Will the Ravens make the playoffs yet again? It is possible but they will have to fight through a tough schedule.
Opening the season on the road is tough. Opening against the Broncos is even tougher. Denver, and specifically Rahim Moore have spent the entire offseason wondering what could have been. Had Moore not made that egregious error, the Ravens would not have played in the Super Bowl.
Sadly, the Ravens will lose to Denver and return to Baltimore to face Cleveland. Cleveland is the first of a six game stretch that ends with the bye week. The Texans, Bills (away), Dolphins (away), Packers, and Steelers (away) also make up the Ravens opponents in weeks two through seven. I see the Ravens going 4-2 against these teams which includes Cleveland. The Texans, Bills, and Dolphins should all be wins while the Ravens will lose to the Packers and Steelers.
Losing to the Packers at home isn’t going to be a popular opinion. Aaron Rodgers has too many weapons and the Ravens won’t have an answer for blocking Clay Matthews. The Ravens will keep it close but a loss will bring their record to 4-2. Pittsburgh will hand the Ravens a second straight loss in week seven, a rare occurrence in the John Harbaugh era. Even though the Ravens have had the Steelers number of late, winning four straight in Pittsburgh is almost impossible. The loss in Pittsburgh will make the Ravens 4-3 going into the bye week.
Out of the bye week, the schedule is very favorable. The Browns will host the Ravens on Nov. 3 in what should be an easy win for the Ravens. Cleveland has played well against the Ravens at home. But the Ravens are coming off a bye week and the quarterback situation in Cleveland could be up in the air should Brandon Weeden struggle early in the season.
The Browns, Bengals, daaaaa Bears (away), Jets, Steelers, Vikings, Lions (away), Patriots, and Bengals (away) close out the season. Cleveland and Cincinnati will be two straight wins but I see a loss in Chicago. The Bears defense is too good at creating turnovers and Baltimore has many young and inexperienced receivers. Don’t expect a bad game but a late turnover will doom the Ravens.
Baltimore will then go on a three game winning streak against the Jets, Steelers, and Vikings. The Jets aren’t a real football team, the Steelers won’t beat the Ravens twice, and the Vikings rely too much on Adrian Peterson.
Following the three game winning streak, the Lions and Bengals will hand the Ravens their fifth and sixth loss of the year to bring their final record to 10-6. New England awaits in week 16 and will lose in Baltimore for the second straight season.
Ten wins and six losses is a fair record. Every opponent will give the Ravens all they can handle but the Ravens will be able to handle the added pressure of defending their Super Bowl title. Don’t expect another Super Bowl title though. Baltimore won’t make it past the divisional round.