In this series of articles here on the Last Word On Sports, we will be breaking down each NFL division starting every Monday, preparing for the upcoming 2018 NFL Season. We will highlight strengths and weaknesses of each team and make our best analysis and predictions for this upcoming season. Let’s continue with the AFC North Breakdown.
2018 NFL Breakdown: Baltimore Ravens : 10 – 6
The Baltimore Ravens defense has always been a strength for them. The Ravens build their teams through their defense year in and year out. The Ravens should have another top defense in the league this season which will carry them throughout the season.
Baltimore returns most of their defense which was ranked top 5 last season and should have another stellar year. The Ravens also upgraded their receiving core which was much needed with the additions of Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown. The receiving core for the Ravens last season was absolutely horrible with the Ravens ranking 29th in the league in passing yards per game with 189. Between the inconsistencies and the lack of moving the ball at all on offense caused their defense to have to be sensational.
The Baltimore Ravens were one of the worst offensives in the league last season. They could not get anything going in the passing game which caused them to rely heavily on their defense. The Ravens ranked in the bottom portion of passing yards per game while they ranked in the top 15 for rushing yards per game because they had to get their rushing game going. The Ravens did go out and address the offense by adding some new receivers but they didn’t add any big name guys. It will be interesting to see if Joe Flacco can gain chemistry with these guys. The offense may be the downfall again this season for the Ravens which could cause them to miss the playoffs.
Team Most Valuable Player : LB Terrell Suggs
Terrell Suggs is by far the leader, veteran, and the heart and soul on this team. Suggs has been on the Ravens for the 15 seasons now. Suggs has had an amazing career and should be a hall of famer when its all said and done. Suggs is the engine for this defense and they go as he goes which will be key this season. If Terrell can put up the same numbers he did last season and accompany that with the veteran leadership then this defense can be a problem.
Team Sleeper : QB Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson was the biggest question mark of the first round because on paper he was one of the best QB’s in the draft but there was questions about his style of play. Lamar Jackson reminds me of Michael Vick and how he can change the game. Lamar Jackson had back to back years with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards which shows you how dynamic this kid can be. He can change the game in so many different ways with his legs or his arms. Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy 2 years ago with a sensational season at Louisville. If Flacco has a rough start to the season or the Ravens are out of the playoff race late in the year look out for Lamar Jackson.
Reason for Prediction
The reason for my 10 – 6 prediction for the Baltimore Ravens. The Baltimore Ravens have 2 tough stretches in their season with week 6 – 9 when they play the Titans, Saints, Panthers, and Steelers which could make or break their season before the bye week. They also have a stretch weeks 12 , 13 , and 14 when they play the Raiders, Falcons, and Chiefs with two of them on the road. The Ravens will need to rely heavily on their defense to carry them through their road games unless their offense can click.
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images