San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens - 8/7/14
Baltimore Ravens (8-8) Vs. San Francisco 49ers (12-4)
NFL Football: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm (M&T Bank Stadium)
The Line: Baltimore Ravens PK -- Over/Under: 35 See the Latest Odds
TV: NFL HD
The 49ers will be looking for “payback” on Thursday night when the Niners head to Baltimore to face off against the Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a disappointing season last year, and with a healthy squad, the Ravens will be looking to rebound and get themselves back into the playoffs. The Ravens had plenty of issues last year, but their defense was the surprising one. Baltimore has gone heavy on the defensive side of the ball the past few drafts looking to replace some of the veterans lost on the defensive side of the ball. Newsome is one of the best talent evaluators in the industry, and if anyone can rebuild this team through the draft, it’s him. The Rice suspension won’t have an impact here, as Rice wasn’t likely to see the field much anyway, and in his absence look for Pierce to see some action early, with Forsett and Taliaferro seeing most of the work. Also, Flacco won’t see much action either, so this game for the Ravens will come down to the quarterbacking of Tyrod Taylor and Wenning.
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The San Francisco 49ers have been at the threshold of greatness the past three seasons, but once the playoffs come, the Niners can’t catch a break. The Niners are loaded once again, and have added another weapon for Kaepernick on offense, as the Niners acquired Stevie Johnson from the Bills this past offseason. Johnson will provide some nice depth at receiver, giving Kap four legit targets this season in Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson and Davis. Surprisingly enough, the issue for the Niners this season may come on the defensive side of the ball. Bowman is expected to miss half the season, as he is still recovering from an injury suffered against the Seahawks in the Championship game last season. The secondary for the Niners also has issues, and not a ton of depth, so the Ravens may be able to exploit that, especially when the reserves get in the game.
This one is very tough to call. The Niners have the advantage on offense, as San Francisco has an ex-NFL starter in Gabbert playing behind Kap right now, and the running back depth for the Niners is impressive as well.
I just don’t see either Harbaugh necessarily trying to win this game, as both teams suffered injuries in the preseason and early season last year, and the emphasis here will be getting some work in, while remaining healthy.
I’ll take the Niners in this spot, as I feel San Francisco has the better quarterback play, and the deeper backfield, but be careful as always in the preseason.