In case you care or even think it matters, Pro Football Talk has ranked the Ravens 16th in the overall power rankings heading into upcoming training camp.
Here are a few excerpts from Charean Williams writing for PFT/NBC Sports on July 18:
“The Ravens, who had a long run of success under John Harbaugh, have become ordinary.”
“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.”
“Biggest positive change: The Ravens ended last season in desperate need for playmakers, which is why nearly every mock draft predicted they would draft a receiver in the first round. With the top three receivers gone in the first nine picks, the Ravens selected Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the first round. They ended up using five of seven picks on defense, with two linemen being the only offensive players selected. But Jeremy Maclin fell into their laps when the Chiefs unexpectedly released him. Maclin, a Pro Bowler in 2014, signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Ravens. They needed him as Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are the only returning receivers who caught more than 30 passes for Baltimore last season. The Ravens have had success with veteran receivers, getting productive seasons out of Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith, which should help Maclin rebound from last season when he had only 44 receptions for 536 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games.”
“Biggest negative change: The Ravens lost their leading tackler, Zach Orr, when, at the age of 24, he retired because of a congenital spine and neck condition. Orr began seeking a return last month, and as an unrestricted free agent, has visited several teams but has yet to sign. The Ravens, meanwhile, are left with uncertainty at the position. Kamalei Correa appears the top option. A second-round selection last season, Correa started one game and saw action in eight others as a rookie but played only 48 defensive snaps.”
“How they can prove us wrong: The Ravens, as usual, will rely on their defense and their Pro Bowl kicker. After giving up late scoring drives, General Manager Ozzie Newsome addressed the defense in the offseason. The Ravens ranked seventh in total defense and ninth in scoring defense a year, and the additions of Brandon Carr, Tony Jefferson, Marlon Humphrey, Tyus Bowser, Chris Wormley and Tim Williams should make them even better. Justin Tucker, the NFL’s all-time most accurate kicker, gives the Ravens great faith in their kicking game. But they need more touchdowns after ranking 21st in scoring. Joe Flacco didn’t have one of his best seasons, with 20 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and an 83.5 passer rating, but now more than a year away from reconstructive knee surgery, he should be more comfortable. The offense, though, still lacks playmakers with only Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead added to the mix. That will make it difficult on the Ravens to get done what they want to get done this season.”
Actually, as negative as some of the PFT review of the Ravens may sound, they’ve still got Baltimore pegged at right about the middle of the heap in the NFL—which means the Ravens could fool a lot of experts by outperforming just 4 or 5 other teams currently ranked higher.
The one thing I’m surprised about in the PFT ranking of the Ravens is there was no mention of the difficulty of the schedule for Baltimore in its first five games of the 2017 season:
1 Sep 10 1:00PMEDT * AT Bengals
2 Sep 17 1:00PMEDT * Browns
3 Sep 24 09:30AMEDT AT Jaguars in London, England
4 Oct 1 1:00PMEDT * Steelers
5 Oct 8 4:05PMEDT * AT Raiders
That’s a tough opening schedule— 3 out of the first five games on the road, including the September 24th game across the pond in London, and all three of your divisional rivals in the mix.
Somehow if the Ravens can come out of those first 5 weeks at no worse than 3-2, their season prospects would look a whole lot brighter to PFT.
Also, as of this writing, we haven’t yet seen the top team rankings, as PFT is revealing their power rankings from the bottom up. Here are the teams ranked so far:
16. Baltimore Ravens.
17. Carolina Panthers.
18. Philadelphia Eagles.
19. New Orleans Saints.
20. Minnesota Vikings.
21. Cincinnati Bengals.
22. Arizona Cardinals.
23. Buffalo Bills.
24. Los Angeles Chargers.
26. Indianapolis Colts.
27. Los Angeles Rams.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars.
29. San Francisco 49ers.
30. Chicago Bears.
31. Cleveland Browns.
32. New York Jets.