Ravens, Jets face off to start season-opening schedule quirk

BALTIMORE (8-9) at NEW YORK JETS (4-13)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS

OPENING LINE: Ravens by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

SERIES RECORD: Ravens lead 9-2.

BALTIMORE (8-9) at NEW YORK JETS (4-13)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS

OPENING LINE: Ravens by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

SERIES RECORD: Ravens lead 9-2.

LAST MEETING: Ravens beat Jets 42-21 on Dec. 12, 2019, in Baltimore.

RAVENS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (3), PASS (13), SCORING (17).

RAVENS DEFENSE: OVERALL (25), RUSH (1), PASS (32), SCORING (19).

JETS OFFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (27), PASS (20), SCORING (28).

JETS DEFENSE: OVERALL (32), RUSH (29), PASS (30), SCORING (32).

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Ravens minus-11; Jets minus-13.

RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Rashod Bateman. He’s Baltimore’s top WR after the Ravens traded Marquise Brown in the offseason. There isn’t much depth at that position, so Bateman will be crucial to a passing game that relied heavily on TE Mark Andrews last year.

JETS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Carl Lawson. Signed last offseason to provide a boost to the pass rush, Lawson ruptured his left Achilles tendon in training camp and missed the entire season. Healthy again, Lawson has his sights set on making a huge impact, saying his goal is “maybe 100″ sacks this season.

KEY MATCHUP: The Jets’ defensive front vs. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. New York has an improved, faster defense on paper, but will get a huge test right out of the gate. Jackson can take over games with his legs or arm, so the D-line — the Jets’ top strength — will need to apply constant pressure while also trying to contain him.

KEY INJURIES: Ravens RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, and CB Marcus Peters missed last season with knee injuries. Edwards is out for at least the first four games this season, and it’s not clear how much Dobbins and Peters — both listed as questionable for the game — will play at first. … The Ravens are also without LB Tyus Bowser (Achilles). … T Ronnie Stanley (ankle) played only one game last season and was listed as doubtful for Sunday. … Jets QB Zach Wilson is sidelined until at least Week 4 at Pittsburgh while recovering from a knee injury. … LT Duane Brown is out this week and possibly more with a shoulder injury. George Fant starts in his place.

SERIES NOTES: The Jets won the first meeting 19-16 on John Hall’s 37-yard field goal in OT in 1997. … Jermaine Lewis returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown and Rod Woodson took an interception of Glenn Foley 60 yards for a score to lead Baltimore to a 24-10 win in 1998. … Lewis brought back two more punts for scores the following season in a 34-20 victory that included Chris McAlister’s 98 interception return for a TD. … Jameel McClain and Jarret Johnson returned fumbles for scores and Lardarius Webb picked off Mark Sanchez and took it 73 yards into the end zone to power the Ravens to a 34-17 victory in 2011. Joe McKnight set a Jets record in defeat with a 107-yard kickoff return for a TD, the longest play in franchise history. … New York snapped an eight-game series skid in 2016 by beating Baltimore 24-16. … Jackson threw five TD passes in the most recent meeting three years ago.

STATS AND STUFF: In a scheduling quirk, the Ravens open their season with four straight games against the AFC East, while the Jets have four in a row against the AFC North. The only other teams to open with opponents from an entire division since the league went to eight divisions in 2002 are the Giants in 2002 (NFC West) and New Orleans in 2004 (NFC West). … The Ravens played an NFL-high nine games decided by three points or fewer last season. They won the first four and lost the next five. … Jackson can break a tie with Michael Vick for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback in the regular season with his 11th. Jackson already has the overall NFL record for QBs with 12, including the postseason. … Jackson also needs 33 yards passing to reach 10,000 for his career. … K Justin Tucker is No. 1 on the NFL’s career list (minimum 100 attempts) with a 91.1% success rate on FGs. He has made 58 consecutive FGs in the fourth quarter and overtime. He’s 16 for 16 in the final minute of regulation and 5 of 5 in overtime. … The Jets hope to end a September swoon — they have lost 12 straight during the month, going back to Week 2 of the 2018 season. … Joe Flacco is 0-5 as a starter with the Jets, including 0-1 last year in place of Wilson and 0-4 in 2020 in place of Sam Darnold. … Flacco is set to join Denver’s Russell Wilson this week as the fifth and sixth QBs in Super Bowl era who started against a team for which they previously started 150 or more times. They’ll join Tom Brady (vs. New England), Brett Favre (vs. Green Bay), Peyton Manning (vs. Indianapolis) and Matthew Stafford (vs. Detroit).

FANTASY TIP: Many fantasy managers are excited about Jets rookie RB Breece Hall, and rightly so. The second-rounder out of Iowa State showed great burst and playmaking ability in the preseason. But plugging him into your lineup as a starting RB right away is risky, considering New York also has second-year RB Michael Carter. It might be smart to see how offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur uses the duo first because it could be split to start.

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