Friday, July 29, 2016

BALTIMORE RAVENS - 2016 Season Preview

BALTIMORE  RAVENS                                                                             
2015 Record: 5-11-0

Head Coach: John Harbaugh

New Faces for 2016 - Eric Weddle (DB), Mike Wallace (WR), Benjamin Watson (TE)

OFFENSE: Joe Flacco is returning in 2016 after injuries cut short last season for the veteran quarterback. Flacco threw for 2,791 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions before going down for the season in November. Ryan Mallett (566 yards passing with two TD and two INT) is the backup.
Running backs include Justin Forsett and Javorius Allen. Forsett was limited to just 151 carries last year after a huge 2014 season. He ran for 641 yards in 2015 for a 4.2 average with just two touchdowns. Allen gained 514 yards (3.8 ypc) and also had 45 receptions out of the backfield.
Kamar Aiken led the team with 75 receptions a year ago (944 yards with five TD) and along with Mike Wallace (39, 473, two TD in Minnesota) and Steve Smith (who decided against retiring after a devastating knee injury last year) forms the wide receiving corps. Smith caught 46 passes for 670 yards and had three TD before going down.
Benjamin Watson (74, 825 yards and six TD) is the new tight end after a big season with the Saints last year.

DEFENSE:  The Ravens will look to go with the 3-4 set and have Brandon Williams at nose tackle with Tim Jernigan and Lawrence Guy playing the end spots. The linebackers will likely be C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr on the inside with veterans Elvis Dumervil (six QB sacks) and Terrell Suggs manning the outside. Suggs played just one game in 2015 and is looking for a big bounce back season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon for the second time.
The secondary features Shareece Wright and Jimmy Smith (three INT, one for a TD) at the corner spots while Lardarius Webb and free agent signee Eric Weddle (from San Diego) will play the safety positions.

OUTLOOK: The Ravens play in the always tough AFC North where Pittsburgh and Cincinnati reside and both of those teams made the playoffs last season. If the Ravens want to contend for the division title or even a wild card spot, they have to stay healthy.
Too many injuries crippled their 2015 season and Head Coach John Harbaugh had to make due with what talent was on hand with so many key players on the sidelines.
Flacco needs to get back some of the magic he displayed in past seasons (2012, 2014) if this team is to be taken serious in the AFC this year. The running game needs a boost as well so the spotlight will be on Forsett.
If they can avoid serious injuries to key people in 2016 and the defense resembles past units, the Baltimore Ravens can contend for a playoff spot. A lot has to go right for them to have that happen.

Fearless forecast -  8-8 this year

Week 1 - vs. Buffalo
Week 2 - at Cleveland
Week 3 - at Jacksonville
Week 4 - vs. Oakland
Week 5 - vs. Washington
Week 6 - at NY Giants
Week 7 - at NY Jets
Week 8 - BYE
Week 9 - vs. Pittsburgh
Week 10 - vs. Cleveland
Week 11 - at Dallas
Week 12 - vs. Cincinnati
Week 13 - vs. Miami
Week 14 - at New England
Week 15 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 16 - at Pittsburgh
Week 17 - at Cincinnati 

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