Preview: Ravens Open Season Against Texans
The 2023 NFL regular season is finally upon us as the Ravens get set to battle the Houston Texans tomorrow afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. Sunday also marks the 25th anniversary of M&T Bank Stadium which opened in 1998. The Ravens are at home for week one for the first time since 2020, and will look to move to 7-0 all-time against the Texans at home.
The Ravens enter week one fairly healthy with only two players with an injury designation for Sunday. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot) who has been out the last three weeks after undergoing foot surgery has already been ruled out. Tight end Mark Andrews who had not practiced for over a week popped up on the injury report this week with a quad injury was limited all week in practice and has been listed as questionable for Sunday.
The Houston Texans will be without three of their starters linebacker Black Cashman (hamstring), wide receiver John Metchie III (hamstring), and safety Jimmie Ward (hip) have all been ruled out. Running back Dare Ogunbowale (hamstring) is listed as questionable. The biggest injury news for the Texans is along their offensive line. right Tackle Tytus Howard was injured reserve for a broken right hand, meaning he will miss the first four games of the regular season. Left tackle and 2022 first-round pick Kenyon Green was hurt in the Texans final preseason game and will miss the season with a shoulder injury. Center Scott Quessenberry who tore his MCL and ACL at the beginning of camp will miss the 2023 season and his replacement rookie Juice Scruggs was also placed on injured reserve making him unavailable for Sunday.
Players to Watch:
After a “hold-in” by J.K. Dobbins early in training camp as Dobbins and the Ravens were divided on the running backs efforts to sign a new deal. Dobbins finally returned the week before the last preseason game. Dobbins did not play in the final preseason game but has been at practice ever since with no setbacks regarding his knee.
Now one year fully removed from a torn ACL, Dobbins is expected to be the lead back for this Ravens offense over fellow running back Gus Edwards. While Todd Monken’s new offense has a lot of unknowns heading into week one, one thing that is known is Dobbins wish to be used more then he has during his young career. Expect Dobbins to get a bulk of the carries on Sunday with no restrictions, but also look for Dobbins to be used out of the backfield as a pass catcher.
Selected by the Texans out of Ohio State with the their second-overall pick, CJ Stroud will have a tough task in his first career NFL game. The Ravens are 14-2 against rookies at home under John Harbaugh and Stroud must go up against what is expected to be one of the top defenses in the entire NFL. Stroud has great potential and to some was the best quarterback in this years draft.
Stroud has a strong arm and has the ability to escape the pocket if need be. It will be important for the Ravens to get Stroud of his spot early otherwise he has enough talent and enough playmakers around him to move the ball down the field.
The Ravens have a great opportunity to put the entire league on notice this Sunday with a strong performance. The energy will be high in M&T Bank and a quick start by the Ravens will surly make it hard for a rookie quarterback to come back from. But, this is also the first game action for a majority of this offense so far as nearly no starters saw the field in the preseason. It also important to remember this is the first game with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. I expect the Ravens to come out quick looking to throw the ball to their new weapons in Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Zay Flowers.
Their will be some growing pains however, and at times the offense will look flat, but that should be expected for week one. But the story on Sunday will be about the defense. They will give CJ Stroud his welcome to the NFL moment as he will be under attack for most of the day. Stroud will make some plays and show promise for the future, but the Ravens ultimately be too much for the Texans as the Ravens win by a final of 27-16.
Line: Baltimore -10
All-Time Record: Baltimore leads series 9-2
Last Meeting: 9/20/2020 Baltimore 33-16