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2020 NFL Preview

32 in 32: Baltimore Ravens 2020 Betting Preview

32 in 32: Baltimore Ravens 2020 Betting Preview

It took just four quarters of football for the Baltimore Ravens to erase the greatest single-season in team history on a cold winter evening in the Charm City.

The Ravens had torn through the rest of the NFL like a hot knife through butter, going 14-2 on the season that included a 12-game winning streak as the team would enter the playoffs with the best record in football.

Lamar Jackson had a remarkable season, unanimously winning the 2019 NFL MVP with a ridiculous 4,333 yards of total offense, an NFL-high 36 touchdown passes, seven touchdowns rushing, and just six interceptions.

(Not too bad for a wide receiver.)

Despite the phenomenal play by Lamar Jackson and the rest of the supercharged Ravens offense, their season would be cut short when the Tennessee Titans would march into Baltimore and essentially beat them at their own game with a smashmouth rushing attack, stingy defense, and timely forced turnovers.

Jackson would lose in his first playoff game for the second-consecutive season and fall to 0-2 in his career.  The loss has left a bad taste in the young quarterback’s mouth ever since, and now Baltimore enters the 2020 NFL Season looking to finish what they started a season ago with a bulk of their roster from a year ago.

Ravens 2019 Season Review

The 2019 Baltimore Ravens were tabbed by many as a sleeper team out of the AFC that the rest of the league should pay attention to.  It only took one half of football in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins for the Ravens to wake everyone up.

The Ravens would throttle the Dolphins to start their season, setting a franchise record for points in a first-half and an NFL record for most points in the first half of an opening game as they led Miami 42-10 at the break before ultimately winning 59-10.

Lamar Jackson began the afternoon a perfect 7/7 for 204 yards and four touchdowns including two long strikes to 2019 1st Round Pick Marquise Brown and never really slowed down from there as week after week the second-year man out of Louisville would put on a show.

Baltimore was an absolute force of nature on the offensive side of the football all season, rushing for an NFL all-time single-season record of 3,296 yards in 2019 capped by the combination of Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram.  Jackson would set an NFL-record for rushing yards in a single-season by a quarterback with 1,206 yards rushing, while Ingram rushed for 1,018 yards after joining the Ravens in free agency at the start of the offseason.

After starting the year 2-0, the Ravens would stumble in their following two games against the Kansas City Chiefs and an ultra-rare home loss to Cleveland leaving them at 2-2 on the season.

Baltimore would not lose again in the regular season, winning 12-straight games to finish the year including blowout wins over Seattle, New England, and the Los Angeles Rams while narrowly beating the San Francisco 49ers at home in a game many people saw as a potential Super Bowl preview.

Eight of the Ravens wins during their 12-game winning streak came by double digits.  The Ravens would post an absurd point differential of plus-249, the seventh-best mark in the Super Bowl era.

Entering the playoffs it looked like a foregone conclusion that we would get a rematch of the Chiefs and Ravens for a ticket to Super Bowl LIV, especially when the New England Patriots would fall to the Tennessee Titans, sending the last team to make the playoffs to face the hottest team in football.

Instead, the Titans appeared to also catch fire at just the perfect time and would beat Baltimore at their own game as they rode Derrick Henry in the running game to control the clock and keep the high-octane Ravens offense off the field, and their defense would suffocate the Ravens all evening preventing Baltimore from ever getting back in the game when they would fall behind 14-0 seven seconds into the second quarter.

Ryan Tannehill only needed to throw the ball 14 times for 88 yards in the victory, but two of his completions were touchdown daggers.  Derrick Henry would even join in on the fun with a touchdown pass of his own.  The Titans would win 28-12 in a game that wasn’t even that close, leaving John Harbaugh and all of Ravens Nation completely shocked at their early exit.

The loss to Tennessee along with the white-hot streak by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs during their Super Bowl run seemed to serve as a neuralyzer to the historically great season Lamar Jackson had and the Ravens enjoyed as a whole, but make no question about it, the Baltimore Ravens boast the best roster in football and are foaming at the mouth for a chance at redemption.

