The Baltimore Ravens have gotten to the point where they expect to make the playoffs, as it’s happened six of the last seven seasons. Will this year be the same?
Here’s how the Ravens stack up heading into the 2015 season.
Key Player Losses: The Ravens traded one of the best nose tackles, Haloti Ngata, to the Detroit Lions. Ngata played six seasons with the Ravens, racking up 25.5 sacks and 30 pass deflections. Safety Darian Stewart is also a member of the Denver Broncos, as he picked up 53 tackles and four pass deflections in his only season with Baltimore. Offensively, the Ravens are going to look a lot different after losing Bernard Pierce, Jacoby Jones, Owen Daniels and Torrey Smith. That’s a combined 17 touchdowns last season that’s no longer on the team.
Key Player Additions: The Ravens found a new starting safety in Kendrick Lewis, who had 94 tackles and two interceptions last season with the Houston Texans. Lewis is a young player at 27 years old and will help Baltimore keep that edge on the defensive end. The Ravens didn’t do much on the offensive side of the ball besides adding a backup quarterback in Matt Schaub. Say what you will about Schaub, but he’s an experienced player who has thrown for 130 touchdowns in his up-and-down career. The Ravens could do a lot worse if Joe Flacco ever went down for whatever reason.
Draft: The Ravens found a new starting wide receiver in Breshad Perriman and the future at tight end in Maxx Williams. Perriman is a big body receiver who could blossom into a solid No. 2 receiver and Williams is super athletic and can stretch the field. Buck Allen is a hardworking running back with good speed and Za'Darius Smith is a defensive end with a high motor and impressive power. The Ravens addressed a lot of different areas and got some talented players for the right value.
2015 Outlook: The Ravens are always going to be pretty solid on the defensive side. And despite losing a lot of talent on the offensive side, having an above-average quarterback should help mask some of those issues. Still, the wide receiver depth has really taken a hit without Smith being the true No. 1 guy. The Ravens will again be in the hunt for a playoff spot, but nothing is as guaranteed as it has been in the past with this team.
Baltimore Ravens 2015 Schedule:
Sept. 13 at Denver Broncos, 4:25
Sept. 20 at Oakland Raiders, 4:05
Sept. 27 Cincinnati Bengals, 1
Oct. 1 at Pittsburgh Steelers (Thu), 8:25
Oct. 11 Cleveland Browns, 1
Oct. 18 at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25
Oct. 26 at Arizona Cardinals (Mon), 8:30
Nov. 1 San Diego Chargers, 1
Nov. 8 BYE
Nov. 15 Jacksonville Jaguars, 1
Nov. 22 St. Louis Rams, 1
Nov. 30 at Cleveland Browns (Mon), 8:30
Dec. 6 at Miami Dolphins, 1
Dec. 13 Seattle Seahawks*, 8:30
Dec. 20 Kansas City Chiefs, 1
Dec. 27 Pittsburgh Steelers*, 8:30
Jan. 3 at Cincinnati Bengals, 1