FanSided has released their power rankings in advance of the 2015 NFL season and ranked the Baltimore Ravens as the No. 9 team heading into their Week 1 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
In the piece written by Matt Verderame, he predicted the Ravens to finish 10-6 and win the AFC North. The first two sentences written about the Ravens could not have been worded anymore perfectly:
"Every year, people somehow manage to overlook the Baltimore Ravens. Every year, those people are reminded just how good this organization is."
All summer long we have been talking about how Ozzie Newsome won the offseason. While opposing teams overpaid for the likes of Torrey Smith, Pernell McPhee and Owen Daniels, Baltimore drafted replacements who are not only cheaper, but could be better talents in the long run. They found some key players at a discount price in Kyle Arrington and Kendrick Lewis. They have a new offensive coordinator in Marc Trestman and an elite quarterback – yeah, I said it – in Joe Flacco running the show. As long as Joe Cool is in charge, the Ravens are always in the mix. But only the ninth best in the league?
The teams ranked ahead of the Ravens (in order from worst to first) are the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. Personally, I have a problem with the Cowboys, Chiefs and Cardinals being ranked ahead of the Ravens. None of those teams have shown the consistency that the Ravens are known for and could all miss the playoffs. The Ravens and the other five teams listed are perennial playoff teams with realistic chances of winning it all.
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The Ravens have questions on both sides of the ball, just like any other team. They are young at many of the skill positions on offense with several rookies on the roster. The middle of the defense that once featured All-Pros in Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed is now manned by Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley and the duo of Lewis and Will Hill. Are the Ravens being too reliant on the youngsters on the roster? We will find out this season. Sure, they have flaws, but there is a reason why most in the national media believes Baltimore is the team to beat.
The Ravens are expected to win the AFC North because they have the least amount of issues. The Cleveland Browns and quarterbacks just don’t work well together. The Cincinnati Bengals have paid Andy Dalton as if he was a franchise quarterback, but is he really capable of taking them to the promise land? The Pittsburgh Steelers are loaded on offense, but there are doubts on the defensive side of the ball. The Ravens are the most balanced team in the division and what’s why they’re not only favorites to win the North, but the entire AFC.
While they will be favorite at the end of the season, they must take care of what is in front of them first. The Ravens must play better than they did the last time they headed to Denver. While they are inside FanSided’s top-10 right now, a loss this week will drop them into the early teens. If it’s another blowout like the start of the 2013 season, they could find themselves in the back half of the league.
Fortunately, a matchup against the Oakland Raiders is due up in Week 2. For a breakdown of the Ravens 2015 schedule, click here.
Stay with us at The Baltimore Wire as we will release our staff predictions later this week on the Ravens record and outcome for the 2015 season, in addition to our constant analysis.
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