Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE RAVENS                                          

2014 Record:  10-6-0 (3rd in AFC North)

HEAD COACH: John Harbaugh

New Players in 2015 - CB Kyle Arrington; DB Kendrick Lewis; QB Matt Schaub.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 12th in NFL (364.9 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 8th in NFL (336.9 ypg)

Offense:  Quarterback Joe Flacco (3,986 passing yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions) will be back for his eighth season as the Ravens' starter. Matt Schaub was signed on to be the backup.
The running game got a huge shot in the arm last season when Justin Forsett stepped in for Ray Rice, who had all kind of off-season turmoil and issues. Forsett played huge for Baltimore, going for 1,266 yards (5.4 ypc average) and scored eight touchdowns. He also hauled in 44 receptions for 263 yards. The backup RB is likely to be rookie Javorius Allen (USC).
The wide receiving corps will be led by veteran Steve Smith, who is calling it a career after this season.
Smith led Baltimore with 79 receptions for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns last year. Along with Smith will be rookie Breshad Perriman (Central Florida) and/or Marlon Brown, who had 24 catches for 255 yards in limited action.
The tight end will likely be another rookie, Maxx Williams (Minnesota) after Owen Daniels left for Denver in the off-season. Veteran Dennis Pitta, coming off hip surgery, is hoping to return to the field in the 2015 season.
The offensive line is made up of center Jeremy Zuttah, guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele and tackles Eugene Monroe and Rick Wagner.

Defense:  The strength of the team for many seasons has been the defense and they will have a new man playing the nose tackle spot in 2015 as Brandon Williams take over for Haloti Ngata, who was traded to Detroit. The tackle is Timmy Jernigan (four QB sacks) and the end is Chris Canty. Rookies Carl Davis (Iowa) and Za'Darius Smith (Kentucky) will look to get playing time.
Playing outside linebacker will be All-Pro Terrell Suggs (12 QB sacks) and Elvis Dumevil, who had a whopping 17 sacks while splitting time with Courtney Upshaw. The inside backers are C.J. Mosley (three sacks, two interceptions) and Daryl Smith.
The secondary has Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith playing the corners with Kendrick Lewis and Will Hill playing safety.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 - The Ravens come into the 2015 season feeling very confident despite the fact they will have players with no pro experience playing key positions on offense.
They did battle New England to the wire in the AFC Playoffs last year, and Head Coach John Harbaugh has been very successful in his seven seasons with the team, including the Super Bowl title just three years ago.
No wonder Joe Flacco and company are a confident bunch as they battle with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the AFC North.
As long as Flacco is healthy and protected (he was sacked just 19 times last season), the Ravens can move the football. Add in the running game, led by resurgent Justin Forsett and Baltimore should be pretty potent once again after they averaged just under 26 points per game last season.
Their defense always gives them a chance and this year should be no different as Suggs and Dumervil should once again wreak havoc against opponents.
Look for a 9-7 season as the Ravens battle it out for the AFC North title and another trip to the playoffs. A deep run in the post-season depends on how well Flacco is playing when the chips are down.
Stay tuned.

Week 1 - at Denver Broncos
Week 2 - at Oakland Raiders
Week 3 - vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 4 - at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 5 - vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 6 - at San Francisco 49ers
Week 7 - at Arizona Cardinals
Week 8 - vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 9 - BYE WEEK
Week 10 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 11 - vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 12 - at Cleveland Browns
Week 13 - at Miami Dolphins
Week 14 - vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 15 - vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 16 - vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 17 - at Cincinnati Bengals

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