The Ravens are looking for their first 3-0 start since 2016 as they get ready to face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Here are my thoughts, all in 50 words or less:
Imagine the scenario of the Ravens getting ready to play Sunday's game against Lamar Jackson instead of playing with him. Remember when the Colts were the Vegas favorites to land Jackson this offseason before he signed his extension with the Ravens? Thank goodness that didn't happen.
Jackson's contract negotiations feel like ancient history, but those days sprang back to memory with the Colts in town. Indy could've made Jackson a contract offer or traded the fourth-overall pick (and probably more) but chose Anthony Richardson instead. It's a shame we won't get to see them face off.
Of course, even if Indianapolis had come after Jackson, the Ravens positioned themselves to match. And Jackson didn't want to go anywhere else, which he reiterated this week saying he's "grateful for being here" and not focused on proving anything to those who didn't go all out for him.
John Harbaugh told Sky Sports the Ravens "might have had to" draft a quarterback in the first round had Jackson not inked his contract earlier that day. Will Levis was the next QB taken after the Ravens grabbed Zay Flowers at No. 22. Another reason to say thank goodness.
The handling of Justin Fields in Chicago makes me think about how the Ravens worked with Jackson. Baltimore let him play his style as he grew as a passer. Jackson proved he was ready for a higher frequency passing attack, so the Ravens got him the weapons to do it.
This isn't the first time Jackson has started a season hot. His challenge now? To sustain it and stay on the field. If he does that, the Ravens are going to be very hard to stop. I liked Jackson's demeanor after the game in Cincinnati. Big win? Yes. Championship? No.
Losing Justice Hill for Sunday's game is a bummer. That's two games and two starting running backs going down to injury. Still, we all know Gus Edwards can handle the load. With rain in the forecast, it seems like a good time to pile onto the "Gus Bus."
Flowers is going to have a monster game at some point. Nine catches on mostly short throws in Week 1. The chance for three deep bombs in Week 2. Flowers shows he can attack all parts of the field with his do-it-all ability. Now he just needs a touchdown.
The Ravens lost another cornerback with Ar'Darius Washington going on IR, but the unit still looks strong - something we wouldn't have said a month ago. Brandon Stephens locked up Ja'Marr Chase. Rock Ya-Sin is heating up. Ronald Darby has been a good signing. Who starts once Marlon Humphrey returns?
Don't sleep on Gardner Minshew's ability to move the ball. In two starts last year for the Eagles, the gunslinger threw for 629 yards. He completed 19 of 25 passes taking over for Richardson last week. There's a reason why "Minshew Mania" is a thing. Turnovers have been his downfall.
Baltimore's offensive line excelled against the Bengals, but the Colts' D-line is better with monsters DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, and former first-round pick Kwity Paye. Harbaugh called it the "No. 1 issue for sure." If the Colts are pull off an upset, it'll be because of their defensive line.