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Ravens rookie RB Allen ready for starring role if needed

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Ravens rookie RB Allen ready for starring role if needed

Ravens running back Javorius "Buck" Allen probably never expected to be a starter in Week 6 of his rookie season, but increasingly it appears that will be the case Sunday when the Ravens visit the 49ers.

Starter Justin Forsett has missed practice the past two days nursing the ankle injury he sustained against Cleveland on Sunday, and backup Lorenzo Taliaferro has been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a foot injury.

So if Forsett isn't available, that makes Allen the next man up. He said on Thursday that it's an "opportunity I’ve been waiting for, and I feel like my coaches did a great job preparing me for this moment."

Allen, a fourth-round pick out of USC, has 26 carries for 124 yards this season, including a 44-yard scamper against the Browns on Sunday that is the Ravens' longest run of the season.

The Ravens signed undrafted rookie Raheem Mostert off waivers earlier this week, and he'd become the No. 2 if Forsett is unavailable. Terrence Magee is on the Ravens practice squad and could be an option as a No. 3 back. That probably depends on Forsett's availability.

But Allen (6-0, 220) is likely to have the spotlight on him on Sunday. Even if Forsett plays, he won't be at 100 percent and Allen figures to be a major part of the game plan.

"It’s a blessing from above and God working in mysterious ways," Allen said. "If I’ve got to take on the job, I’m going to take it full force and do the best of my ability.”

Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said on Thursday that, "We have a lot of confidence in Buck. We’ve seen him grow in the classroom and certainly on the field over the last month and a half. He’s running the ball better in terms of how he’s finishing and seeing the holes, taking the opportunities to make plays when he gets a chance to do that. We’ve seen his pass protection improve, and his entire focus.

"He is taking the opportunity to seize the moment with the opportunities that he has had.”

MORE RAVENS: Frustrated defensive coordinator Pees hopes better play on horizon

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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