Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens kick off the NFL Preseason on Thursday Night in Philadelphia. The Eagles are -3.5 favorites over the Ravens with an over/under point total set at 35.
For the Philadelphia Eagles it’s been a busy few weeks and while some of their roster moves have made them one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl, the big game is a long way away and the final roster isn’t even set. For this game we probably won’t see much of Michael Vick. While this would normally mean we see plenty of the second string QB, it’s doubtful we see too much of Vince Young either as because of the way things have shook at this season, he hasn’t had a lot of time with the playbook and of course judging by his now famous Wonderlic score coming out of college, the more time he has with the book the better. Mike Kafka is a very capable player and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up ahead of Young on the depth chart at least for the short term and longer term he may get a chance to start somewhere. In the Backfield LeSean McCoy will probably play the first series or so but this will be all about guys fighting to make the roster like Dion Lewis, Noel Devine, Jerome Harrison, and Derrick Locke and we could see some of the newly acquired Ronnie Brown who will be met with a lot of competition in this crowded backfield. With DeSean Jackson just getting to camp this week and Jeremy Maclin on the mend we’ll see the depth of the Philly Wide Receivers and personally I am interested in seeing the very talented DeAndre Brown from Southern Mississippi who figures to stick but we should also see Sinorice Moss, Jason Ava, and Terrance Turner. Defensively the Eagles are locked and loaded and with depth at just about every position, the battles here should be fierce.
The Baltimore Ravens are running out of time with the core of their defense and know there are only so many more chances they will have to get to the Super Bowl. Joe Flacco came into his own last season but we won’t see a lot of him here and we’ll see plenty of Hunter Cantwell and get a look at Tyrod Taylor as the Ravens will need to decide if they need a veteran backup. With Willis McGahee gone it’s Ray Rice’s backfield but for this game it’s more likely to be Jalen Parmalee, Vonte Leach, and rookies Anthony Allen from Georgia Tech and Damien Berry from Miami. The Ravens have some issues concerning depth at Wide Receiver so expect everyone to get a look and it’s very possible the Ravens haven’t found all of the receivers who will be on the roster when the season starts. Anquan Boldin is a lock but it looks like Torrey Smith is going to see plenty of action James Hardy and David Reed are going to get plenty of chances. With Todd Heap gone the Tight End duties go to Ed Dickson and Dennis Pita. As long as Ray Lewis is on the Ravens the defense will always be the leaders on this team and whether it is the first game of preseason or the Super Bowl, Lewis has the defense pumped up and ready to play every play like its’ their last.
Since these are two real contenders, there is going to be little competition among the big jobs so we are going to see quality as we get deeper into the roster. While in a lot of these early games we know which team is deeper in this one it is pretty close.
If we look at prior preseasons it is apparent that the Ravens take this much more seriously and like I mentioned earlier, it’s Lewis and the defense which still take exception to every yard gained against them and where on the Ravens making the roster is a major accomplishment. Andy Reid’s Eagles went 2-2 last year in the preseason and 1-3 in 2009 allowing 120 points in 2009 and 87 points in 2010. The Ravens on the other hand went 4-0 in 2009 and 3-1 in 2010 with the lone loss coming in the final preseason game which while the first is the tough to predict, the last is seen as the most meaningless. In 2009 the Ravens’ defense allowed just 39 points and in 2010 just 52.
I don’t rush to the betting windows in preseason but the Ravens seem to be a pretty solid pick in this spot just based on the way they have played in past preseason’s defensively. Take the Ravens plus the 3.5
Baltimore Ravens +3.5 Philadelphia Eagles