After a dismal 8-8 campaign for the defending Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens were looking to fill some glaring holes on defense. They also needed some offensive line help as Joe Flacco needs a little extra time to find the open receiver deep down the field, because he surely doesn't like the short passing game. In 2012, that boom or bust mentality led to a Super Bowl championship, but in 2013 it led to turnovers and mediocrity.
16. Baltimore Ravens (2013 Record: 8-8)
The Ravens finished right where I thought they would, even though I artificially pumped them up in my pre-season power rankings last season. It was that whole "give the defending Super Bowl champions their due respect" deal. I’ve decided that was stupid and won’t be doing that again this year, unless they truly do deserve it. This team had one quality win last season and that was at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. hey were lucky to win the eight games they won.
Key Losses: Michael Oher, Arthur Jones, Cory Graham, James Ihedigbo, Vonta Leach, Tandon Doss, Ed Dickson
Key Acquisitions: Owen Daniels, Steve Smith, Justin Forsett
It was evident early on that the void in leadership on defense after the retirement of Ray Lewis and departure of Ed Reed was disrupting the Ravens ability to win football games. They had to rely on Joe Flacco’s arm, which became a bad proposition as you cannot win football games consistently relying on throwing the ball deep on every possession. Word is, Flacco is really working to improve his footwork, which could lead to some better accuracy in the short to intermediate routes.
They did finish out the season winning five of their final eight games and the scheduling "gods" provided a gift with the Ravens 2014 regular season schedule. Going up against the AFC South will do that, I suppose. The Ravens should win more games than they deserve and may be in position to duke it out for that final playoff spot in the AFC.
Projected Record: 9-7
Kyle: C.J. Mosley was a terrific pick for them. I basically wanted the Ravens’ draft.
Jon: Baltimore will be in contention to win the division this fall. But that’s only because the AFC North is wide open.
Topher: The Ravens are a tricky team, when things click they, well, they won the Super Bowl but when Ray Rice struggles and their offense struggles, things fall apart quickly. They have a great coaching staff and put new talent on their team, but will their offense hold up, hard to say. I still think they are the 2nd best team in the division but they don’t strike me as a strong team.
Scotty: Joe Flacco is still very overrated.
I think we’ll see a better defense from the Ravens this year. Mosley is a good fit for their system, and they should have some young guys stepping up for them.
Their offense is what their problem is. Ray Rice is going to be suspended, and is near the end of the road anyways. Bernard Pierce is still recovering from an injury so who knows if he’ll be able to step up in Rice’s absence.
I am intrigued by their receivers. Steve Smith is a nice addition, but does he have anything left? Torrey Smith is a terrific deep threat but that’s it. Jones and Brown aren’t bad either. Dennis Pitta is in for a huge year I think.
Jacob: The Ravens don’t look like a great team on paper, but because of the nature of the AFC North they will have a chance at being the second best team. The Bengals are undoubtedly the strongest team in the North as of now, but the other three spots are wide open and could be anyone’s. I’ll stick by my guns in saying that Joe Flacco is a mediocre quarterback, who performed well on one playoff run, and the offense around him isn’t overly talented either. The defense looks to be re-tooling with the additions of CJ Mosley, Timmy Jernigan, and Terrence Brooks in the first three rounds of the draft. In a year or two, the Ravens may begin to challenge Cincy again, but for now they’re a 2nd-3rd place team in the league’s weakest division. 8-10 wins.
Laurie: Ray Rice is surely going to be sidelined a few games despite his emotional news conference to Roger Good, er, the public a few weeks ago, and Joe Flacco just isn’t that great of a quarterback, so the Ravens are several years away from being able to brag about their team again (which just makes me want to do a happy dance!)
Pete: They are a good team but not great. Is Ray Rice going to go bye bye or will he play? Will Flacco be good or bad? Will their defense be good or bad? So many question marks, but who else is going to be ranked higher? The Bears? Not with Jay and the boys they aren’t!