Baltimore Ravens: What to watch in preseason finale

The Baltimore Ravens have one last chance to face an opponent on the field before the regular season starts next week. The team will head to New Orleans to face the Saints Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Both teams are undefeated this preseason and will meet again on Nov. 24. Starters are resting for this final preseason game, so all eyes will be on second and third-string players.

Baltimore RavensWith the final 53-man roster announcement coming this Saturday, there will be several players to watch in the preseason finale. There are four locked wide receivers at this point, but a battle remains among Deonte Thomspon, Kamar Aiken, and Michael Campanaro. Thompson recorded some powerful plays this preseason, which wasn’t expected at all. He has lacked in the past three years, but his speed might be a weapon the Ravens want to keep.

Aiken had a few standout moments early in camp and preseason, but lately failed to impress. He will need to make big plays Thursday if he wants to stay on the roster. Rookie Campanaro has had a fairly solid preseason, but still needs to prove what he can bring to the team. I think the Ravens will keep him on the roster, and he should develop into a strong receiver.

I expect to see a great performance by backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has had an impressive preseason. I think he will connect with rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro for some strong plays. Taliaferro is showing his talent with 40 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown this preseason, which is needed for the team’s running back depth.

One player that is difficult to predict is rookie quarterback Keith Wenning. He was expected to show up and automatically be a star like he was at Ball State, but he has not performed well aside from a few plays. He didn’t even play last week against the Redskins, but officials might try to keep him on the practice squad. I doubt he will play much Thursday, if at all.

The corner battle is always one to watch. With only four healthy corners currently on the roster, the Ravens signed veteran Derek Cox from the Vikings. Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, and Asa Jackson are out the rest of the preseason with injuries and will hopefully be back to normal as soon as the regular season starts. Chykie Brown has shown impressive athleticism this preseason, and I expect him to make the final roster.

Hopefully pass protection improves Thursday night and the players return to Baltimore healthy. The time for regular season is finally just a week away and injuries need to be kept at a minimum. In just a few days, the 53-man roster will be announced. Thursday night is the last chance for several players to prove that they deserve a spot.  Any predictions or thoughts for the final roster?