What do you expect from the Ravens in 2014?

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An expectation is a two-edged sword. It can spur you on to success in difficult times and it can hold you captive if it’s not realistic.

Since 2000, the Ravens have had high expectations of themselves. Prior to that point they had talented players and intermittent success but hadn’t made their mark as a consistent winner.

Ozzie Newsome constructed and Marvin Lewis conducted the best defense in the history of football. John Harbaugh is among the game’s winningest coaches; Jonathan Ogden made the Hall of Fame and will soon be followed by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and perhaps Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata.

This franchise is only entering its 19th season. Considering all it has accomplished thus far, to say the expectations for 2014 are high would be an understatement.

Coaches and players will tell you they want to focus on one game at a time. Although that’s a cliche, it’s a wise approach to winning.

In reality, coaches and players have the same aim as fans: winning the Super Bowl. If they don’t, why do they even bother? To accomplish that goal, a lot of work must be done.

Of first importance and often overlooked is the vitality of staying healthy. It happens every year – more talented teams lose to less talented teams because of an injury.

Secondly, teams must remember that the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone is healthy and excited at the start. But completing the task set before you is a matter of two things: preparation and determination. There are times when you seem to be going nowhere even though you know you’re moving forward. There are times when you’re cruising and you need to pace yourself.

But in the end, if you don’t finish, you have fallen short. A December record of 33-26, a playoff record of 14-7, and two Super Bowl titles since 2000 proves the Ravens know how to finish.

What about this season?

According to the winning percentage of their opponents’ 2013 season, the Ravens have an “easier” schedule this year than they did last year. In 2014 Baltimore won’t have to play great teams like the Packers, Patriots or Broncos. They have a late bye week (Week 11) and their furthest game away from home is against the Texans (a dome team with the worst record in football a year ago).

That said, they still need to play the games, and play them with a new roster; a roster which is not close to being fully formed.

Sure, the nucleus of Joe Flacco, Marshal Yanda, Dennis Pitta, Torrey Smith and Ray Rice will guide the offense. Yes, the defensive core of Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Lardarius Webb and Daryl Smith is in tact. And contrary to the belief of some, the Ravens upgraded on both sides of the ball by bringing in new players via free agency and the draft.

With about three and a half months to go before the season begins, the Ravens’ preparation for their “marathon” is on schedule.

Of course the goal is to win the Super Bowl. To be eligible, a team must first make the playoffs. The ideal scenario to do so is for a team to win its division.

How many wins will that take?

The Ravens can and should win at least 12 games. That’s a lofty goal, but so what? Can you honestly say the Ravens will be out-matched against any of their upcoming opponents to the point where Baltimore should expect to lose?

Since the Ravens came into existence in 1996, no NFL team that’s won at least 12 games has ever been denied a playoff berth. The only team in that span to miss the playoffs after an 11-win regular season was the 2008 Patriots.

The evolution of the new offense, the cohesion of the offensive line, and how the defense performs with two young safeties are all aspects of the upcoming season that will determine the Ravens’ playoff fate.

All we can go on now is what we know to be true. Harbaugh is a winner, Flacco is capable of playing great football, the running game can only improve and the defense got younger and seemingly more talented.

What is your expectation for the 2014 Ravens?

What do you think the Ravens record will be in the 2014 season?
13-3 or better (7%)
12-4 (21%)
11-5 (35%)
10-6 (30%)
9-7 (6%)
8-8 or worse (1%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.
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About Mike Fast

Mike Fast
I was born and raised in Baltimore. But after a year at York College of Pennsylvania, I transferred to Towson University. At York and Towson, I hosted various radio shows, wrote for the school paper, spoke on a panel RE: college game day presentation at IBS conference in Manhattan and...more

10 Raves on “What do you expect from the Ravens in 2014?

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Ravens don’t look to sweep anyone in the div.; the div is too strong for that. Colts, Saints, Chargers were playoff teams last season and, arguably, have improved thus 2 potential loses. The offense is in transition, needs time to gel, & traditionally falters unexpectedly on the road. Until proven otherwise, the Ravens go 10-6, Bengals,11-5, Steelers 7-9, Browns 7-9.

  2. Justaslowz06 on said:

    11-5. I think well start off hot the first couple games, than well slide as all the new pieces are still gelling together. Can see us going 3-0, than hitting that bump and dropping to the Panthers and Colts. The Bucs will be interesting and depends on how their off season moves gel themselves. Than I can see loses to the Saints and the obviously once yearly let down game being either at the Phins or Texans.

  3. Dashae Beverley on said:

    Ravens will we the division with a 12-4 record in 2014 season. Four lost are: at Colts, at Steelers, at Bengals, at Dolphins.

  4. Hollywoodheiz on said:

    Two other questions to ponder.
    How many games will Ray Rice be suspended for?(you know that is coming)
    And how many of those games will the Ravens lose?
    Just sayin,,

  5. chris on said:

    Such blind belief! I am a Ravens fan, but if you look at last year without flacco having some game winning drives, we could have went 4-12….. I think we will be better, but we wont win 12 games. Are O line is still VERY un proven, I think we finish AT best 8-8 again. A lot of change, and I still dont trust this line.

    Help us Joe Flacco, you’re our only hope!

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