The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a disappointing 2015 season. The Ravens were expected to be a serious contender after winning 10-games the prior year. Injuries to key players on both sides of the ball prevented that from ever happening.
When it was all said and done, Baltimore finished a mere 5-11. It marked the first time under head coach Jim Harbaugh that they didn’t go at least 8-8. It’s also only the second time they failed to not post a winning record.
As you might expect, the Ravens are a prime candidate for a big bounce back season in 2016. If healthy, they are certainly on par with division rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
2016 Roster Changes
Top Draft Picks
|OT Ronnie Stanley, DE/OLB Kamalei Correa, DE/DT Bronson Kaufusi, WR Tavon Young, WR Chris Moore, OT Alex Lewis, DT Willie Henry, RB Kenneth Dixon, DE/OLB Matt Judon|
|WR Mike Wallace, TE Ben Watson, CB Jerraud Powers, S Eric Weddle|
|WR Chris Givens, OT Eugene Monroe, G/OT Kelechi Osemele, DE/DT Chris Canty, ILB Daryl Smith, CB Tray Walker, S Will Hill|
2016 Schedule & Odds
|Week||Opponent||Spread (Est.)||Win Chance|
|Estimated Wins: 6.65|
It’s amazing the offense was as good as it was given all the injuries. Baltimore managed to finish in the top half of the league in total offense at 359.3 (14th). That was with Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett both going down after 10 games, and veteran wide out Steve Smith out in Week 8. Not to mention tight end Dennis Pitta and 1st round rookie wide out Breshad Perriman never played a snap.
Flacco’s injury marked the first time he missed a game since coming into the league. Though he wasn’t exactly effective when healthy. He ended up throwing for just 14 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. Most of that had to do with the lack of weapons at the receiver positions.
The team was really counting on Perriman to step in and contribute at a high level right away. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being the go-to-guy in 2016. The bright spot with all the injuries was the emergence of Kamar Aiken. He came out of nowhere to lead the team with 75 receptions and 944 yards. Smith should remain a key contributor, but he might not be the same player off the Achilles injury at 37.
The Ravens took a flier on free agent Mike Wallace, but not a lot can be expected. Another potential target is rookie Chris Moore, who has big play potential. Pitta is trying to return, but who knows what he will look like. Other options at tight end include Crockett Gillmore, Benjamin Watson and Maxx Williams.
The offensive line will have at least a couple new faces in 2016. They lost guard Kelechi Osemele in free agency and released left tackle Eugene Monroe. Baltimore used the No. 6 pick on Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley. He’ll compete with recent free agent pick up Jake Long at left tackle. Replacing Osemele will be tough, but they do have two strong players back inside. Those being guard Marshal Yanda and center Jeremy Zuttah.
Forsett and Javorius Allen will be the primary 1-2 punch out the backfield. Though more depth was added. They took a couple more fliers on Terreance West and Trent Richardson. They also used a 4th round pick on Kenneth Dixon, who could surprise.
The biggest blow on the defensive side of the ball came in Week 1. Star outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was lost for the year to a torn Achilles. Without him the Ravens pass rush suffered big time. They went from 49 in 2015 (T-2nd) to just 37 (T-17).
While Suggs might not be 100% early in the season, he’s expected to be ready for opening day. He will return to form a capable 1-2 pass rush with fellow outside backer Elvis Dumervil. Hoping to add some help here, Baltimore used a 2nd round pick on Boise State’s Kamalei Correa. The only real concern at linebacker is who will start alongside stud inside backer C.J. Mosely.
The defensive line figures to be in good shape. The Ravens have two rising starts in nose tackle Brandon Williams and end Timmy Jernigan. They also have another capable 3-4 end in Larence Guy.
The secondary got a huge boost in the offseason with the addition of Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle. The other starting safety will be converted corner Lardarius Webb, who shined in his new role. The unit will be even better if top corner Jimmy Smith can return to 100%. He was hampered by injuries all of last year and really struggled. As for the other starting corner, that’s still up in the air.
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the AFC North
to Win Super Bowl
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably underestimating Harbaugh and the Ravens in 2016. Given their track record prior to last season, this team is poised for a big bounce back season.
I do have them improving by 3 wins to 8-8, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were closer to 10-6. That would have them right in the thick of things in the AFC North.
What held me back is so many uncertainties going into this season. Will Perriman be the No. 1 wide out they envision? Will Suggs be the same dynamic player he was in the past? Which Flacco will show up this year? Either way, the Ravens will almost certainly be better in 2016.
AFC North Finish
Win Total Prediction
Ravens 10-Year Recap