Key injuries to Ravens could spell huge bounce-back game for Ja'Marr Chase

Chase should have a massive game vs. the Ravens
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Bengals hope to move to .500 this weekend when they host the Baltimore Ravens for the first meeting between the two rivals in the 2023 regular season. Baltimore won their Week 1 match-up over the Houston Texans but it came at a price, as they lost a lot of key players to injury.

To get more insight from the Ravens' side of things, I spoke to Parker Hurley of Ebony Bird, FanSided's site dedicated to the Baltimore Ravens. One of the main things Parker spoke about was how the Ravens got banged up a lot in their season opener. This opens the door for Ja'Marr Chase to have an explosive game against the AFC North foes.

Check out my conversation with Parker below.

Ja'Marr Chase is the Bengals player to watch vs. Ravens

Q: What were the expectations for the Ravens entering the season?

Parker: Expectations were high. With Lamar Jackson signed to a new deal, a new offensive coordinator, a healthy offensive line, and the best skill players he has had in his career, the thought was that this team could go as far as health allows them. Of course, that was back when Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum were healthy.

Q: The Ravens blew out the Texans in Week 1 by a score of 25-9. What looked good in the win? What looked bad? 

Parker: What looked good was Zay Flowers. The team used him a variety of ways to get the ball in his hands and let him make plays all over the field. The run defense was also great, and they beat the Texans in the trenches. Some alarming things are all of the injuries. They lost Marcus Williams, J.K. Dobbins, and two offensive linemen. The offensive line issues had Jackson struggling as the Texans were able to create pressure. Kevin Zeitler and Morgan Moses struggled as well.

Q: Who is the biggest X-factor for the Ravens in this game?

Parker: The X-Factor is Odell Beckham. The Ravens need his presence down the field to open things up for the short passing, and rushing attack. Beckham was open deep a few times, and Lamar Jackson connected with him for a 29-yard gain. Still, he finished with just 37 yards overall. If the Ravens want to beat the Bengals they need him to make a few more of those big plays down the field.

Q: Aside from Joe Burrow, who is a player (or who are players) that Ravens fans are nervous about?

Parker: It has to be Trey Hendrickson or Ja’Marr Chase. Chase is obvious, but especially this week because Marlon Humphrey should be out, and it will be a rotation of Ronald Darby, Rock Ya-Sin and Brandon Stephens at cornerback. Beyond that, the center field defender Marcus Williams is out. For Hendrickson, he gets the Ravens backup left tackle Patrick Mekari all week. Mekari has been in the NFL since 2019 but has under 400 snaps at left tackle in his career. Both players could wreck the game against weaker competition.

Q: The Ravens will win this game if ______. 

Parker: The Ravens will win this game if they can get after Joe Burrow like the Browns did. Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington played well, but the game was won by Jadeveon Clowney and Odafe Oweh, who totaled 12 pressures combined, per PFF. If they can do the same against the Bengals, the offense can score enough to win.

Q: Give us your score prediction. 

Parker: I think that Myles Garrett and company are e bit of a tougher task than Clowney and Oweh. The Ravens secondary is in a worse spot, and so is the offensive line. I will say Bengals 27, Ravens 17


Next. 4 Reasons to be Nervous About Bengals in 2023. 4 Reasons to be Nervous About Bengals in 2023. dark

So, there you have it! Parker went with the Bengals to get into the win column and move to 1-1 on the year. Chase having a big game against a beat-up Ravens secondary wouldn't shock anyone and Chase is certainly no stranger to putting up massive numbers against Baltimore.

Let's hope Parker is right. Be sure to check out all of Ebony Bird's coverage on this match-up leading up to the Week 2 showdown.