It's about time.
The Ravens kick off their 2018 season Sunday vs. the Buffalo Bills with a breath of fresh air around the team.
Joe Flacco has had his healthiest training camp in years with a core of new receivers to throw to and two rookie tight ends. They have two reliable backup options at quarterback in Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III, and six-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda back after missing most of the 2017 season with an ankle injury.
The Bills' offense has gone through quite a change as well. They shipped quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns, traded AJ McCarron to the Oakland Raiders and are giving their Week 1 start to Nathan Peterman, who played in just two games in 2017.
Running back LeSean McCoy will be active on Sunday. He is currently involved in an open investigation stemming from a home invasion that left his ex-girlfriend injured. During the 2017 season, the six-time Pro Bowler had 287 rush attempts for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns. Beside McCoy, the Bills offense doesn't have a ton to write home about, something the Ravens defense will be looking to take advantage of.
The Ravens defense is expected to continue its trend of being one of the most dominate forces in the league under new defensive coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale. The Big Three – comprised of Terrell Sugg, Eric Weddle and C.J. Mosley – will be allowed to rely on their defensive instincts a lot more in real time, while cornerback Marlon Humphrey will build off his successful rookie season taking over the first-team role for suspended Jimmy Smith.
The Bills defense will be taking on a heavier load as it knows it will need to carry the team until the offense takes shape.
“Our goal is always to win and to do that you have to take the ball away," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said via the team's website. "We want to be a top five defense. We want to be the leaders of this team as far as giving our offense advantageous field position, short fields. The main reason why is because we understand we’re going to have a young quarterback in terms of experience. So, we need to help the offense out as much as we can."
Cornerback Maurice Canady and linebacker Kenny Young are listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Tight end Hayden Hurst and defensive tackle Willie Henry are ruled out.
Bills wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud is ruled out for Sunday's matchup and linebacker Julian Stanford is questionable.
The Ravens and Bills have met seven times since 1999 with the Ravens leading the series 4-3.
Ahead of Sunday's matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.
RAVENS VS. BILLS WEEK 1:
Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills
What: Week 1 regular season
When: Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: CBS Sports
Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 and 98Rock
Weather: Rain, high of 65 degrees
RAVENS 2018 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:
Week 1: Sun., 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.
Week 2: Thur., 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.
Week 3: Sun., 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.
Week 4: Sun., 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.
Week 5: Sun., 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.
Week 6: Sun., 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.
Week 7: Sun., 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.
Week 8: Sun., 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 9: Sun., 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 10: BYE week
Week 11: Sun., 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.
Week 12: Sun., 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.
Week 13: Sun., 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.
Week 14: Sun., 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.
Week 15: Sun., 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 16: Sat., 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD
Week 17: Sun., 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.
MORE RAVENS NEWS:
- On the Radar: Five Ravens to watch in 2018
- Vedvik on the Mend: Rookie kicker hospitalized after late-night assault
- Bad Break: Ravens cut 2015 first-round pick Perriman