The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens meet for the first time since 2019 as the 2022 season gets underway. This will certainly be a tough test for the Jets without quarterback Zach Wilson and left tackle Duane Brown. Joe Flacco gets the start against his former team while George Fant moves back to left tackle and rookie Max Mitchell will get his first NFL start at right tackle.
However, the Ravens are not without their own injury problems. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and running back J.K. Dobbins (knee) are both out. Ja’Wuan James will start at left tackle and the Ravens will likely play a mix of Mike Davis, Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill in the backfield.
Flacco and the offense need to show more than they did in the preseason finale against the Giants. Flacco needs to take care of the football and let his playmakers do work. One of the playmakers that could have a coming-out party is Elijah Moore. Moore had 538 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie and looks to become more involved in the offense. If Flacco wants to keep things close, Moore can attack this Ravens defense all over the field. It’s a good bet that he’ll find the end zone Sunday.
The Jets defense has been physical all summer long. That’s exactly the style they need to be against the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Jets want to hit Jackson early and often and get this offense out of rhythm. The key, certainly, is tight end Mark Andrews. But also keep an eye on rookie tight end Isaiah Likely, who can be moved all over the field. This will be a very good test for the Jets linebackers in pass coverage.
D.J. Reed looks good to go. He and rookie Sauce Gardner have intriguing matchups with Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay. Also keep an eye on the matchup in the slot between Michael Carter II and Ravens receiver James Proche II.
If there is one player that the Jets really want to test and attack Sunday, it’s rookie center Tyler Linderbaum. Quinnen Williams and Solomon Thomas have a chance to make a lot of noise in this one.
The Jets will keep this one close, but the Ravens have the clear quarterback edge and once Jackson gets going, he is very difficult to stop. The Jets show some progress and build a nice foundation. But it will be Baltimore getting out with the victory.
Prediction: Ravens 20, Jets 17