The Ravens haven’t carried out a sport since early January, nonetheless with the discharge of the NFL’s 2023 schedule Thursday, hope springs eternal in Baltimore.
The Ravens, searching for to return to the postseason for the second straight season and get a full season with the newly signed Lamar Jackson beneath coronary heart, will open their slate at home in opposition to the Houston Texans on Sept. 10 sooner than touring to face the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals.
4 months from the Ravens’ season opener, 2023 predictions are just about fully speculative. However anyone’s acquired to make them. Right here’s what Baltimore Solar reporters Brian Wacker and Childs Walker, columnist Mike Preston and editor Tim Schwartz have to say:
Which sport are you most making an attempt forward to?
Wacker: Final 12 months’s Week 2 sport in opposition to the Miami Dolphins had over 1,000 yards of offense and 80 full elements between the two teams, along with an epic fourth-quarter collapse by the Ravens, who misplaced 42-38. This season, the two meet as soon as extra at M&T Financial institution Stadium, nonetheless inside the penultimate sport of the frequent season in a showdown that might have principal playoff implications for one or every teams. If every quarterbacks are healthful, this would possibly one different high-scoring affair, even with Miami’s addition of All-Professional cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Preston: The Bengals have acquired the earlier two AFC North titles, in order that they’re the workers to beat, notably since they knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs ultimate 12 months. The Bengals have upgraded their offensive line, so it’ll be barometer when Cincinnati hosts the Ravens in Week 2 at Paycor Stadium. Till confirmed in another case, the freeway to the AFC North title goes by way of Cincinnati.
Walker: The reply is maybe the Week 16 sport in opposition to the 49ers if it was not on Christmas night. However the good fascination with this workers will most likely be coordinator Todd Monken’s new offense, with Jackson throwing to most likely probably the most gifted set of targets he’s ever had. That unit will face a extreme examine just about correct out of the chute with a Week 2 journey to Cincinnati. Early-season video video games don’t come far more intriguing than that one.
Schwartz: The Week 2 sport in opposition to the Bengals will inform us relatively so much regarding the pecking order of the AFC North. However I’m looking at Week 7 in opposition to the Detroit Lions. The Oct. 22 sport is regarding the time of 12 months that the league separates among the many contenders from pretenders, and if the Lions are as legit as some analysts suppose they’re, that might kind as a lot as be a fulfilling sport to take a look at. Each teams have comparatively simple schedules to that point, too, so the info on paper could make this the game of the week (hello there, flex schedule).
Who’s the most effective workers on the Ravens’ schedule?
Wacker: The 49ers went 13-4 ultimate season, acquired to the NFC championship and can most likely be contenders as soon as extra this season. Their safety is elite and they also’ll have a full season of shock star quarterback Brock Purdy and do-everything working once more Christian McCaffrey.
Preston: The 49ers appear to be most likely probably the most balanced. They’ve some good weapons on offense and San Francisco might have the most effective safety inside the NFL. The 49ers fly to the soccer, and they also get the Ravens at home on Christmas night. Plus, the Ravens play Jacksonville the week sooner than. It is going to most likely be examine to see if the Ravens are playoff ready.
Walker: The 49ers probably have the most effective all-around roster. The Bengals have the most effective quarterback in Joe Burrow. So, slight nod to the reigning kings of the AFC North.
Schwartz: The 49ers are loaded. The Bengals are loaded. The Chargers have to be increased. The Seahawks have to be an NFC contender. The Dolphins are nonetheless scary. However let’s be reliable … numerous the NFL’s elite acquired’t face the Ravens this 12 months.
Which opponent with a shedding doc ultimate 12 months (Houston, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Tennessee, Arizona, Los Angeles Rams) must the Ravens fear most?
Brian Wacker: The Ravens are 35-13 all-time in opposition to the Browns, nonetheless Cleveland has acquired six of the earlier 10, along with the earlier two in Cleveland. They’ll also have a full season from quarterback Deshaun Watson, who ultimate 12 months was suspended for 11 video video games, paid a $5 million high-quality and underwent expert evaluation and remedy as part of a settlement with the NFL after he was sued by higher than two dozen girls for sexual harassment and assault all through massages.
Preston: It’s positively Cleveland. The Browns could have quarterback Deshaun Watson for all of the season and they also have on a regular basis had a strong working sport. Many of the reverse teams could have quarterbacks who’re unproven, nonetheless the Browns usually play the Ravens highly effective. Plus, it’s an AFC North sport. I like what the Browns have on their inside strains, so it’ll be a bodily sport. Houston, Indy, Arizona and even the Rams are in a rebuilding stage nonetheless it’ll be fascinating to see how the Titans play Baltimore in England. The ultimate time the Ravens traveled overseas they bombed in opposition to Jacksonville in London’s Wembley Stadium, 44-7, in 2017. Cleveland, though, presents the toughest drawback.
Walker: Worry? None of them. The Titans nonetheless have fangs, and the Ravens ought to overcome dispiriting recollections of their ultimate journey to London. However the Browns are the logical reply if Watson can come wherever close to his peak sort from Houston. They nonetheless have the front-line experience to make a playoff push.
Schwartz: With Watson having a regular offseason and preseason, it have to be the Browns. However a healthful Matthew Stafford must make the Rams nearer to a contender inside the NFC. However the Ravens acquired’t fear any of those teams, notably Houston and Indianapolis, merely based totally on schedule. Getting rookie quarterbacks in Weeks 1 and three is music to John Harbaugh’s ears.
Will the entire journey (25,422 miles) be a component on the end of the season?
Wacker: These guys aren’t sitting in heart seats in coach. The higher downside for the Ravens than how far they’ll journey is who they’ll play inside the second half of the season with 4 prime-time video video games in six weeks, along with highly effective matchups on the Los Angeles Chargers, on the Jacksonville Jaguars and on the 49ers on Christmas night sooner than ending the season at home in opposition to the rival Steelers.
Preston: It really doesn’t make a distinction. Schedules are completed upfront and every workers has to journey to the West Coast lastly. Final 12 months, the Ravens acquired a break participating in New England on the freeway along with the Giants and Jets in New York. The furthest sport was participating within the Saints in New Orleans, so there aren’t any complaints proper right here. It’s merely their 12 months to play teams inside the NFC West, so address it. It’s what it’s, so the journey can’t be used as an excuse.
Walker: They don’t have prolonged journeys sandwiched throughout the London sport. The Week 13 bye will help, splitting up their ultimate two journeys to the West Coast. And so they’ll find yourself with two home video video games. So no, it acquired’t be an infinite difficulty in the long term.
Schwartz: It’s the NFL, correct? They have to be high-quality. However there are on a regular basis questions on Jackson’s routine and preparation, so there might presumably be some concern about that with a complete lot of journey.
What’s your way-too-early prediction on the Ravens’ doc?
Wacker: There’s every motive to think about the Ravens ought to start the season 8-2. Then the schedule will get highly effective. Nonetheless, given solely a mildly powerful complete schedule, a healthful Jackson, the additions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers, and being very good on safety, the offensive line and explicit teams, 12-5 feels merely attainable.
Preston: 11-6. All of it comes proper right down to if Jackson can hold healthful for all of the season. Once more.
Schwartz: I’ll say 12-5. Means-too-early prediction? They lose to the Bengals (Week 2), Steelers (Week 5), Lions (Week 7), Chargers (Week 12) and 49ers (Week 16). Optimism!