Ravens at Commanders: Preview, Prop Pick & Prediction

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Aug 11, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) warms up before the game between the Commanders and the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Aug 11, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) warms up before the game between the Commanders and the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Image: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Howell's first game as Washington's unquestioned starting quarterback will come with some added significance despite being a preseason affair.

The Commanders will play host to Baltimore at 8 p.m. ET on Monday Night Football looking to end the Ravens' 24-game preseason winning streak.


Both teams won their preseason openers, and this is a critical game for the rookies and reserves as the Aug. 29 date for teams to cut their rosters to 53 players approaches.

—Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

—Television: ESPN

—Location: FedEx Field

—Point Spread: Ravens (-1.5)


The Ravens kept their preseason streak alive with a narrow 20-19 victory over Philadelphia. Coach John Harbaugh doesn't reveal much about his preseason playing time plans, but don't expect to see much — or any — of quarterback Lamar Jackson and Baltimore's other offensive stars.


Conversely, Washington coach Ron Rivera will likely give at least a few series to Howell, who threw only 19 passes as a rookie last season. The edge goes to the Commanders with their higher goals for offensive development with the first unit.

The Ravens opened as 3-point favorites at BetMGM, but the line has shifted to Baltimore -1.5 with the public backing the road team with 72 percent of the spread-line bets and 59 percent of the handle.

Our Pick: Commanders 23, Ravens 20


The game comes on the heels of a pair of chippy joint practices last week in Owings Mills, Md.


Harbaugh has indicated that backup quarterbacks Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson will both play a half, with the Ravens expected to sit several key offensive skill position players. One exception could be rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers, who is coming off a catchless debut but is in line to be the team's starter in the slot.

Expect plenty of snaps for undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchell and veteran Melvin Gordon III, who could be battling for the fourth running back spot behind J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. With a strong performance, Gordon could also ratchet up the heat on Hill.


The area to watch for Baltimore is on the other side of the ball. The already depleted secondary took another hit when Marlon Humphrey suffered a broken foot, leading to the signing of veteran Ronald Darby. He could see action Monday night as the Ravens assess their depth chart. Also keep an eye on young corners Jalyn Armour-Davis, Kyu Kelly and Kevon Seymour.

The Commanders are expected to give Howell at least a few series after the newly-appointed starter finished 9-for-12 for 77 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener. Once he departs, veteran Jacoby Brissett will take the reins.


Also expected to see time with Howell is second-year wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who has enjoyed a strong training camp while learning new coordinator Eric Bieniemy's offense.

On defense, rookie first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes is putting up a strong bid to start opposite No. 1 cornerback Kendall Fuller.



"They do a really good job over here in Baltimore, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It was a great opportunity for us as an offense to come out here and get better. Just try to show what we can do and if we do make mistakes to learn from those mistakes. I thought it was a good two days for us as a group." —Howell, following last week's joint practices.



Along with an NFL-record 24-game preseason winning streak that dates back to 2016, the Ravens also hold a five-game preseason winning streak against the Commanders. That includes a 17-15 victory last year at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.



The Over/Under at BetMGM is 38 points, with the Under drawing 57 percent of the total bets and 60 percent of the money. It makes sense given the two strong defenses.


However, there is also a lot of veteran experience in the backup quarterbacks who will take the majority of the snaps, and they'll be working against a bevy of rookies and fringe veterans getting extended looks ahead of next week's cut-down day.

We'll buck the public and take the Over.

—Field Level Media