The Baltimore Ravens
Being introduced into the league by original owner Art Model in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens became a staple in the NFL very quickly.
Following disputes between the owner of the Cleveland Browns, Art Model, and Cleveland city officials in the early 90s led to Model wishing to take his team out of Cleveland. In 1996, Model was granted his wish.
The Ravens made a statement immediately, as former Browns tight end Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome drafted a future Hall of Fame lineman, Jonathan Ogden, with the Ravens very first draft pick.
A few years later, Ozzie Newsome stuck gold again when he drafted a middle linebacker out of the University of Miami by the name of Ray Lewis.
In 2000, the Ravens made a name for themself in the NFL, crafting arguably the best defense of all time. Led by defensive lineman Tony Saragusa, an absolutely legendary linebacking core centered around Ray Lewis, and a late career Rod Woodson at safety cemented this defense as one of the best ever. Allowing just 165 points scored against them all season, the Ravens defense carried them to their first super bowl victory, only 5 seasons into their teams existence. Wow!
From 2001-2005, the Ravens were plagued by mediocre quarterback play, highlighted by the massive draft bust by the name of Kyle Boller. Head coach Brian Billick watched as his fame in Baltimore dwindled, holding onto a ooor offense that was saved by a still dominant defense ran by Rex Ryan.
In 2006 the Ravens made themselves a playoff team once again, acquiring pro bowl quarterback Steve McNair in free agency. Steve McNair fueled the best offense in ravens history up to that point, pairing with more dominant defense to win the AFC North with a 13-3 record.
The 2006 season is still known to Raven fans as one of the most heartbreaking seasons, as all its promise was slashed when the offense could record a single touchdown in the divisional round loss to the eventual super bowl champs, the Indianapolis Colts.
2008 marked a major turning point in the history of the Ravens, when John Harbaugh was signed as head coach, and quarterback Joe Flacco was drafted 16th overall In the first round.
Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh made strides right away, reaching the AFC Championship game in 2008, both as rookies.
the playoff success wouldn’t stop anytime soon, as the Ravens never once lost I’m the first round of the playoffs during Joe Flaccos tenure as quarterback. With a 10-5 playoff record, and winning the most road playoff games by any quarterback, Joe Flacco became known as “January Joe”. And believe me, you didn’t want to see Joe in January.
In the last decade
2012 is undoubtedly the best season for the Ravens, who wound up winning the Super Bowl while hardly making the playoffs. A season saved by Ray Rice’s incredible 4th and 29 play, a few Jacoby Jones kick returns, and Ray Lewis announcing this was his last ride.
The Ravens steamrolled their way though the playoffs, beating both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the process. Joe Flacco and the Ravens went on to win Super Bowl 47 over the San Francisco 49ers for their second Super Bowl victory in the team’s 18 year life.
Following Super Bowl 47, Joe Flacco received a massive $120 mil contract over six years. The next six years were lack luster, as the Ravens made the playoffs just once from 2013-2017.
In 2018, another big change came to the Ravens. With the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Ravens selected former Heisman trophy Lamar Jackson. Jackson would go on to win the starting QB job mid season, losing just one game and turning the losing Ravens into a playoff team.
2019 was Lamar Jackson’s first full season as a starter, and he did not disappoint. The 2019 NFL MVP threw 36 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions, while breaking the quarterback rushing record for a single season with 1,206 rushing yards.
The Ravens offense in 2019 all around was very deadly, as they broke the record for must rushing yards by a team in a single season in NFL history with 3,296 rushing yards. The team rode the “Big Truss” wave, and ended with a 14-2 record, which led the NFL.
Unfortunately, The Ravens were answered in the divisional round, losing to the Tennessee Titans.
The Baltimore Ravens are still one of the younger teams in the league, but have certainly made themselves a force in the NFL while also building one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports.
Baltimore Ravens Betting Preview
The Baltimore Ravens announced their arrival as a juggernaut by scoring 59 points in the season opener and cemented that status throughout the regular season en route to a league-leading 14-2 record.
They ran out of magic in the postseason, however, and fell to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round.
Key Offseason Moves
As great as last season was for Baltimore, there was one glaring weakness – run defense.
The Ravens ranked 20th in the league by allowing 4.4 yards per carry, so the first thing they did in the offseason was address the defensive line.
