The Ravens fell just short to their rival Steelers, as Lamar Jackson had a rough day in the rain with three turnovers. Baltimore ran all over Pittsburgh for 265 yards on the ground and dominated time of possession, but it wasn’t enough to hold off a hot offense lead by Ben Roethlisberger and his bevy of talented receivers. The Steelers beat the Ravens 28-24, exiting M and T Bank Stadium with a record of 7-0. They are only undefeated team left in the NFL, with a relatively soft schedule ahead of them. Baltimore has a tough road to travel and will need help from another squad in order to catch back up to Pittsburgh’s AFC North lead. NFL fans will not want to miss the Thanksgiving Thursday night rematch between these two juggernauts.
Baltimore will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this weekend to face quarterback Philip Rivers and his new team, the Colts. Formerly a Charger, the Ravens have a long history going up against the trash-talking gunslinger of the West Coast. Games against Rivers and legendary running back LaDainian Tomlinson are memorable for fans, facing off against the Ray Lewis era of Baltimore defenses. With his 2020 Colts squad, Rivers still has plenty of weapons in savvy wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and promising rookie running back Jonathan Taylor.
For the second Sunday in a row, the Ravens will be up against one of the best defenses in the league. The Colts are statistically at the top in all defensive categories for the first half of the 2020 NFL season, such as total yards against (#2) and points per game (#5). The Colts have the number two ranked total defense in the NFL. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner could cause problems for the Ravens on Sunday, as well as defensive end Justin Houston. A make-shift offensive line from the Ravens will need to step up in a hurry.
There are several key players that may be unable to play in Sunday’s matchup due to COVID-19. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey tested positive after playing Pittsburgh, and will be out against the Colts per NFL protocol. Players that were in close contact with Humphrey were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and must isolate for five days and test negative before being allowed to play on Sunday. Patrick Queen, L.J. Fort, Malik Harrison, Tyus Bowser, DeShon Elliot, and Terrell Bonds are the remaining players at risk, as Matthew Judon was welcomed back to the practice field this week after clearing protocol. According to John Harbaugh, these players are eligible to return to Saturday’s practice and travel with the team upon testing negative.
In addition to COVID-19 interruptions, injuries have unfortunately started to take a toll on the Ravens. Promising cornerback Tavon Young was hit with an injury earlier in the year, and this past Sunday star left tackle Ronnie Stanley was placed on injured reserve with a season ending ankle injury. Mark Ingram is likely out again this week with an ankle injury of his own, but luckily it is not season ending.
If Ingram heals on the sideline versus the Colts, look for the Ravens to continue their impressive rushing attack of Gus Edwards and rookie J.K. Dobbins. The duo ran through the Steeler’s top ranked defense last week with exciting and flashy plays. Lamar Jackson will also aim to get back on track after a shaky performance. With a sense of Baltimore bias, Jackson should bounce back and deliver his usual, spectacular plays. Final score prediction: 31-17 Ravens.