Murray, Watkins ruled out for Ravens’ Week 7 meeting with Cincinnati

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have officially ruled out running back Latavius Murray and wide receiver Sammy Watkins for their AFC North clash with Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon.

Murray missed the entire practice week after injuring his left ankle late in the third quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers while Watkins has been sidelined since sustaining a hamstring injury in the Week 5 win over Indianapolis. Veteran Devonta Freeman is expected to start at running back after rushing for a game-high 53 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers, but Murray’s absence will also mean an increased workload for former three-time Pro Bowl selection Le’Veon Bell, who received a season-high eight carries last Sunday and was officially promoted to the 53-man roster this week.

Freeman has rushed for 95 yards on 16 carries this season.

“His style, he’s had it for quite a while. He’s a downhill, explosive, accelerating-type runner with some size,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He has some power to him, and that’s it. He’s good, doing a nice job for us.”

Sunday should also provide the opportunity for Ty’Son Williams to rejoin the mix after being a healthy scratch for two of the last three games. The second-year running back started the first three games and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry for the season.

Williams seemingly fell out of favor with some observers suggesting he was leaving too many potential yards on the field, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman offered no sense of disenchantment when asked about the 2020 practice-squad member on Thursday.

“I don’t think there’s anything I need to see differently at all,” Roman said. “Every week, it’s a little bit different decision tree on who’s up. I think he’s doing a really good job. He’s a good, talented young back that his best football is in front of him. He does some good things. He’s done some really good things, and he’ll continue to do so. We have total confidence in him.”

While star quarterback Lamar Jackson is seventh in the NFL in rushing yards (392) and first in yards per carry (6.1) entering Week 7, Murray, Williams, Freeman, and Bell have combined to rush for just under 4.3 yards per carry, which is considerably lower than what the Ravens received from their running backs in recent seasons.

Baltimore officially listed center Bradley Bozeman (back), inside linebacker Patrick Queen (thigh), left tackle Alejandro Villanueva (knee), and slot cornerback Tavon Young (knee) as questionable on the final injury report, but all are expected to play barring any late-week setbacks. Bozeman, Queen, and Villanueva remained limited participants in Friday’s practice while Young was upgraded to full participation.

Having returned to practice from injured reserve on Wednesday, tight end Nick Boyle (left knee) “looked good” in Harbaugh’s words, but the most likely scenario is him being activated at some point after next week’s bye. The Ravens have until 4 p.m. Saturday to make an official decision for Sunday’s game.

The Bengals didn’t rule out any players for Sunday’s game with backup cornerback Jalen Davis (ankle) and defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin (illness) officially designated as questionable for Week 7.

Below is the final injury report for Sunday:

BALTIMORE
OUT: RB Latavius Murray (ankle), WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: C Bradley Bozeman (back), ILB Patrick Queen (thigh), OT Alejandro Villanueva (knee), CB Tavon Young (knee)

CINCINNATI
QUESTIONABLE: CB Jalen Davis (ankle), DT Tyler Shelvin (illness)