Will Eat Their Body Weight in Crab Cakes by Week 5

PlayerOld Team
DE Calais CampbellJaguars (Trade)
DE Derek WolfeBroncos
G DJ FlukerSeahawks

Like an Episode of ‘The Wire’, He’s Locked Down in Baltimore

Player2020 Status
LB/DE Matt JudonTender Signed

Exiting Early Like Baltimore in the Postseason

PlayerNew Team
S Earl ThomasReleased
TE Hayden HurstFalcons (Trade)
G Marshal YandaRetired
DT Michael PierceVikings
RT James HurstSaints
WR Seth RobertsCarolina
LB Patrick OnwuasorJets
LB Josh BynesBengals
DE Chris WormleySteelers (Trade)
S Tony JeffersonFree Agent
CB Brandon CarrFree Agent

Ravens 2020 Offensive Preview

Outside of their playoff dud against the Titans, it’s hard to find something to nitpick about in regards to the Ravens offense from a season ago.  Baltimore was surgical on offense a year ago, mixing a west coast style offense with a unique pistol formation-based attack that often resembled an old-school Wing T type offense.

Second-year wide receiver Marquise Brown added over 20 pounds of muscle to prepare for the 2020 NFL Season.

Not much figures to change as the Ravens embark on the 2020 NFL Season.  The biggest change to the Ravens offense comes on the offensive line where longtime veteran right guard Marshal Yanda elected to retire in the offseason.  Baltimore will have several options at guard that can fill in for the departed Yanda, including free-agent addition D.J. Fluker and the young pair of Ben Powers and 2020 4th round pick Ben Bredeson.

Should Greg Roman replace Yanda in the lineup seamlessly, this offense should once again be among the league’s best in 2020.

Lamar Jackson returns as the starting quarterback for John Harbaugh’s Ravens, and will once again be asked to grow as a passer, as the young quarterback took a massive leap in his throwing accuracy in 2019 but still has shown inconsistency in this department.  However, the rest of Jackson’s skillset makes the occasional missed throw much easier to stomach as there is not a more athletic quarterback in football right now.

Baltimore massively improved their run-oriented offense a season ago with the addition of Mark Ingram in free agency and backups Gus Edwards and 2019 4th round pick Justice Hill.   In 2020, the Ravens running back stable maybe even better, as the team added the electric JK Dobbins out of (THE) Ohio State University in the 2nd round.

While the Ravens prefer to pound teams into submission with their relentless rushing attack, they also possess a dangerous group of wide-receivers headlined by 2019 1st round pick Marquise Brown.  The speedy receiver from Oklahoma made numerous big plays in his rookie season but also had difficulty staying on the field with his slender 157-pound frame.  Brown did what most Americans have done during the COVID-19 pandemic and put on 23 pounds in the offseason, only unlike most Americans that added 23 pounds of weight thanks to DoorDash deliveries, Brown added 23 pounds of muscle and enters his sophomore campaign as a potentially deadly weapon in the Ravens arsenal.

In addition to Brown, the Ravens also have Willie Snead to provide Lamar Jackson with a reliable veteran target in the passing game and are also very excited about the development of 2019 3rd round pick Miles Boykin.  Boykin’s 6-4 frame provides Baltimore with a dangerous red-zone target and will benefit from Lamar Jackson’s ability to extend plays with his legs.

The Ravens offense also depends heavily on their tight ends, at least more than most teams in the NFL.  When Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle aren’t opening up holes in the lethal Ravens rushing offense, they are chain movers over the middle and touchdown machines as Andrews and Boyle combined for nearly 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2019.  Baltimore was so deep at the tight end position that they elected to trade 2018 1st Round Pick Hayden Hurst to Atlanta in the offseason, creating even more opportunities for Andrews and Boyle in the passing game.

Ravens 2020 Defensive Preview

The Ravens’ defense, highlighted by Matt Judon (99), looks to pick up where they left off in 2019.

