2021 Baltimore Ravens Predictions with Odds to Win Super Bowl
When the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson with the last pick of the first round in 2018, they were hoping that he would someday take over for Joe Flacco and lead them to the promised land. To say Jackson hasn’t delivered would be disrespecting what he’s done since entering the league. Yes, it’s true, he hasn’t gotten the Ravens to the Super Bowl, but his play alone is electric. And if he can take the next step and become a great passer, the Ravens will have their appearance in the Super Bowl quicker than they could imagine. The Ravens have won the AFC North twice in the three years with Jackson in charge but have not gotten past the AFC Divisional Round. They came up against a solid Buffalo team last year, and the year prior they simply couldn’t stop Derrick Henry from running all over them. They are close, and this year might very well be their year.
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The Ravens will open the regular season on September 13 in Las Vegas against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. From there, the Ravens return home to take on the Chiefs and then hit the road again for two straight road games in Detroit and Denver, respectively. That’s a ton of travel for the first four weeks of the season, and the Ravens will need to at least go 2-2 to be happy. From there, they have four straight home games from Week 5 to Week 9 with a bye week scheduled for Week 8. As of writing this, the Ravens are +1100 to win the Super Bowl, +550 to win the AFC and +115 to win the AFC North.
Let’s take a look at what to expect from each unit heading into this season.
Key Players: Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, Marquise Brown
There was a lot of doubt surrounding the ability of Lamar Jackson to make an impact in the NFL as a quarterback, but his MVP trophy has quickly shut up all of his doubters and haters. Jackson is one of the most electric players in the game today as he’s got speed and vision like a word-class running back and he’s got the arm strength of a prototypical pocket passer. The only problem with Jackson is that he’s a little erratic at times with his accuracy, and that has cost his team some ball games. Jackson threw for 2,757 yards last season with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His completion percentage was 64.4, which was down from the year (66.3) and up from his first year (58.2). Jackson needs to protect the ball better as he had five fumbles last year despite rushing for 1,005 yards and seven touchdowns. If he can keep his completion percentage up and limit the INT’s and fumbles, the Ravens could be in for a very deep playoff run.
As for J.K Dobbins, the Ohio State product is now the feature back in the Ravens backfield despite what John Harbaugh wants to say. He’s the most talented back of the bunch, and he really came on late in the season to help push his team over the hump. Dobbins rushed for 805 yards on 134 carries in 15 games. He scored nine touchdowns and fumbled just twice. If he’s not getting the bulk of the carries out of the backfield, I’m not entirely sure what Harbaugh is seeing or even thinking for that matter.
As for the receiving corps, Marquise Brown is the go-to receive if you don’t include the tight-ends, Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. “Hollywood” Brown, as he’s known, caught 58 balls for 769 years and eight touchdowns last year. Those are decent enough stats for a receiver on a team that is run-first. He’ll have help from the oft-injured Sammy Watkins and the team’s first-round draft pick, Rashod Bateman out of Minnesota.
Defense & Special Teams
Key Players: Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Calais Campbell
Defensively, the Ravens will once again be stout. Last season, the Ravens ranked second in terms of points allowed per game at 18.9 and eighth against the run, giving up 108.8 yards per game. Their passing defense was just as good, giving up just 226 yards per game which had them ranked sixth. So, what was the issue? Well, the defense did its job, but the offense faltered. If the defense can maintain their level of dominance and the offense can take a step forward in terms of production, the Ravens could go a long way this year.
As far as special teams go, Justin Tucker will once again be kicking field goals and extra points this year, and he’s just about as automatic as you can find in the NFL.
The Ravens should have had far more success than they’ve had over the last three seasons. The problem is they play in the AFC and they are clearly behind the Kansas City Chiefs in terms of being the best football team in the conference. The Ravens will be once again in the hunt for the AFC North as the division is poor this year outside of Cleveland, and so a home playoff date or two could very well be in the cards. I believe the Ravens can take another step forward on offense. And if they do, they will be a very dangerous team come playoff time. They are offering up +1100 for a Super Bowl win, and I think that has plenty of potential.
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