Steve Smith’s season was cut short but he’s back with the Ravens, looking to finish his illustrious career on a high note
The 2015 season is a ‘re-do’ for several Ravens players and O-Co Marc Trestman but with so much hinging on the health of veteran starters, it’s tough gauging just how competitive this team will be.
LAST YEAR’S RECORD & 2016 NFL FUTURES
Win-Loss: 5-11 SU and 6-9-1 ATS
Over/Under: 7-9 O/U
Noteworthy: Before 2015 (seven games), Steve Smith Sr. had played in 14-plus games 12 of 13 seasons.
From 2007 to 2014, the Baltimore Ravens averaged 10.3 wins per season and scored an average of 23.6 points per game. They also held opponents to 313 yards per game which ranks third in that era behind only the Pittsburgh Steelers (294) and New York Jets (310). John Harbaugh had it ‘going on’ in the Charm City and the plan for 2015 involved tweaking the offense just enough under new hire Trestman to try and elevate the Ravens above AFC heavyweights, New England and Denver.
Injuries derailed that plan, and it wasn’t pretty; like an accident where you couldn’t help but look. More than half the Ravens’ offensive starters were placed on season ending IR, including QB Joe Flacco (ACL), but he’s recovering well and expected to be the No. 1 at training camp.
Justin Forsett and Buck Allen head the run game and fourth round pick Kenneth Dixon has drawn some attention at OTAs. Breshad Perriman (knee) had a scare in practice but avoided major injury and the hope is that he, Steve Smith (Achilles) and Mike Wallace (Vikings) can help contribute to the passing game.
The Ravens had a good draft, focusing on defense, and the team gets a favorable schedule during the first-half that should help their injured players get back to speed while developing chemistry among the new faces. December poses three tough road games at New England, Pittsburgh and Cinci.
RAVENS BOTTOM LINE: TURNOVER BATTLES
One of Baltimore’s shortcomings last year was in the turnover department, where the team finished with it’s worst margin (-15) since 2007 (-17). Bettors often expect a quick rebound from these teams, perhaps getting some luck back on their side against beatable foes, but laying points has proven to be a risky proposition. Circle the Ravens’ Week 1 game against Buffalo as a possible fade spot for Baltimore. The early line is Ravens -2.5 points.