They made a splash by trading a fifth-round pick to Jacksonville for veteran defensive end Calais Campbell. Campbell is a five-time Pro Bowler who is still playing at an elite level. With him occupying lots of space, opposing teams no longer will be able to gash Baltimore up the middle.
Baltimore also signed defensive tackle Derek Wolfe from Denver. Wolfe had a career-high seven sacks last season. He has struggled with injuries in the last couple of years, but he has had a strong career and appears to have a lot left in the tank. All seven of his sacks came in his final six appearances last year.
Adding Wolfe and Campbell should get the Ravens back to the top half of the league in run defense.
Baltimore’s first-round draft pick should play a big role in that aspect, too. The Ravens selected LSU linebacker Patrick Queen at No. 28 overall and were ecstatic that he fell to them. They view him as the next great middle linebacker, and he should contribute immediately.
If the Ravens thought Queen fell too far, then they thought their second-round pick fell even further. At No. 55 overall, Baltimore jumped at the chance to draft Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, who rushed for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns in 14 games last season.
Last year’s leading rusher Mark Ingram is still at the top of the Ravens’ depth chart, but Dobbins should get ample opportunity to contribute this season. Eventually, he is expected to take over lead-back duties.
The Ravens lost a few solid players in DT Michael Pierce, LB Patrick Onwuasor, and CB Brandon Carr, but none of them will be impossible to replace.
Top 3 players
QB Lamar Jackson: Even after winning the Heisman Trophy at Louisville, Jackson was viewed by too many people as better suited as a wide receiver in the NFL. He and the Ravens never wavered, and everybody else saw last season how wrong they were. In his second season, he passed for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns and rushed for an NFL QB record 1,206 yards and seven more scores. He appears to have mastered the read-option and rode that mastery to MVP honors.
All eyes will be on Jackson this season. Can he be that good again? Will defenses figure out how to slow him down? Judging from the stats listed on DraftKings and FanDuel, the expectations remain sky-high.
DraftKings lists Jackson’s season total for passing yards at 3,250.5, and FanDuel lists passing yards at 3,199.5. The total for passing touchdowns is and 26.5 at both web sites. DraftKings lists Jackson’s total rushing yards at 975.5, and FanDuel lists it at 919.5. Both web sites also list Jackson’s MVP odds at +700.
RB Mark Ingram: Ingram established himself as one of the most productive backs in the NFL during eight seasons in New Orleans, and he flourished yet again last year in Baltimore. His 1,018 rushing yards were the third-most in his career, and his 10 rushing touchdowns were the second most. His 15 total touchdowns were a career-high.
Ingram was the team’s most-used running back last season, but he is far from the only contributor. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill are still in the mix, and the rookie Dobbins should get his fair share of work, too. Dobbins seems most likely to take the heaviest bite out of Ingram’s workload.
The perception is that Ingram’s workload will decrease so much that the total for his rushing yards has been set at 750.5 by DraftKings.
DL Calais Campbell: Campbell is extremely versatile for a defensive lineman, and he is exactly what the Ravens need up front. In his first two seasons in Jacksonville (2017-2018) he lined up on the outside and registered the best sack totals of his career (14.5 and 10.5). It might be tempting for the Ravens to use him in that same role, but Campbell’s value is such that he can play either position along Baltimore’s three-man front.
Regular season win Total (11 at DraftKings and 11.5 at FanDuel)
It’s extremely difficult to win more than 11 games in the NFL, but the Ravens have done it five times since the year 2000. They didn’t lose many key players and added some big names so reaching 12 wins again seems like a good bet.
Odds to win Division (-225 at DraftKings and -200 at FanDuel)
The Ravens are the overwhelming favorite here with the next best odds listed for the Steelers at +350 and +340. Only the Chiefs (-455 and -420) are bigger favorites to win their division.
Odds to Win Super Bowl (+650 at DraftKings and +650 at FanDuel)
Baltimore has won only one playoff game since 2012, but with two Super Bowl championships under its belt, it’s a franchise that is used to winning on the biggest stage. The Chiefs are the odds-on favorite at both web sites. Their odds are listed at +600 in both places.
Lamar Jackson was so breathtaking and effective last season that the only thing left for him to do is win in the postseason. There is no reason to believe he cannot take that step this year. Of course, the Ravens’ expectations go beyond winning one playoff game so they won’t settle for that.
It’s easy to see Baltimore repeating as AFC North champs and advancing in the playoffs, but do the Ravens have what it takes to get to the Super Bowl? It would be silly to say, without a doubt, no.
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