Next season, the Ravens defensive front-seven will match up against some of the better offensive lines in the league, including two of the very best.
From owner Steve Biscotti on down, this off season the organization has preached that generating more pressure on the quarterback will be the biggest key to improving the pass defense. The effectiveness the Ravens defensive line and edge rushers have against the offensive lines on their schedule will play a large role in shaping the course of the 2016 regular season.
Who are the best offensive lines the Ravens will face next season?
The Cowboys have the best line in the NFL, bar none. Their left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin all played at an All-Pro level in 2015. Left guard La’el Collins will be working to fulfill his immense potential in his second season. This offensive line is equally effective in run and pass blocking, paving the way for 4.6 yards per carry on the ground while allowing just 33 sacks all of last season.
On paper, the Raiders have the second most talented line in the NFL. Offseason acquisition Kelechi Osemele gives them another dominate run blocker to go along with center Rodney Hudson and elite right guard Gabe Jackson on the interior. Tackles Donald Penn and Austin Howard are also above average performers. Last year, the Raiders averaged 3.9 yards per carry and allowed 33 sacks.
The Bengals have fielded a strong offensive line for several years now. Dependable left tackle Andrew Whitworth is the leader of the group and always gives Terrell Suggs a challenge. Guards Clint Boling and especially Kevin Zeitler are some of the better interior blockers in the league. Center Russell Bodine is susceptible to bull rushes up the middle and right tackle is unsettled after Andre Smith fled in free agency. Even with these two potential weak spots, the Bengals still have one of the better lines in the league with 32 sacks allowed and 3.9 yards per carry last season.
Redskins left tackle Trent Williams is a dominant pass blocker. He helped hold the opposition to only 27 total sacks last season, one of the lowest totals in the league. Another top-five overall draft pick, guard Brandon Scherff is an asset in the run game. Right tackle Morgan Moses is a serviceable player, but center Kory Lichtensteiger is ill-suited to face Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams.
The Bills narrowly beat out the Eagles and their pair of capable bookend tackles to make this list on the strength of their NFL leading 4.8 yards per carry last season. Left tackle Cordy Glenn, left guard Richie Incognito and center Eric Wood form a strong left side of the line, all three players are Pro-Bowl caliber.