The Baltimore Ravens have been getting unprecedented praise as a team and as a roster. From head coach John Harbaugh being ranked as one of the best coaches currently to Joe Flacco getting some love and the defense being predicted to be a top-5 defense across the board, we will take a look at the 10 strengths that make the 2015 Ravens the team to beat.
The Ravens have continuity by having quarterback Joe Flacco return for another year and having him yet to miss a game. A year after his best season as a pro to go with a new offensive coordinator that has been previously called a "quarterback whisperer". Yet probably the most important factor is the addition of Matt Schaub. While he hasn't looked all that great so far in practice, he is a Pro Bowl quarterback with experience in this system. If Joe Flacco were to miss a game or two this season, the Ravens would still be able to use a similar gameplan and continue forward. It's those small hiccups that can break teams if they aren't prepared.
Continuity on the offensive line
The entire offensive line is getting healthy and will make a return. 2014 saw the Ravens' offensive line make a case for being the best in the NFL, and they weren't even completely healthy. With yet another year in the same scheme, with the same players next to each other, this line should improve even more on Forsett's 5.4 yard per carry average and Flacco's 19 sacks.
The Ravens have some older members as the named starters but have a long list of young prospects either waiting in the wings and learning or taking snaps away from the older crowd. The slow involvement of these younger players means that the Ravens get a chance to really gauge what they have on-hand and get to let them learn the game from some of the best in the business. At wide receiver, players like Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken can take the next step this year and supplant themselves as starting options. On defense, the Ravens have a wealth of young corners ready to take a step forward as well as guys on the defensive line and pass rushers. That type of depth will set this team up for years to come.
Excellent special teams
The Ravens retained punter Sam Koch this offseason with a good sized deal. Koch has been a part of the Ravens' field position battle plan for quite a while and keeping him allows them to continue playing that game at the highest levels against tough competition. Not to mention that Koch is Tucker's favorite holder. Justin Tucker also returns for another year and can make the case for a record breaking kicker contract if he continues the way that he has throughout his career.
The Ravens were second in the league last season with 49 sacks. The ability to get after the quarterback benefited the Ravens secondary so much last season despite the secondary utilizing practice squad players instead of the typical starters due to injury. With the secondary returning healthy and hopefully with enough depth, the pass rush should be able to raise the bar even higher while sparking off a string of interceptions from poorly thrown passes that the defenders can field. If the pass rush combo of Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, along with the young players, can continue like they had last season, this could be a nasty and special defense full of splash plays.