Playoff Bound at (10-6)
Jamison Hensley of ESPN recently polled fellow AFC North writers to get a gauge on their expectations for the Ravens in 2017.
“The Baltimore Ravens will end their two-year playoff drought and finish 10-6 this season. That’s according to team-by-team prognostications from ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters.”
“What does this really mean? Well, at this time last year, the NFL Nation reporters predicted Baltimore would go 7-9. That was just one win off what the Ravens actually finished (8-8 record).”
This seems a bit optimistic considering the current state of the Ravens offense. Joe Flacco hasn’t seen the practice field, Breshad Perriman has once again become a ghost for most of the preseason and Danny Woodhead has missed time recently. All three are key pieces of the offense that will need to shake off some major rust a week from Sunday. Throw in the uncertainty of the offensive line and it could be a rough start to the season for the offense.
Going through each week there are some games where it’s hard to agree with the team analyst. Jeremy Fowler has the Ravens winning at home in week four against the Steelers. This game follows their trip across the pond to London. While these games are always close the Ravens offense will still be searching for an identity at that point and it’s hard to imagine them keeping up with Pittsburgh’s high powered offense.
Kevin Seifert has the Ravens losing in Minnesota to the Vikings in week seven. The Vikings offense scares no one and this could be a low scoring game where defenses dominate. The Ravens usually win those games so they have a slight edge there.
The Ravens play in Miami a lot and they’ve traditionally done well there. They also waxed the Fish last season at M&T during Week 13 by the score of 38-6. They’ll get another chance this season on Thursday Night Football at the bank on October 26. But even with Ryan Tannehill being out for the year and Jay Cutler leading the offense, the Ravens could have a tough time containing all of Miami’s weapons. Jarvis Landry has emerged as a top 15 receiver and Devante Parker has a chance to have a breakout year.
With those adjustments, look for the Ravens finish 9-7 and miss out on the playoffs for the third straight year.