The Baltimore Ravens' Week 3 matchup against the Denver Broncos could have more repercussions than you think. As Case Keenum and Von Miller roll into town, a win will be vital before the team hits the road for three weeks.
Coming off 10 days of rest, we'll begin to see what this 2018 team can do after a blowout Week 1 win to the Buffalo Bills was followed up by a dud of a Week 2 in Cincinnati.
Joe Flacco and his three new receivers have been connecting on all levels, but now it's time to allow the backs to hit the ground running (pun intended). Alex Collins and Co. are averaging just 3.3 yards-per-carry, something John Harbaugh is not happy about.
"That’s a big priority," Harbaugh said Monday on getting the running game going. "We’re not, in any way, pleased with the numbers. And, we are very determined to run the ball well, because we think it fits our offense, and it’s something that opens everything else up. So, we have to get that going.”
The Ravens' receivers will need to take advantage of a weak Broncos secondary. Raiders' Derek Carr completed 29 of 32 in Week 2 thanks to the Broncos' CBs. That doesn't mean their defense is lacking entirely. There's of course outside linebacker Miller, who already has four sacks on the season, and strong safety Darian Stewart who will be the Ravens' offense' main target.
"He’s the straw that stirs the drink, no doubt – one of the very best in the league at what he does," Harbaugh said. "We will have to have him accounted for at all times, on every play. If we don’t do that, he’ll wreck the game. That’s job [No.] 1 on offense – that’s where it starts.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens could be without Pro Bowl middle linebacker C.J. Mosley after suffering a bone bruise in Week 2. He did participate in Thursday's practice, but there has been no word on his availability for Sunday's matchup.
Mosley's absence was felt immediately against the Bengals, but the defense has had plenty of time to plan accordingly. A veteran presence was brought back to fill the void in Albert McCllelan as the team will have to keep a close eye on the Broncos' dynamic running back duo in undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
Lindsay in currently third in the NFL in rushing yards (178) and has 35 receiving yards for one touchdown. His 100-plus yards in two games makes the 24-year-old the first undraftetd rookie to ever reach that achievement. Over two games, Freeman has rushed 23 times for 99 yards and one touchdown.
Against the Ravens, quarterback Case Keenum has a 62.2 career rating in three starts with the Vikings, Texans and Rams. He still has a 2-1 record, however, against Baltimore. In his last six road starts, he's put up 13 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 100.8 rating.
Defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen), tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) and defensive tackle Michael Pierce (foot) did not participate in Thursday's practice. Linebacker Matthew Judon (hamstring), Mosley (knee) and tackle Ronnie Stanley (elbow) were limited.
Cornerback Adam Jones (thigh), inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee), nose tackle Domata Peko Sr. (not injury related) and tackle Jared Veldheer (concussion) did not practice Thursday for the Broncos. Safety Dymonte Thomas (abdomen) was limited.
The two have met 13 times – including two postseason games – with the Ravens leading the series 7-6. Ahead of Sunday's matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.
RAVENS VS. BRONCOS WEEK 3 HOW TO WATCH:
Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos
What: Week 3 regular season
When: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2018, 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: M&T Bank Stadium
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: Watch Now with FuboTV - Try Free Trial
Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 and 98Rock
Weather: 67 degrees, cloudy
RAVENS 2018 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:
Week 1: Sun., 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m. (W: 47-3)
Week 2: Thur., 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m. (L: 34-23)
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.