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During the season, Bent's Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets' upcoming opponents, enabling a breakdown of what to watch out for on gameday…
The Jets head home tomorrow for a matchup between two teams desperate for a win. The Baltimore Ravens began the year 3-0, but have lost three games since, including a loss to the Giants at MetLife Stadium last week. All six of their games have been decided by six points or fewer, so they could conceivably be anything from 0-6 to 6-0. The Ravens have dominated the Jets over the years, losing only the first-ever meeting between the team in 1997 and winning all eight since then. That included a 19-3 win over a Jets team quarterbacked by Geno Smith in 2013. Smith makes his return to the Jets' starting line-up tomorrow.
After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) for the Ravens to try and highlight what to watch out for.
Joe Flacco has missed a couple of days of practice this week, as he is dealing with a shoulder injury. He had finished up the game against the Giants last week, though, coming up just short down the stretch. Despite losing three in a row, Flacco has shown good ball security as he hasn't thrown an interception in any of those losses.
Flacco is expected to play, but if he doesn't - or if the Jets can knock him out of the game - Ryan Mallett is the number two. Mallett started six games last season - four with the Texans and two at the end of the year after being picked up by the Ravens. His team was 2-4 in those games and he had four touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
Five-time pro bowler Marshal Yanda leads the Ravens' offensive line. However, he's listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury.
The Ravens, who have already been struggling with injuries all year, will have to reshuffle again if Yanda is out. Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley hasn't played since Week 3 due to a foot injury, but he might be able to return. Another rookie, Alex Lewis, started the first three games at left guard and the last two in place of Stanley, missing one due to concussion in between. Lewis might move back to left guard if Stanley returns. The other tackle, Ricky Wagner, missed the last game with a thigh injury but should be back in the line-up.
The only healthy starter has been Jeremy Zuttah, who is Baltimore's starting center for the third straight year and one of the keys to their running game.
Each of their backups has already started a couple of games. John Urschel filled in for two games at left guard while Stanley was out, James Hurst has started one game at each tackle spot and Ryan Jensen has started one game at each guard spot. Two of those three will presumably start alongside Wagner, Lewis and Zuttah if Stanley and Yanda are inactive. Hurst struggled against pass rushers with power last season.
The Ravens also recently bolstered their depth by signing a certain Vladimir Ducasse.
The Ravens' running game is led by Terrance West, who has played well during the three-game losing streak with 295 yards and three scores, including a 100-yard game against the Raiders. He is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and on course for a 1,000-yard season.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk is their best pass catching threat out of the backfield. His 17 receptions exceed the totals for the rest of the backs on the roster put together. Justin Forsett was a big threat last year, but was released after a disappointing start, so youngsters Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon should start to get more time.
The ageless Steve Smith is still productive, but looks set to miss tomorrow's game with an ankle injury. The Ravens are actually led in receiving yards by a rejuvenated Mike Wallace and, in terms of receptions, by tight end Dennis Pitta.
Reserve Kamar Aiken is dealing with a thigh issue, which puts more pressure on Breshad Perriman to start producing. Last year's first-round pick has started to make some plays after missing his rookie season due to a knee injury, but has yet to really break out. He almost had a game-winning touchdown catch a couple of weeks ago, but failed to come down inbounds.
Receiver Chris Moore and backup tight end Crockett Gillmore will provide depth off the bench. Ironically, recent Jets' signing Jeremy Butler was released by the Ravens due to a surplus of depth, but the recent injuries have obviously eradicated that.
The defensive line is the Ravens' healthiest unit right now and has been performing well. Nose tackle Brandon Williams, a player many Ravens fans have claimed belongs in the discussion with the top defensive linemen in the league, has had a quiet start to the year. Nevertheless the Jets' struggling offensive line is sure to have their hands full with him.
Timmy Jernigan is having a breakout season alongside Williams. He's been excellent against the run and already has three sacks.
Veteran Lawrence Guy is a solid third starter and the Ravens have been getting good production from their primary backup, an undrafted rookie from Samford by the name of Michael Pierce.
By contrast, the linebacker group, which figured to be a major strength, has been ravaged by injuries. Elvis Dumervil and CJ Mosley have been ruled out and Terrell Suggs is doubtful, leaving Zach Orr as the only healthy starter. Orr, who had never started an NFL game before this season, is the team's leading tackler by a significant margin.
Albert McClellan and Za'Darius Smith have seen plenty of playing time this year and will likely be starting tomorrow. McClellan had been starting outside anyway with Dumervil missing most of the season so far, but he'll kick inside. Smith started on the outside last week and has been getting rotational reps all year.
Other than Suggs, the rest of the linebackers have yet to register a sack between them so far this season. Rookies Matt Judon and Kamalei Correa will be forced to step up if Suggs misses out as expected.
The offseason acquisition of Eric Weddle has gone well, as Weddle has been outstanding in his 10th season, having spent the first nine with the Chargers.
There are injury concerns in the defensive backfield too, though. The top three cornerbacks are all dealing with injuries with Shareece Wright listed as doubtful, and Jimmy Smith and Jerraud Powers questionable. Smith would be a big loss because he's their only cornerback over six feet tall, which could bode well for Brandon Marshall. The secondary was already weakened due to five players being on injured reserve, including two potential starters in Kyle Arrington and Matt Elam.
Rookie corner Tavon Young made his first NFL start last week, but had been contributing off the bench. The inexperienced Will Davis was also forced into significant action at cornerback last week. Young and Davis each gave up a long touchdown pass to Odell Beckham in the Giants' come-from-behind win.
Lardarius Webb starts at safety alongside Weddle, with Anthony Levine operating as the third safety. All three are capable of playing in the slot, which gives them options with the injuries at cornerback. Kendrick Lewis is another option, but he's dealing with a thigh injury.
The Ravens' kicking game is excellent. Justin Tucker has made all 15 field goals this year, including a 54-yard game winner against the Jags in week three. He was the AFC special teams player of the month for September, although Washington wasn't fooled when he lined up like he was going to kick left footed to telegraph a doomed fake a few weeks ago. Punter Sam Koch is also good, although he has allowed more return yards than anyone in the league, apart from Shane Lechler.
Veteran return man Devin Hester is another player listed as questionable. If he can't go, Webb is listed as the second-string punt returner with Moore as the second-string kickoff returner. Dixon could also be an option.
Lewis is probably their best player in coverage, but with him injured, Levine would be one of their main special teamers to watch.
I'll be back on Monday to recap the game.
Stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.