Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 7/14/14
With the NFL, there’s always a demand for discussion. In America, the NFL slaughters everything, while all other leagues are merely a niche sport. Even college football, which clearly comes in second, is a very distant second. Anyway, let’s get this party started. We continue the never too early season preview series with the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore Ravens Overview: If you don’t find the Ravens to be exciting, I can’t say I blame you. No other NFL franchise defines winning yet boring more than Baltimore. They embodied the “defense wins championships” cliche before it was cool. Take that Seattle Seahawks! and given the moves Ozzie Newsome made this past offseason, the bar has been raised. At least, as long as their OL augmentations come to fruition. That’s so Ravens to be in the divisional round or beyond. And with the offseason that B-More had, it’s Super Bowl or bust now. Then again, success should be defined in such a manner. “Crab cakes and football, that’s what Maryland does.” Baltimore Ravens Offense: You got what you expected from Baltimore in the offseason: they saved money, spent reasonably, and plugged holes. Like lots of horrifying, violent deaths on an episode of “The Wire,” you get what you tune in for. They made all their additions via free agency on this side of the ball. While making all their value-adds via the draft on the defensive side of the ball. What’s the net gain? Depends on what the Offensive Line does. Joe Flacco is not elite, he does not deserve a $120 million contract. But again, not his fault. His line is to blocking what Rodney Dangerfield’s character in “Caddyshack” was to fashion sense. Here’s a video featuring some AFC North players to watch for your fantasy team: The Ravens ranked 31st in the league in yards per carry and 30th in rushing. No wonder he through a career high 22 interceptions. Let’s see if the zone blocking schemes of new O Coordinator Gary Kubiak will make a difference. Can’t hurt! ? Baltimore Ravens Defense: The Ravens were pretty solid when you consider that they had to adjust to life without both Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. Now they have to cope with yet another year of free agency losses and key players aging. I do love the C.J. Mosley draft choice, but I hate the Timmy Jernigan pick. Overall, I think their draft was okay, but not even close to being as good as everyone else made it out to be. Arthur Brown and Courtney Upshaw will need to step up and help Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. Baltimore Ravens Special Teams/Odds and Ends: The Ravens are solid all up and down on special teams, from the long snapper to the return specialists to the punting and kicking Baltimore Ravens Bottom Line: 11-5 to 9-7 is the call here. This division is loaded. Top to bottom it’s the strongest. Not sure anyone will be better than 11-5, but I can’t see anyone being worse than 6-10 either. If Cincinnati can get better, more consistent play out of the QB position they could win the division. But I doubt that will happen. Baltimore Ravens Power ranking 14. Days until first NFL Sunday: 57, training camp opens in 14 days. Never too early season preview series: Chicago Bears Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers  Minnesota Vikings San Diego Chargers Oakland Raiders  Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs New Orleans Saints Tampa Bay Buccaneers Atlanta Falcons Carolina Panthers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Tennessee Titans Cleveland Browns Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports and Yahoo! The Postgame. He’s been a guest on news talk shows all across the world. Banks has been featured in numerous media outlets including NFL.com, Forbes, Bleacher Report, Deadspin, ESPN, NBC, the History Channel and more. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)     Follow paulmbanks The post Baltimore Ravens: offseason greatly raises expectations appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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