After a defensive beatdown of the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens will face another team struggling to protect its quarterback when they travel to Philadelphia for a Week 6 matchup with the 1-3-1 Eagles.
RAVENS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Lamar Jackson played one of his worst games of the past two seasons in a 27-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, completing just 19 of 37 passes. He threw an interception and could have thrown several more had Bengals defenders been more sure-handed. Jackson has targeted wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews 65 times; he’s targeted the rest of his receivers 66 times. Brown leads the team with 22 catches for 319 yards while Andrews has five touchdown catches in five games. Neither Willie Snead IV nor Miles Boykin caught a pass in the Bengals game. The Ravens rank 31st in passing offense and 25th in yards per attempt.
EAGLES PASSING GAME: Former Most Valuable Player candidate Carson Wentz is off to a dreadful start, having completed just 60% of his passes with nine interceptions through five games. Wentz threw two interceptions and was sacked five times Sunday in a 38-29 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing without injured starters Brandon Brooks and Jason Peters, Philadelphia’s offensive line has performed well, according to ESPN’s pass-block win-rate statistic, but has allowed Wentz to take 44 hits. Philadelphia will also go without guard Matt Pryor (reserve/COVID-19) and tackle Lane Johnson (ankle) against the Ravens. In better news for the Eagles, second-year wide receiver Travis Fulgham has busted out over the past two games, with 12 catches on 16 targets for 209 yards. Wentz has targeted his three tight ends, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers, a whopping 60 times. He also throws frequently to running back Miles Sanders, who’s struggled with 11 catches on 23 targets. The Eagles rank 26th in passing offense and 30th in yards per attempt.
RAVENS RUNNING GAME: The Ravens ran efficiently against the Bengals, with 161 yards on 24 attempts, but almost half that production came from a pair of long gains by wide receiver Devin Duvernay and running back J.K. Dobbins. They’ve run for more than 200 yards once this season after clearing that mark nine times in 2019. Jackson, who missed two practices last week because of a knee injury and a stomach illness, carried twice for 3 yards against Cincinnati, his least productive running performance in 2½ years as a starter. Running backs Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram II have averaged 6 yards per carry, but none is on pace to reach 700 yards for the season. The Ravens still rank third in total rushing and first in yards per attempt.
EAGLES RUNNING GAME: Sanders easily leads the team with 62 carries for 316 yards in four games. He’s building on a rookie season in which he gained 818 yards. Wentz is the Eagles' other dangerous runner, with 122 yards and three touchdowns through five games. Philadelphia ranks 18th in total rushing and 13th in yards per carry.
RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: The Ravens held Bengals running back Joe Mixon to 59 yards on 24 carries, continuing their excellent performance in this area. They rank fifth in total run defense and have allowed opponents to average just 3.7 yards per carry. Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen leads the team with 42 tackles, but many Ravens defenders have excelled against the run, from safety Chuck Clark to defensive end Calais Campbell to outside linebackers Jihad Ward, Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser. The Ravens placed nose tackle Brandon Williams on the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday; they’ve struggled to defend the run in previous games Williams has missed.
EAGLES RUSH DEFENSE: Philadelphia allowed 191 rushing yards in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams but has played solid run defense overall, holding opponent to 3.9 yards per carry. Linebacker Nathan Gerry leads the team in tackles, and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox remains a force inside, though he has not played up to his elite standard from past seasons.
RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens destroyed Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow with seven sacks and 15 hits. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale called blitzes on 59% of Burrow’s dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, showing how much havoc he can create against a struggling offensive line. Marlon Humphrey punched another ball free against Cincinnati, prompting Defensive Player of the Year talk from his teammates. The All-Pro cornerback is off to the best all-around start of his career. No Raven has more than two sacks, but with 16 total, the team ranks fifth in the league.
EAGLES PASS DEFENSE: The Eagles have generated consistent pressure, sacking opposing quarterbacks 18 times and holding them to 6.1 yards per attempt, eighth best in the league. Philadelphia does not have a dominant pass rusher, but three Eagles have at least 2½ sacks. Cornerback Darius Slay, who made his third straight Pro Bowl last season, left the Steelers game with a concussion and did not practice Wednesday but could play against the Ravens.
RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Justin Tucker missed for the first time this season on a 61-yard attempt just before halftime against the Bengals. He’s perfect otherwise and produced six touchbacks on six kickoffs to Cincinnati’s dangerous returner, Brandon Wilson. Sam Koch has put seven of his 15 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard-line and ranks eighth in the league with a net average of 43 yards. The Ravens have allowed just 19 punt return yards and 66 kickoff return yards all season.
EAGLES SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Jake Elliott has made seven of nine field-goal attempts, with both his misses coming from beyond 50 yards. Punter Cameron Johnston ranks third in the league with a 45.7-yard net average and has put 10 of 21 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The Eagles have not gotten much from their return games, averaging 3.6 yards on punt returns and 17.7 yards on kickoff returns.
RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens came out of the Bengals win frustrated with their inconsistency on offense. But with four wins by at least two touchdowns, they haven’t lost their ability to pound lesser opponents. They’re 24-1 against non-Kansas City foes in the regular season with Jackson at quarterback.
EAGLES INTANGIBLES: Philadelphia is struggling, with skeptics now wondering loudly whether Wentz can put his career back on track. The Eagles lost to the Washington Football Team and tied the Bengals, teams the Ravens beat by a combined 38 points. Their only win came against the battered San Francisco 49ers. Coach Doug Pederson’s team will at least play with urgency to avoid falling too far behind in the putrid NFC East.
PREDICTION: Another week, another matchup in which the Ravens hold advantages all over the field. These aren’t the Eagles who won the Super Bowl three years ago. Wentz is making too many mistakes behind an injury-riddled offensive line, and the Ravens will attack him with their confusing array of blitzes and coverage schemes. Jackson won’t have an easy day against a tough Philadelphia pass rush but won’t need to be spectacular. Ravens 34, Eagles 23.