2017 Baltimore Ravens Home Schedule Odds with Expert Picks and Predictions
While I'm not Peter King or Jay Glazer, I consider myself very well-informed when it comes to the NFL each season. Hey, I read Peter King and Jay Glazer (and many others)! But I'll just be honest here in saying I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the 2017 Baltimore Ravens largely because no team has been more gutted by injuries thus far (Miami is in the conversation too).
I'm assuming Joe Flacco will be ready for the season, and the Ravens say he will, but he has been dealing with a fairly serious back injury suffered while lifting weights, hasn't been practicing and likely won't play in a preseason game. Flacco is probably one of the most overpaid players in football as he carries a $24.55 million cap charge in 2017. That increases to $24.75 million in 2018, $26.5 million in 2019, $28.25 million in 2020 and then $24.25 million in 2021. Flacco is still living off that one Super Bowl run and hasn't been close to the same guy; since being the SB MVP, Flacco has an 82.5 passer rating, which ranks 33rd in the NFL in that span. He's still better than backup Ryan Mallett, though. Not signing Colin Kaepernick is a story for another day.
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Meanwhile, cornerback Tavon Young, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore, running back Kenneth Dixon and guard Nico Siragusa all have suffered season-ending injuries. John Urschel, who was competing for the starting center job, retired before the first practice of training camp. Receiver Breshad Perriman, the team's 2015 first-round pick, is hurting again. He missed all of his rookie season and has been dealing with a hamstring problem in camp that will keep him out of preseason games most likely. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey, the club's first-round pick this year, has also been limited with an undisclosed injury.
The Ravens should have a good offensive line, even with the loss of Sirag usa and Urschel because left tackle Ronnie Staley is one of the best in the business and right guard Marshal Yanda, a six-time Pro Bowl performer, was named the NFL's top offensive lineman in 2016 by Pro Football Focus. The receiving group should be a bit better, presuming Perriman's health, with the free-agent addition of Jeremy Maclin. The defense should be very good as it was last year. No team has a better kicker than Justin Tucker, who might win a handful of games himself. But I don't trust Flacco at all, and the running game looks like a problem (Danny Woodhead a solid addition but more as a receiver). Thus, I believe this will be John Harbaugh's final season as head coach.
Baltimore was 6-2 at home last season, 5-3 against the spread and 3-5 "over/under." The Ravens host four playoff teams in 2017: Pittsburgh, Miami and Houston and Detroit. Four of the team's final six are at home; no back-to-backs there before that. Overall, Baltimore has the ninth-easiest schedule in the NFL with an opponents' combined 2016 winning percentage of .461. BetOnline lists the Ravens' win total at 8.5, with the under a -145 record. I projected a 2-6 road mark and look for 5-3 at home so do lean under. Odds listed for the home team.
Sept. 17 vs. Browns (-9.5): Baltimore opens in Cincinnati and probably loses that one. The Ravens have defeated the Browns in eight of the last nine meetings at M&T Bank Stadium and have beaten six different QBs in that stretch (two twice). It was a 28-7 home win over the Browns on a Thursday in Week 10 last year. Cleveland led 7-6 at the half, but Flacco had three second-half TD passes. Key NFL betting trend: Ravens 9-1 SU but 3-7 ATS in past 10 vs. Browns as at least 7.5-point home favorites.
Oct. 1 vs. Steelers (+1.5): Short week of sorts as the Ravens are in London in Week 3 vs. the Jags but didn't want to take the bye week so early in the season. This always-physical game is sandwiched between Baltimore's two longest road trips. The Ravens beat visiting Pittsburgh 21-14 in Week 9 a season ago. Flacco and Mike Wallace connected on a 95-yard TD pass. It was 21-0 early in the fourth quarter. Key betting trend: Ravens have won and covered four straight as home dog in series.
Oct. 15 vs. Bears (-7): Baltimore off a trip to Oakland the previous Sunday. This seems like a potential letdown game. The Ravens are 2-3 in this series and both wins came at home. Make it 3-3. Key betting trend: Ravens 4-6 ATS in past 10 as home October favorite of at least 7 points.
Oct. 26 vs. Dolphins (-3): Thursday night. Ravens in Minnesota the previous week. For whatever reason, Flacco loves playing Miami. He is 6-0 against the Dolphins, including playoffs, has thrown nine touchdowns and three interceptions for a 109.5 passer rating, his highest against any team he's played more than twice. Baltimore slaughtered the visiting Fins 38-6 last year. Flacco threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns. Key betting trend: Ravens 3-5 ATS in series as a favorite (any location).
Nov. 27 vs. Texans (-3): Monday night, with Baltimore visiting Green Bay in Week 11.The Ravens are 4-0 all-time against the Texans in Baltimore, winning by an average margin of 11 points. It's the team's first home MNF game in five years. Key trend: No total yet but a pretty amazing statistic in that the under has hit in 10 straight Ravens home games vs. the AFC South.
Dec. 3 vs. Lions (-3): The dome Lions generally don't play well in cold weather outdoors. It's a homecoming for a few ex-Ravens on the Lions, including coach Jim Caldwell, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Key betting trend: Ravens 4-2 ATS at home vs. NFC North.
Dec. 23 vs. Colts (-3): Saturday game, with the Ravens off a trip to Cleveland. It's former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano's first trip back to Baltimore since the 2012 playoffs. Key betting trend: Ravens have failed to cover past seven vs. Colts (any location).
Dec. 31 vs. Bengals (TBA): Again, no early Week 17 lines. It's the seventh time in eight seasons these two close vs. one another. The Ravens have picked off Andy Dalton more than any quarterback in the league over the last five seasons (10 in nine games). Baltimore beat the visiting Bengals 19-14 in Week 12 last year behind four Tucker field goals. Key betting trend: Ravens 4-5-1 ATS in past 10 at home in series.
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