The Ravens finished the 2019 NFL Season with the #4 overall defense in the NFL, but when they lost games they lost games spectacularly.  In each of the Ravens’ three losses a season ago, including their loss at the hands of Tennessee in the playoffs, the Ravens defense allowed over 500 yards of offense.

As training camp began in Baltimore, it appeared that they had made all the key additions to prevent that type of performance from happening again in 2020, especially when Patrick Mahomes resides in the same conference as you.  John Harbaugh and GM Eric DeCosta went out and traded for five-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell and signed Derek Wolfe away from Denver to fill out their defensive line.  With their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Ravens added run-stuffing tackle machine Patrick Queen to run the middle of the Baltimore defense.

Then on August 23, the Ravens stunned the NFL world when they decided to cut free-safety, and general family man, Earl Thomas for various player misconduct issues throughout the offseason culminating in Thomas getting in a training camp fight with team favorite Chuck Clark.   While Thomas was not quite the same player as he was at the peak of his days with the Legion of Boom in Seattle, he was still a very important piece to the Ravens’ secondary.

Baltimore will look towards 2018 6th Round Pick DeShon Elliott to step into the starting role at free safety for the Ravens in an otherwise loaded secondary that features two of the best cornerbacks in football with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters.  Longtime veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith returns to Baltimore for his tenth season with the team, and Tavon Young projects to be the Baltimore slot corner in 2020.

If the Ravens can replace Earl Thomas’s absence, there are no other weaknesses with this Baltimore defense.  Joining Patrick Queen at linebacker is fellow 2020 3rd round draft selection Malik Harrison and ferocious pass-rushing edge backers Matthew Judon and Pernell McPhee.

Ravens 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Without question, the Baltimore Ravens possess the best roster in the NFL.  This is a team that only has one potentially glaring weakness thanks to the departure of Earl Thomas, but even without Thomas, the Ravens have all the makings of a Super Bowl team once again.

It’s hard to believe the Ravens could be better than they were a season ago, but on paper, they appear to be so.  The only thing that remains to be seen is how they attack the 2020 NFL Season after back-to-back duds in the playoffs, but if Lamar Jackson can finally exorcise his early playoff demons, the Ravens are going to be one of the best teams in football once again.  We don’t see the Ravens running into much resistance in the AFC North outside of a potentially dangerous Steelers team, but even then we like the Ravens to once again boast the best record in the NFL and for the road to Tampa to go through the Charm City.

Ravens 2020 Projection: 13-3, 1st place AFC North

Ravens 2020 Betting Preview

  • Baltimore Ravens OVER 11 Wins — (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    This is one of our favorite win total bets of 2020, as the Ravens roster is absolutely stacked and their schedule is mostly favorable for a team that finished 14-2 a year ago.  The Steelers will certainly play the Ravens close in their two matchups as they usually do, but barring injury, we don’t see the Ravens finishing 10-6 or worse in 2020.  Take the Ravens over 11 and don’t think twice.
  • Baltimore Ravens to Win the Most Games in NFL — (+500) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Ravens boasted the best record in the NFL a season ago and we like them to repeat the feat in 2020. In addition to playing four games against Cleveland and Cincinnati, the Ravens also get to face the NFC East and AFC South this season, all of which will be games in which the Ravens will be favored in.  The Kansas City Chiefs will push the Ravens for the best record in football and share the best odds to do so for that very reason, but we like a highly-motivated Ravens team to get the job done again.
  • Baltimore Ravens to Win Super Bowl 55 — (+650) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Kansas City Chiefs used a heartbreaking defeat against the Patriots as the fuel to push them to their first Super Bowl in 50 seasons, and we can see the Ravens replicating that feat. This marks our third-favorite Super Bowl futures bet and our favorite Super Bowl future involving one of the presumptive favorites in the NFL.  We can’t overstate just how much talent is on this roster right now, and +650 feels like extremely good value on a team this good and this motivated.

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