close
close
Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Baltimore Ravens 2024 Preview: Super Bowl or Failure

By meerna Jul11,2024
Baltimore Ravens 2024 Preview: Super Bowl or Failure

Welcome to 32 Teams in 32 Days. To get you through the offseason, we’re taking a closer look at every NFL team, in order of projected wins in 2024. Next up: the Ravens.

The Baltimore Ravens are one of the few teams that you can confidently say will either win the Super Bowl or not win the 2024 season, given the success they have had during the Lamar Jackson era.

The Ravens had another season in 2023 with a dominant defense and elite performances from Jackson, who won his second career MVP award. But all the individual accolades, the AFC North titles and first-place finishes last season and in 2019, haven’t been enough for the Ravens to reach the Super Bowl since Joe Flacco led them there 11 years ago.

Jackson is certainly talented enough to lead the Ravens to the postseason every year, but he may have to lead the team when it’s needed most to overcome the obstacle of the AFC playoffs. The Ravens helped Jackson this offseason by signing running back Derrick Henry. However, the team lost a number of talented players on the offensive line, and the receiving corps could use some extra help.

The Ravens defense also took a hit after the departure of defensive guru Mike Macdonald, the new coach of the Seattle Seahawks. The team promoted 32-year-old Zach Orr to be the new defensive coordinator for a loaded unit with Justin Madubuike, Roquan Smith and Kyle Hamilton. And of course, coach John Harbaugh is still around to make sure the defense and special teams continue to play at a high level.

Despite key departures, Baltimore should compete for the AFC North title again, but the most important thing this season is reaching the Super Bowl.

Biggest Gamble of the Offseason: Settling on the Quarterback Position, Letting the Linebackers Go

The Ravens will have three new starters protecting Jackson, including rookie Roger Rosengarten, the team’s second-round pick in April. They will need left quarterback Ronnie Stanley to stay healthy and center Tyler Linderbaum to deliver another Pro Bowl-worthy season following the departures of Morgan Moses, John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler.

Wide receiver Zay Flowers had a memorable rookie season before a poor playoff performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. But Flowers may not have much help, as Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor are expected to be the No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers, respectively. The Ravens have a talented tight end duo in Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely, who stepped up to the plate last year when Andrews was sidelined with an injury.

The biggest key to Jackson finally making it to the Super Bowl, however, may fall on the mighty shoulders of Henry. If the 30-year-old delivers vintage performances, this could finally be Jackson’s year for the Ravens.

The Hardest Time of the Season: Weeks 1–5

The Ravens have a lot of new faces on offense and a new defensive quarterback in Orr, but unfortunately for them, they won’t have the luxury of settling into their roles due to a difficult first five weeks of the season. They open the regular season against the Chiefs in Kansas City in their latest Super Bowl banner ceremony. Then they have a home game against the Las Vegas Raiders before a Week 3 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Then they face the Buffalo Bills at home and end the tough stretch on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Breakout Player to Watch: LB Trenton Simpson

Simpson played just 46 defensive snaps in his rookie season, but he must have done something right since he’s a prime candidate to replace linebacker Patrick Queen, who joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. Simpson, a third-round pick in 2023, may struggle to develop, but at least he’ll have Smith to lean on early in the season. Simpson was known for his versatility in three seasons at Clemson, where he had 164 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.

Best-case scenario: Jackson leads Ravens to Super Bowl

The Ravens have a lot of moving parts, but they usually find a way to make the postseason even when Jackson isn’t the MVP favorite. But the Ravens will need a special postseason run from Jackson to finally get past the Chiefs and other AFC contenders. That’s what they got from Flacco en route to beating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

Jackson had a poor performance in the AFC Championship Game loss to the Chiefs, which ended with the team scoring just 10 points and rushing for 81 yards, including 54 by Jackson. Henry could help throughout the season, but when it matters most, all eyes will be on Jackson to get the job done in January and in New Orleans in February.

Worst-case scenario: Ravens defense regresses without Macdonald

Jackson’s lack of offensive help has been a topic of much discussion over the past few seasons, but he has benefited from a great defense. There’s a chance the defense isn’t as good with rookie quarterback Orr, a former Ravens linebacker who joined the team in 2017. He does have plenty of coaching experience, though, having coached the Ravens’ inside linebackers over the past two seasons, helping Queen break out last season and acclimating Smith after being traded to the Chicago Bears. Orr has elite playmakers, but it could take him some time to adjust to being a defensive quarterback.

Head Coach – Quarterback tandem ranking

No. 2: Harbaugh (3) and Jackson (5)

The Ravens haven’t broken through with this group, but it seems only a matter of time. Harbaugh is the championship coach with 160 career wins, 20th all-time. Jackson, meanwhile, just won his second MVP award, one vote shy of unanimous. The Ravens need more playoff success, but this is an elite pair —Matt Verderame

Fantasy Choice: Henry

Derrick Henry, Baltimore Ravens quarterback

Henry comes from the Titans after rushing for 9,502 yards in eight seasons and 90 touchdowns. / Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA

Henry will look odd in anything other than a Tennessee Titans uniform, but his situation in Baltimore is positive from a fantasy perspective. There’s no real competition for downfield work, so King should see 250-300 carries and most of his work on the goal line. So even in his age-30 season, I see Henry rushing for 1,100-plus yards and 10-12 touchdowns. —Michal Fabiano

Best Bet: Henry Over 925.5 Rushing Yards (-112) at FanDuel

Henry had another excellent season in 2023, racking up 1,167 rushing yards despite a slumping offense, inconsistent quarterback play and an offensive line that ranked among the worst in the NFL. Henry has rushed for 1,000 or more yards in five of the last six seasons, with the lone exception being 2021, when he missed half of the season with an injury. He still had 937 rushing yards in 2021 in fewer than eight games played. Henry is moving on to a stronger offense with a better offensive line, and I’m willing to bet on the 30-year-old unicorn running back. —Jennifer Piacenti

Game odds are refreshed periodically and are subject to change.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and needs help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

By meerna

Related Post