No one is looking forward to the fresh start of a season opener more than the Baltimore Ravens, the team the Cincinnati Bengals will face at 1 p.m. Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Ravens endured a brutal preseason that saw them place 10 players on Injured Reserve while working without a number of key pieces for a good chunk of camp.
Quarterback Joe Flacco missed every practice with a back injury, while wide receiver Breshad Perriman (hamstring) sat out more than a month with hamstring issue and running back Danny Woodhead (hamstring) missed more than two weeks.
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All three were at practice Saturday, and more will be known about their status for Sunday’s game when the first injury report comes out Wednesday.
The Ravens are coming off back-to-back seasons in which they failed to make the playoffs, something that has happened only one other time since 1999-98.
If the team is going to end the drought, it’s going to have to do it with a drastically different roster in 2017 due to trades, free-agency departures and retirements, with Bengals tormentor Steve Smith chief among the latter category.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley has a detailed look at the roster turnover for the Ravens.
Among the newcomers on offense is wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who is expected to start opposite Mike Wallace, the team’s leading receiver in 2016 with 1,017 yards.
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The Ravens ranked 17th in total offense and 21st in scoring offense last year. Defensively, they were seventh in yards allowed and ninth in points.
The Bengals-Ravens series is tied 21-21, with the Bengals winning six of the last seven. The Ravens have lost five in a row at PBS and seven of eight. Flacco has lost six of his last seven starts in Cincinnati while averaging 166.7 yards per game with three touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 53.8 passer rating.
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Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was Ravens defensive coordinator from 1996-2001 and earned a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 World Champions … Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is from Perrysburg, played defensive back at Miami University and coached at the University of Cincinnati (’89-96) … Ravens DE Chris Wormley is from Toledo (Whitmer High School) … Bengals running back Cedric Peerman (Reserve/Injured) entered the NFL in 2009 as a sixth-round draft choice of the Ravens, but was waived in final preseason cuts … Ravens linebacker Bam Bradley is from Trotwood (Trotwood-Madison High School) … Ravens wide reciver Chris Moore played at the University of Cincinnati … Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons entered NFL coaching with the Ravens in 1998 … Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees is from Dunkirk, and coached in college at Miami … Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney was on the Ravens staff from 1996-98 … Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle was defensive coordinator at the University of Maryland from 1994-96 … Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1992-95 … Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton was assistant S/C coach for the Ravens from 1999-2001 … Bengals assistant strength and conditioning coach Jeff Friday was on the Ravens staff from 1999-2007 … Ravens assistant special teams coach Chris Hewitt played at the University of Cincinnati from 1993-96 … Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther coached at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) from 1994-95 … Ravens inside linebackers coach Don Martindale is from Dayton, and coached at the University of Cincinnati (’96-98). … Ravens offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach Craig Ver Steeg coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1990-93.
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AFC North outlook
Cleveland (0-0) at Pittsburgh (0-0) Sunday. The Browns have lost eight consecutive home openers and 13 of their last 14. The Steelers have won four in a row against the Browns and eight of nine.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
TV: Ch. 7, 12
Radio:1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM