The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles will do battle in an all-important third preseason game this week.
Both teams head into the 2019 campaign with legitimate division championship aspirations after earning a playoff spot last season.
For the Ravens, that includes the addition of future Hall of Fame safety Earl Thomas in free agency this past March.
Philadelphia’s situation is a bit more complexed with the recently-extended Carson Wentz having missed the end of the past two seasons to injury.
Despite his injury concerns, Wentz drew some rave reviews from the respected Thomas ahead of this week’s matchup.
”I would tell you, in this league there’s a small pool of guys that you would classify at an elite level,” Thomas told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “And I think he’s definitely in that pool.”
Thomas, 30, has had a first-hand look at Wentz during joint practices this week. He also knows what to look for in an elite-level quarterback after starring with Russell Wilson in Seattle over the past several seasons.
Wentz himself has received play as a potential under-the-radar MVP candidate heading into his fourth season. The Eagles are certainly hoping for that after handing him a four-year, $128 million extension back in late June.
The 26-year-old former No. 2 overall pick has tallied a 23-17 record in 40 career starts with 70 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. Wentz now must prove that he can stay healthy through a 16-game schedule and potential playoff run.
That’s magnified with the injury issues behind him on Philadelphia’s depth chart and the departure of former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles in free agency.