By now, even the most casual K.C. Chiefs fan can name the majority of injured players for the Baltimore Ravens. From Marcus Peters to J.K. Dobbins to Ronnie Stanley to Gus Edwards, we’ve been rehearsing the list all week in analysis and anticipation of the Week 2 matchup between the teams.
The key matchups remain the same: John Harbaugh coaching against Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes against Lamar Jackson. From there, however, the Ravens look like a team limping into Week 2—not a good sign for their ability to withstand the rigors of an even longer regular season than ever before.
We recently reached out to our friends at Ebony Bird to tell us more about the Ravens’ issues, their desperation after already losing to the Raiders in Week 1, and what to expect on Sunday night. Ravens expert Justin Fried answered our questions about Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, and even he believes the team’s injuries are too much for Baltimore to overcome.
The Ravens always seem to have a deep roster, but these injuries are overwhelming. How is the team feeling about the injuries and their ability to weather them?
The Ravens are beaten and battered, there’s no doubt about that. This is still a talented roster, but the injuries have taken their toll. Look no further than Week 1 against the Raiders for proof of that. The sheer number of injuries the Ravens have suffered over the past month or so is unprecedented and it’s definitely put a damper on any excitement the team had going into the season.
Right now, this is a team that’s just looking to survive a week without another couple of major injuries. It hasn’t been an easy time, to say the least.
Do you feel like the Ravens’ inability to beat the Chiefs at all in recent seasons has taken the wind from their sails heading into yet another matchup?
If anything I think it just gives them more motivation, to be honest. The Ravens know they can beat the Chiefs. But in many ways, the Chiefs have been their Achilles heel — the mountain they haven’t been able to climb. It’s hard to imagine they do so this year given the circumstances, but Lamar Jackson and co. will certainly be motivated to win.
With Stanley out, what can you tell us about the new tackles and your expectations for them on Sunday night?
Ronnie Stanley is currently listed as questionable, but it’s hard to imagine he plays given that he hasn’t practiced all week. Of all the injuries/setbacks the Ravens have suffered, the loss of Stanley would be the most impactful. Alejandro Villanueva would shift over to left tackle and, while that’s his natural position, he looked sluggish in Week 1 and there’s no guarantee he holds up at the position given he didn’t play there all summer.
As for right tackle, the Ravens’ lack of a true swing tackle comes back to bite them as Patrick Mekari would step in for Villanueva. Mekari is a versatile offensive lineman who is a natural center but can play all five positions. He struggled at tackle in the summer and could be a major liability if asked to start for a significant period of time.
The offensive line was a major issue in Week 1, and it likely won’t be any better with three of the five positions shuffled six days later.
It’s early, yes, but does this feel something like a must-win game given that they’d be 0-2 if they lose before starting any divisional play?
The vast majority of 0-2 teams don’t make the playoffs. That’s just the reality the Ravens might have to face if they lose this game. Given all the injuries the team has suffered, many are already preparing to write this season off as a lost cause. But again, this is still a talented team and they could make some noise if they figure out their offensive line situation. That’s a big “if” though. An 0-2 start to the season wouldn’t be insurmountable, but it would be far from ideal. And given what we saw in Week 1, this isn’t a playoff team—at least not with the injuries they’ve sustained and their play in the trenches.
Do you have any predictions for Sunday?
It’s hard to see this ending any other way than a Chiefs victory. This Ravens team is just too beat up to hang with the Chiefs for four quarters. The offensive line was a mess in Week 1 and they’ve already lost both their starting left tackle and left guard. The pass rush was a major concern and their secondary has taken a few hits with the losses of Marcus Peters and Chris Westry, not to mention Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young playing at less than 100 percent. The Chiefs are just too good not to capitalize. I expect a Chiefs victory in this one, possibly by multiple scores barring any unexpected developments.