The Baltimore Ravens had a dominant defense in 2017 but didn’t get nearly enough help from the offense. The wide receiver corps has been revamped and if the Ravens can increase their efficiency with the ball in their hands, they could be in line to push for a playoff berth.
While the Pittsburgh Steelers are the favorites in the AFC North, the Ravens are perhaps the most intriguing team. They have the ability to win double digit games if things come together, but another year of poor quarterback play from Joe Flacco could mean the beginning of a rebuild with a new signal-caller under center.
Keep an eye on the Ravens early in the season, because they could show whether or not they will be legitimate contenders in the AFC after only a few weeks. The oddsmakers have split the difference, picking a .500 season as the benchmark for the team’s regular season win total in 2018. Baltimore would be disappointed with that type of showing as it feels like the potential is high for a return to elite status in the AFC in NFL gambling.
Baltimore Ravens Opening Futures Odds at BookMaker.eu
Ravens Over 8 Wins -145
Ravens Under 8 Wins +120
2018 Ravens Offense Preview
Baltimore added Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown to its receiving corps this offseason in hopes of jump-starting a dormant passing game. Flacco won a Super Bowl early in his career with the Ravens but has been a below average quarterback the past few seasons. Lamar Jackson was selected in the first round of the draft and is the heir apparent. He could be on the field sooner rather than later if Flacco struggles.
Brown is a former 1,00-yard receiver who has been dealing with health issues the past couple seasons. He has been turning heads during training camp and would be a huge boost if he can return to form. Crabtree is a reliable veteran who will give Flacco a nice option. Alex Collins is expected to carry the load at running back.
2018 Ravens Defense Preview
The defense carried Baltimore in 2017, as the team only gave up 18.9 points per game, which was sixth-best in the NFL. The safety duo of Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson is solid, while the ageless Terrell Suggs continues to be a pass-rushing menace. Linebacker C.J. Mosley is the next in a long line of talented players at the position, while Brandon Williams is a key piece plugging up the middle at defensive tackle.
The Ravens didn’t make many changes on defense and for good reason, as the group was one of the NFL’s best last year. Baltimore hopes to keep it up, slowing teams down and forcing turnovers that either lead to their own touchdowns or good field position for the offense.
2018 Baltimore Ravens Schedule Analysis
There is a chance to get off to a nice start, as the Ravens host the Bills, travel to play the Bengals and host the Broncos in the first three weeks of the season. Baltimore renews its bitter rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, which is the first of three straight road games, followed by a game in Cleveland and a game in Tennessee.
The next stretch is tough, with games against the Saints, Steelers and Panthers. The Falcons, Chiefs and Chargers all await near the back end of the season, which are all tough games. The Ravens get the Browns twice, the Bengals twice and the Buccaneers, so it’s not all bad, but there are certainly some tough foes on the slate.
The Final Verdict
The Ravens have a lot of nice pieces and have overhauled their receiving corps. They are giving Flacco every chance to succeed, and while he won’t be great, the team will make up for it in other areas. Take the “over” in NFL wagering because of defensive dominance from Baltimore in 2018.
NFL Betting Odds: Baltimore Ravens Over 8 Wins (-145)
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