After heading into a Week 10 bye with a record of 4-5, the 2018 season for the Baltimore Ravens changed course. The team closed out the year as one of the hottest teams in the NFL with wins in six of their final seven games.
That left the club with a record of 10-6 when all was said and done, which was good enough for an AFC North crown and a home game in the Wild Card round. Unfortunately for Ravens, the season would come to an abrupt end with a 23-17 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The winds of change blew through Baltimore in the offseason. Most notably, Lamar Jackson officially has the reins as the unquestioned starter after the trade of Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos. Expectations are being tempered by NFL betting sites, as the team finds itself in 3rd place in terms of odds to win the division once again.
So what should we expect out of the Ravens in 2019? Is this a playoff team or a squad that may take a step backwards this year? Let’s take a look.
Baltimore Ravens 2018 Season Recap
Record: 10-6 | Standings: 1-AFC North | Playoffs: Lost Wild Card Round
The Ravens kicked off the 2018 campaign with a bang. They played host to the Buffalo Bills and crushed them by a margin of 47-3. The team would go on to win four of its first six games, a span which included a 21-0 road win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 6.
The team was looking like it was poised for a playoff run, but an unexpected three-game losing streak dampened the outlook. Two of those losses came at home, including a one-point defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.
A much-needed bye in Week 9 helped to spark a rebound for the team. The defense evolved into one of the better units in the league, and the handing of the keys to the offense to Jackson brought a new element to the table.
The club ripped off three straight wins right out of the bye, a stretch that was halted by a three-point road overtime loss at the Kansas City Chiefs. Three more wins would follow, including an impressive 22-10 road win over the Chargers in Week 16.
Come playoff time, the Chargers were able to exact some revenge. The Ravens couldn’t get anything going on offense until a rally in the 4th quarter. The Chargers walked off the field with a 23-17 victory, but the game wasn’t as close as the final score suggests.
While the season may have ended in disappointment, the Ravens showed a lot over the second half of the season. There were rumblings that head coach John Harbaugh’s job was in jeopardy, but that became a moot point as the season moved along.
However, some changes to the makeup of the team have led to questions on whether this is, in fact, a team on the rise or one that missed its shot last year.
Baltimore Ravens Offseason Moves
The Ravens defense was raided in free agency. C.J. Mosley, Eric Weddle, Za’Darius Smith, and Terrell Suggs have all moved on. Wideouts John Brown and Michael Crabtree are also gone, but the team added Mark Ingram to the backfield and veteran Earl Thomas to the secondary.
The club would bolster the receiving corps in the first-round of the draft with the selection of Marquise Brown out of Oklahoma. The cousin of Antonio Brown, he’s a highly-touted prospect who was productive in college that’s recovering from Lisfranc surgery.
In the third-round, the team would get some help on defense with the selection of pass rusher Jaylon Ferguson out of Louisiana Tech. Other notable selections include wide receiver Miles Boykin, guard Ben Powers, and cornerback Iman Marshall.
The trade of Flacco signifies the team officially turning the page to the Jackson era. Ingram will lead a crowded backfield, while Brown bolsters a receiving corps that includes Chris Moore and Willie Snead. The biggest area of concerns is the attrition on defense.
The Ravens have generally been pretty solid on that side of the ball. However, the loss of a number of key pieces from a unit which was playing like one of the best in the league at the end of last year is not a quick fix situation.
Baltimore Ravens 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||at Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM||CBS|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||vs. Arizona Cardinals||1:00 PM||FOX|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||at Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 PM||CBS|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||vs. Cleveland Browns||1:00 PM||CBS|
|5||Sun. Oct.6||at Pittsburgh Steelers||1:00 PM||CBS|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||vs. Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||CBS|
|7||Sun. Oct.20||at Seattle Seahawks||4:25 PM||FOX|
|9||Sun. Nov.3||vs. New England Patriots||8:20 PM||NBC|
|10||Sun. Nov.10||at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||CBS|
|11||Sun. Nov.17||vs. Houston Texans||1:00 PM||CBS|
|12||Mon. Nov.25||at Los Angeles Chargers||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||vs. San Francisco 49ers||1:00 PM||FOX|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||at Buffalo Bills||1:00 PM||CBS|
|15||Thu. Dec.12||vs. New York Jets||8:20 PM||FOX|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||at Cleveland Browns||1:00 PM||CBS|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||1:00 PM||CBS|
The Ravens have a strong chance of bursting out of the gates with a mark of 2-0 before the schedule gets tougher. The team will open up on the road versus a rebuilding Dolphins team, and follow that up with the home opener against a Cardinals squad which will likely have some growing pains of its own.
The competition gets kicked up several notches with a tough five-game stretch before a Week 8 bye. The team will open that span with a road date versus the Chiefs, and close it out with an away game at the Seahawks. In between is three straight games versus divisional foes.
Things don’t get much easier after the bye. Baltimore will face a trio of 2018 playoff teams over the span of four weeks. Two of those games will take place at home. Next up is three games versus teams which are expected to improve this year in the 49ers, Bills, and Jets.
The Ravens close out the year with a pair of tough games versus divisional rivals. They’ll travel to Cleveland to take on a Browns squad which is favored to win the division. The finale takes place at home when the Steelers come to town.
Overall, it looks like a very challenging schedule for the Ravens. The AFC North shapes up to be a competitive race this season, and the team has a number of dates with other potential playoff squads on the docket.
Baltimore Ravens 2019 Outlook
Baltimore should be able to get wins in their first two games. That’s a plus as the schedule is pretty daunting the rest of the way. The Browns are expected to be much improved this year, while games with the Steelers are always a challenge.
This could be a transition year for the Bengals with a new head coach at the helm, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still be coming to play a divisional rival. A record of 3-3 in the division wouldn’t be surprising, but four wins are obtainable.
As a playoff team from last year, the Ravens will face a number of challenges for the remainder of the AFC schedule. The club will be on the road for the Dolphins, Chiefs, Chargers, and Bills. They’ll welcome the Patriots and Jets to town. A split for those six games is certainly possible, while four wins would have to be considered a success.
The Ravens will play the NFC West this year, which translates into home games with the Cardinals and 49ers and road games with the Seahawks and 49ers. That’s looking like another split, but a record of 3-1 is definitely possible.
Baltimore Ravens 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the oddsmakers have set the benchmark for the team in the coming year. It’s a good number which represents the number of questions surrounding the team. A case can be made for the Ravens being a playoff squad, but one can also be made for the team being .500 when all is said and done.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
For all three parts of Baltimore’s schedule, a split is certainly a possibility. That would leave the team at 8-8, but we think they can at least eek out another victory. A record of 9-7 for the Ravens seems reasonable, which places us on the Over.