WIN TOTAL FOR BALTIMORE RAVENS SEASON
The Ravens were once a team that relied on their defense to carry them year after year to the promised land. Hall of Famers like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs (who will be one when he retires) and Ed Reed patrolled M&T Bank Stadium for years, and they won a couple of Lombardi Trophies along the way. Today, nothing’s changed, and stars like Earl Thomas, Brandon Williams and Marlon Humphrey still star. The Ravens always boast elite defenses, and 2019 should be no exception.
On offense, Baltimore is set up to run a unique offensive game, with mobile signal caller Lamar Jackson ready to lead a groundbreaking running offense, one that will make-or-break the team’s season. New addition Mark Ingram will help complement the sophomore Jackson on the ground, while Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon are also a part of Jackson’s arsenal of running weapons. Marquise Brown was a great pickup for them as Jackson’s new deep threat, while also being somebody who can make plays on short routes. If Jackson can improve his passing mechanics, the Ravens could be a team to watch in the year ahead.
Under 8.5 (-130)
There are some promising signs with Baltimore’s young team, but there are so many things that need to work out in order for the Ravens to get over the 8.5 win barrier. That vaunted defense has been showing a few cracks that could prove deadly in the season. CJ Mosley made 4 Pro Bowls in his 5 years as a Raven, but was poached by the Jets in the offseason with an $85m deal, leaving a huge void in the middle of the defense. A key rotational piece on that defensive line, DT Michael Pierce had to be taken off of the PRACTICE field because he looked so out of shape and overweight, and it might be a while before the 340-pounder sees the field again. It’s also worth noting that NFL people still don’t know how Earl Thomas will return following his broken leg last year, and whether he can live up to his 4 year, $55m contract is still yet to be seen.
The other side of the ball sees issues too. Lamar Jackson made comments during OTAs about how much harder the Ravens’ offensive scheme is this year, and how different it is. This new scheme will likely have the former Heisman winner passing more and running less, something that should help keep Jackson more durable and healthier for a long NFL career. But who knows if Jackson is a capable enough passer to manage a system like this? The offensive line still has it’s issues, and the wideouts aren’t exactly game breaking talents (though Marquise Brown will be a good player to follow). A lot will need to work out for Baltimore to make it back to the postseason in 2019.
Over 8.5 (+100)
Then again, this is one of the most consistent teams in the NFL here, and it’s hard to see them completely falling off the map with a young star at quarterback and young weapons around him. Lamar Jackson looks like a more consistent runner than Michael Vick was; who’s to say he doesn’t gain the ability to throw like Vick this year too? If Lamar can throw a quality ball, the Ravens offense will become something else. Marquise Brown is a perfect deep threat with blazing speed, who was born to be a deep threat in an explosive offense like this one; if him and his QB can develop chemistry, the sky’s the limit.
Then over on defense, many of the Ravens’ studs are still as sturdy as ever. Young guys like Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser, Patrick Onwuasor and Tavon Young all have important roles on the team, and combined with the play of veterans like Thomas, Pierce (when he is healthy), Williams, Humphrey and Tony Jefferson, this defense should be towards the top of the NFL once again. That’s a good sign that this team should make the playoffs again, or (at the very least) get over the 8.5 win barrier.
FREE NFL Prediction Baltimore Ravens Win Total
The AFC North is always a tough division, and the new-age Browns, always-consistent Steelers and sleeper Bengals should all be good competitors for the North crown in 2019. The Ravens are an interesting team and an exciting one that plays a tough brand of football, one that will get them a few divisional wins, and maybe enough wins to help them crack the over here.
PICK: BALTIMORE RAVENS OVER +100