The Baltimore Ravens were hopeful that one of their veteran playmakers on offense would be ready for this Sunday’s late afternoon game against the San Francisco 49ers, but the news is not looking so promising.
Times are tough in Baltimore. The offense has been the lone bright spot over the past few weeks as the defense has let them down late in games. That could change this weekend if the Ravens are missing both their key starters.
Running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Steve Smith are each dealing with injuries that are jeopardizing their chance of playing this week. Forsett injured his ankle in last week’s overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns, while Smith has broken ribs from a hit he took in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4.
Forsett took part in his first practice on Friday, which increases his chances of playing Sunday. He was held out on Wednesday and Thursday, but it is a good sign to see him on the field today. The Ravens absolutely need their man on the ground that has 320 total yards and a touchdown over his last two games.
The news is not as encouraging for Smith. He has been practicing in limited fashion this week, but told reporters today that the chances of him playing this Sunday are not good.
Without Smith and Forsett, the offense will be missing the backbone of their operation. The two veterans are the lone playmakers on the Ravens offense that keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night. Without the two in the lineup, there is no threat on offense. No one that Joe Flacco can get the ball to with confidence that is going to make a play that leads to a score.
If Forsett does not play, rookie Javorius Allen would get the start in his place. The fourth-round pick has moved up into the backup role after the Ravens placed fellow running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on injured reserve. The only other healthy running back is Raheem Mostert, whom the team claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins once they placed Taliaferro on IR.
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Kamar Aiken and the rest of the receiving corps has to step up this week. The Niners have a secondary that is just as questionable as the Ravens, and it would be nice to see another team getting best in the secondary. Aiken played well in the first half last week, but was invisible in the second half. The second and third leading receivers a week ago were Forsett and fullback Kyle Juszczyk with four catches each. That allows defense to stack the box more, and make plays in the ground game.
The running game has finally gotten in order with Forsett and that is why the are hopeful he plays. Baltimore has always been a team that has used the run to set up the pass. If he is unable to suit up, it could be a long day for the Ravens offense.
It’s bad enough we already had to worry about the defense.
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