In their first game under defensive coordinator Don Martindale http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/prince-amukamara-jersey , the Baltimore Ravens couldn't draw up a better scenario.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman will make his third career start Sunday. In the first one, he threw five interceptions in the first half against the Chargers last November, and for an encore he completed just five passes for 57 yards against the Colts in the snow before he was removed after being concussed.
This time, the second-year pro will be operating behind a restructured line that lost two starters from 2017.
Center Eric Wood was forced to retire after being diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury. Left guard Richie Incognito, who played a key run-blocking role, forced his way off the roster after having second thoughts in agreeing to restructure his contract.
Ryan Groy takes over at center and Vladimir Ducasse replaces Incognito.
That bodes well for a Baltimore defense that last year led the NFL with 34 takeaways. The unit did, however, have trouble closing out big games 鈥?most notably a 31-27 loss to Cincinnati in the finale that enabled the Bills (9-7) to displace Baltimore (9-7) in the AFC playoffs and end a 17-year postseason drought.
Martindale promises to unleash an aggressive defense that could prove troublesome to the untested Peterman.
"Hopefully, the things that we've worked on in the offseason and in training camp have become a positive for us," safety Eric Weddle said. "We expect to be great on defense Eric Kush Jersey , play situational football to a T and win a lot of games. (Martindale) will put his personality on our defense. We are pumped to get out there and see what we've got."
Bills coach Sean McDermott can only hope for the best from Peterman, who beat out Josh Allen, the No. 7 overall draft pick in 2018.
"We all have to understand that he's still a young player, just in the beginning stage of his sophomore year, if you will," McDermott said of Peterman. "He's only going to continue to grow and get better."
Some things to know about the Bills-Ravens opener:
CAPTAIN McCOY: Bills running back LeSean McCoy has been elected team captain in his fourth year since leaving the Eagles.
"I look forward to having a C on my chest Sunday," said McCoy, who knows that a strong ground game can take the pressure off Peterman.
McCoy ran for 1,138 yards last year, fourth most in the NFL Pat McAfee Jersey , and can move into sixth place on the team's career list with 69 yards against Baltimore.
FLACCO FACTOR: Coming off a down season, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco intends to rebound with help from a new trio of receivers: John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead.
Brown is the deep threat, Crabtree scored 25 touchdowns over the past three years, and Snead is effective out of the slot, especially on third down.
"I think it's definitely worth noting the fact that we do have three different types of guys," Flacco said. "How well they complement each other is yet to be seen, but I definitely believe it's going to be a good thing."
DEFENSE FIRST: Buffalo's best chance to win is making this a low-scoring game.
The Bills finished 26th in yards allowed last season but were 18th in points against, despite yielding a combined 111 in successive losses in November.
Including playoffs, Buffalo was 9-2 when allowing 17 or fewer points. The two losses can be blamed on the offense: 9-3 at Carolina in Week 2 and 10-3 at Jacksonville in the AFC wild-card playoff.
AGELESS WONDER: Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/ryan-groy-jersey , who turns 36 next month, can't wait to get started on his 16th NFL season.
"I start to get shy or flattered when I hear Year 16," said Suggs, the franchise leader in sacks. "It's a pretty long time, but as long as you know you're still a kid at heart, still out there running, having fun, playing football . that number only means something to y'all, not really too much to me."
It does, however Troy Aikman Jersey , mean a lot to his teammates.
"He's a legend," Weddle said.
JACKSON DEBUT: Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson will play in his first NFL game Sunday, though it's uncertain if he will get on the field.
The fleet-footed 2016 Heisman Trophy winner could see spot duty behind center in a short yardage situation, or maybe be part of a trick play.
"Well, we understand the threat that he brings when he's on the field," McDermott said, "so we spend a considerable amount of time in preparing for him."
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed.
Broncos left guard Ronald Leary avoided surgery on the back injury that sent him to injured reserve last season, but he wasn’t quite as lucky when it came to his knee.
Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com reports that Leary had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in the last few weeks. The good news for Leary is that it doesn’t look like the procedure will cause him to miss much work heading into the regular season.
Legwold reports that Leary is expected to be ready to work when training camp gets underway this week, although he adds that Leary will likely be eased into a full workload.
Leary joined the Broncos last year after spending his first five years in the league with the Cowboys. He made 11 starts before going down with the back injury.
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