooded the field. The Ravens will take the result but head coach John Harbaugh wont forget seeing his team get dominated early.

The Falcons starting offense shredded the Ravens first-team defense, with quarterback Matt Ryan leading a pair of long (80 and 85 yards) touchdown drives in the first 16 minutes. Ryan was never under pressure, and Atlanta wideouts Julio Jones and Roddy White were repeatedly open.

Ravens cornerbacks Cary Williams and Lardarius Webb had nights to forget -- especially Williams, who in his defense, was playing for the first time since undergoing hip surgery in the offseason.

Meanwhile, the Ravens first-team offense couldnt get anything going, opening with three straight three-and-outs against Atlantas first-team defense before redeeming itself with a touchdown drive early in the second quarter.

Although he started slowly, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wound up with a nice stat line: 9 of 12 for 88 yards and a touchdown. His quarterback rating of 122.9 actually was much higher than Ryans 103.0 because Ryan threw an interception.

Several reserve receivers battling for jobs looked good. Deonte Thompson grabbed three balls, including a 22-yard touchdown, and repeatedly got behind the Atlanta secondary. Tommy Streeter made a pair of receptions.

The first commandment of the preseason is no injuries, but the Ravens came away with a few. Tight end Ed Dickson suffered a shoulder sprain, potentially a major problem with Dennis Pitta already out with a broken hand. Defensive lineman Ryan McBean left the field on the back of a cart with an undetermined knee injury, and rookie cornerback Asa Jackson pulled a hamstring.

After starting Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele at the tackle spots, the Ravens inserted Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and gave him a long look in the second and third quarters. The veteran appeared to move well and handle his assignments easily, with no breakdowns.

Rookie kicker Justin Tucker was given the Ravens first field-goal attempt ahead of Billy Cundiff and drilled a 36-yarder in the third quarter. Tucker also converted all of the teams extra-point attempts. But dont read anything into Tucker going ahead of incumbent Billy Cundiff. The Ravens pretty much know what Cundiff can do and need to find out about Tucker. He performed very well.

The Ravens focused on improving their kick and punt coverage teams during the offseason, but it didnt look like when Atlantas Dominique Franks broke a 45-yard punt return in the first quarter.

Albert McClellan was one of the better players on the field for the Ravens defense with five tackles, a sack and two quarterback hits. The Ravens announced on their Twitter feed before the game that Sergio Kindle would replace rookie Courtney Upshaw in the starting lineup, but McClellan did and made the most of the opportunity. His star continues to rise.

Among the backs battling to back up Ray Rice, undrafted rookie Bobby Rainey stood out by far. Raney rushed for 27 yards on eight carries and caught three passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Allen, the teams 2011 seventh-round draft pick, averaged just 1.8 yards on five carries.

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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