Pro Football Talk recently ranked the Ravens 16th in their preseason power rankings. Here is their explanation.
Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco are under pressure to win and win now, and with as many as 10 new starters, that won’t be easy. The Steelers and Bengals both appear to have better talent, and though the Ravens can compete for a wild-card berth, they will have to find more offensive firepower after ranking 17th in total offense, including 28th in rushing.
Being ranked literally right in the middle of the pack is a fair assessment of the Ravens as they enter 2017. Since winning the Super Bowl in what seems like a lifetime ago they are 31-33 and the definition of mediocrity. They’ve missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons and while the expectation used to be at the very least making the playoffs that confidence has wavered the last couple of years. Being ranked at 16th, though, feels more like a worst-case scenario entering this season and this team could have a much higher ceiling.
The offense has lost some pieces. They’ll need to overcome Steve Smith retiring and holes along the O-line, but it has the potential to be better. Ozzie Newsome lucked out when Jeremy Maclin suddenly became available, and he fills the void left by Smith Sr. The Danny Woodhead signing was a quiet one but don’t be surprised to see him make a major impact. If the hype around Breshad Perriman can translate into game-day results, the Ravens can take a step forward this season.
On defense, the Ravens invested heavily in free agency and the draft. They retained Brandon Williams, signed Tony Jefferson, and used their first four picks on defensive players. The loss of Tavon Young hurts but they are still deep at corner and that’s no coincidence. After late-season collapses the last few seasons, bolstering that unit was smart.
Being ranked 16th overall is fair, but don’t be surprised if the Ravens and up being better than that.