The Baltimore Ravens are off a solid 10-6 season, in which they made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs before losing a thrilling 35-31 game to the Patriots. This year Vegas has their Win Total set at 9 (O -130) and if they top that they should land back in the playoffs this year. Vegas odds have the Ravens at +160 to win the AFC North, +1200 to win the AFC Title and +2500 to win Superbowl 50. A season preview of the Baltimore Ravens along with their 2015 Schedule are below.
Last year the Ravens offense ranked 8th in scoring, at 25.6 ppg, while also ranking 12th in total yards (364.9 ypg), 13th in passing (238.7 ypg) and 8th in rushing (126.2 ypg). Last year the Ravens scored 409 points, which was their highest point total in the history of the team, and they may come close to that agin this year despite the fact that both OC Gary Kubiak and WR Torrey Smith both depart. The Ravens offense is still led by Joe Flacco, who is quietly becoming one of the best QB's in the league and he will now have offensive guru Marc Trestman calling the offense for him. Trestman will have this offense putting up points for sure. Flacco does lose Smith, who was his deep threat, but he does gain first round pick Breshad Perriman, who is also a deep threat, but is faster than Smith was. He will team with Steve Smith to give this team a potent downfield threat. The Running game is in good hands with Justin Forsett, who ran for 1266 yards and 8 TDs last year. It was a breakout season for him and the Ravens brass are expecting more of the same from him this year. The OL was very solid last year and should have another solid year.
Defensively the Ravens ranked 6th in points allowed (18.9 ppg), 8th in yards allowed (336.9 ypg), 23rd vs the pass (248.7 ypg) and 4th vs the run (88.2 ypg). The Ravens defense was very good last year, but now they will attempt to duplicate that without Haloti Ngata, who is off to Detroit. Jimmy Jennigan is in his second year and will step into Ngata's spot. Still that is a down grade. The Ravens did use their 3rd and 4th picks in the draft on Carl Davis and Da'Zatius Smith, plus they added DE Casey Walker in free agency. Still this unit is down overall. The LB corps is led by Elvis Dumervile (19 sacks last year) and Terrell Suggs and they are two of the fiercest pass rushers in the leage. This unit does need to replace Parnell McPhee, but this was a very deep LB corps last year that I don't feel they will miss a beat. The secondary had many injury issues and it showed by the fact that they were 23rd vs the pass. This year they will have back Jimmy Smith, who was one of their better pass defender before getting injured. Ladarius Webb is also back but he has had back problems of late so how much they get out of him is unknown. They have added DB Tray walker with a fourth round pick and Kendrick Lewis, who has the same skill set as the departed Darian Stewart. If they stay healthy this has the makings of a solid secondary. This is a solid defense again, but I do see them taking a step back this year.
The Ravens always seem to be a dangerous team and this year it looks to be no different. The Ravens will again be a potent offensive team, but they will be going through new schemes with Trestman on board and it may take a few games for them to get rolling. Still they will put points on the board with a very strong passing game ad a better than average running game. Having a solid OL is also a plus. The Defense is solid again, but it is aging and they don't have a lot of depth on the line and in the secondary, plus they have suffered big losses with Ngata and McPhee both departing. The secondary staying healthy is a must or they will be involved in many high scoring games this year. I do expect the defense to take a step back. This is still a very good team and the division isn't all that tough, so I expect them to be in the mix for the North Title all season long. Their win total is set at 9 and in looking over their schedule that's about all the win I see and if their aging defense takes two steps back then they probably won't make the 9. Still I will call for them to win the North with a 9-7 record.
Info Gathered From Pro Football Weekly & Athlon Sports
2015 Baltimore Ravens 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
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College Football Betting Pick: Utah vs Michigan
Jim Harbaugh is worth six points to Michigan according to the recently released Golden Nugget NCAA Football odds, but pro bettors Steve Fezzik and Scott Spreitzer think fans are expecting way too much way too soon for the new Wolverines head coach. In this 9/3/2015 match up, the guys think the Utes are on the way up, recruiting top Pac-12 talent, while Harbaugh and company will be struggling to find their stride this early in the season.