The Baltimore Ravens look to improve on a forgettable 2016, in which they missed the playoffs for a second straight season. In a year riddled with injuries on both sides of the ball, the Baltimore Ravens 2017 season seems to be following last season’s trend, as injuries to key positions plagued the Ravens despite going 4-0 in the preseason.
The whispers of Joe Flacco taking too much money became louder as the offseason started. With the running back situation a question mark for most of the season and Steve Smith retiring after 16 years in the league, Baltimore needed to find some weapons for Flacco to work with. Enter stage left, Ozzie Newsome; the Ravens were able to sign Danny Woodhead and Jeremy Maclin. They also were able to add some solid, young defensive players via the draft in April. Going into August, the Baltimore Ravens 2017 season looked promising for fans.
As training camp rolled around, one could use the ‘dropping like flies’ expression for this team; before even the first preseason game, seven Ravens, including Joe Flacco, went down with injuries.
How will 2017 shake for the flock? With new weapons on offense and a top-5 caliber defense one year older, that could be enough to just barely squeeze into the post season. Here is a simulated break down of the Baltimore Ravens 2017 season:
All eyes on Cincinnati. pic.twitter.com/rFZDA1AWYl
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 3, 2017
Week 1 (9/10) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Historically, the Ravens have had a tough time in Cincinnati playing at Paul Brown Stadium; they have lost five straight games there. Expect a close contest though, Flacco will just be getting his feet wet after coming off an injury from training camp. It will come down to who wins the turnover battle.
Result: Loss, 20-17
Week 2 (9/17) vs Cleveland Browns
The Ravens should get their wings back in this one; first game of the season at home and against a team that ranked in the bottom five in total offense last year. Flacco will get acquainted with his new targets and the defense should have a field day with the Browns quarterback.
Result: Win, 28-7
Week 3 (9/24) vs Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
The flock makes its way across the pond in a matchup with the Jaguars. They have plenty of young talent but so many question marks surround the team, especially at the quarterback position. Ravens should take this one pretty easily.
Result: Win, 31-10
Week 4 (10/1) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Coming off a win in London, the flock returns home to its most hated division rival. This will be the first time these teams face each other since Christmas day last year, a Christmas Ravens fans dread to even think about. As usual, this will be a tight game that will come down to the final possessions, and maybe even a kick.
Result: Win, 23-21
Week 5 (10/8) @ Oakland Raiders
A trip to the Black Hole is never easy, especially against a Raiders team that has not looked this good in a few decades. The past couple of matchups have been close and have come down to mistakes in the secondary late in the game. The offensive weapons will be just too much.
Result: Loss, 24-14
Week 6 (10/15) vs Chicago Bears
The Bears lost their top wide receiver and are putting out an inexperienced quarterback. The Ravens defense has always feasted on inexperienced or rookie quarterbacks; this should be no different.
Result: Win, 21-10
Week 7 (10/22) @ Minnesota Vikings
In a battle of stout defenses, neither offense can really get a decent drive going. It will come down to field position and who will be able to capitalize on turnovers.
Result: Loss, 13-10
Week 8 (10/26) vs Miami Dolphins
Fantasy Alert: Jeremy Maclin; expect to him have a big game against a lackluster Miami secondary in this Thursday night matchup. The only threat to the Ravens is the running back, but Baltimore was top five in run defense last year.
Result: Win, 28-14
Week 9 (11/5) @ Tennessee Titans
The Titans are emerging as a team that is ready to take the next step in the AFC. A really solid offensive line with a terrific backfield will give Baltimore problems for most of the game, thus ending the three game win streak.
Result: Loss, 27-17
Week 10 Bye
Week 11 (11/19) @ Green Bay Packers
Coming off the bye week, the Ravens will go against the league’s most dangerous offense in what might be cold tundra in Wisconsin. Aaron Rodgers knows how to let it fly even in the worst conditions; it will be tough for Flacco and the offense to get something going.
Result: Loss, 28-13
Week 12 (11/27) vs Houston Texans
A rare Monday night showdown in Baltimore should give the flock an extra boost against this tough defensive front. The Texans’ run game should struggle with the Ravens front seven, which means it will be up to the young secondary to make plays when it counts.
Result: Win, 21-17
Week 13 (12/3) vs Detroit Lions
Believe it or not, Joe Flacco might even have a big fantasy day in this matchup against the Lions. Woodhead, Maclin and Breshard Perriman all have their moments and the defense makes it difficult for Stafford in Raven territory.
Result: Win, 24-10
Week 14 (12/10) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Playing in Pittsburgh has always been a thorn in the Ravens’ side. By this time, Big Ben will be in playoff mode putting on a clinic in this crucial, late divisional matchup. Ravens will keep them honest but there will be too much talent on the other side of the field.
Result: Loss, 31-17
Week 15 (12/17) @ Cleveland Browns
At this point, the urgency of securing a playoff spot will be apparent for the Ravens. Flacco will flip the switch to Playoff Flacco and find a way to leave Cleveland with a W.
Result: Win, 24-14
Week 16 (12/23) vs Indianapolis Colts
Let’s just go ahead and assume that Andrew Luck will be back on the field and will have gotten his legs back under him by Week 16. Without him, this might as well have been a rout for the Ravens, but because he’s back, he’s able to pick apart this tough defense. In a tight AFC playoff race, the Ravens drop their only home game of the season.
Result: Loss, 23-21
Week 17 (12/31) vs Cincinnati Bengals
It’s gut check time: this New Year’s Eve showdown will most likely be for a Wild Card spot in the AFC. It will be a physical, back and forth game that will come down to who has the ball last. After dropping Week 1, the Ravens get their revenge and narrowly receive a playoff berth.
Result: Win, 27-24
2017 Season Results: 9-7
Depending on how the rest of the AFC finishes out, the Ravens should just barely get into the playoffs as the #5 or #6 position in the wild card. They will face a tough foe in the wild card because of the low seed, and it will be up to Flacco to show that elite level he is capable of playing at to see a deep run in the playoffs.