The Baltimore Ravens didn’t deserve to make the playoffs last season.
The once high-flying Ravens finished the season 8-8 and rightfully so. Baltimore wasn’t even good enough to be mediocre, and that’s being nice. The Ravens had the NFL‘s third-worst red zone offense and simply didn’t measure up to the big boys in the AFC. When Baltimore controlled its own postseason destiny during Week 16, the team got routed by a so-so New England Patriots club and then turned around for a spanking against an average Cincinnati Bengals team.
And now, Baltimore’s fanbase would very much like to know if the Ravens’ passing game will be able to get off the ground in 2014.
Baltimore’s 2014 season won’t be a cakewalk, especially when evaluating the first half. The Ravens open the season playing host to the very team that officially kicked them out of postseason contention last year in the Bengals. Something tells me that Baltimore won’t be feeling very hospitable during the course of the season opener. The Ravens then field the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team they are always super happy to see, and the Carolina Panthers at home before traveling to face the Indianapolis Colts. They then migrate north to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati again in a matter of a few weeks.
The 2014 home stretch gets a little more vanilla with Baltimore’s only problematic games being on the road against the NFC titan New Orleans Saints in a prime-time affair. The Ravens then host the San Diego Chargers before they can conceivably coast along, facing a cast of teams that have been in a rebuilding period for some time.
With signal caller Joe Flacco under center, a strong offensive line, and standout talent and depth flanking the WR corps, the Ravens definitely have game. The problem? With the departure of corner Corey Graham, the Ravens are dangerously thin in the secondary. Restocking that will take time; Baltimore’s defensive backfield projects to have some growing pains this season, and will require grooming and patience from the fanbase.
2014 Prediction: 7-9