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Ravens offense slated to buck the Bills in Week 1

The Ravens are going to start their season off right if oddsmakers are to be believed.

With a healthy team intact for a change, the Baltimore Ravens are right back in the thick of things with the top contenders in 2016-17. It was a long a grueling trek last season having to watch such a weak and damaged squad game in and game out. Thankfully those days are over though and the new regime is about to take the turf. And much to the delight of Ravens fans everywhere, the oddsmakers are saying that Baltimore is going to start their season on a high note.

It’s hard to blame the oddsmakers for being so optimistic, as the Ravens Week 1 opponent, the Buffalo Bills have received nothing but bad news over the past couple of weeks. The most recent big blow to the team is the loss of rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland for the year with a torn ACL. Prior to that, first rounder Shaq Lawson also injured himself, although he’s now expected back between weeks six and eight. Losing two young impact players on defense is a significant setback for the Bills to begin the year, and with all of that in mind, it’s no wonder the odds are in the Ravens favor. Week 1 NFL odds at TopBet give the Ravens a slight -2.5 edge over the Bills, but expect that to grow in the coming weeks. With the Bills defense weakened, you can expect Joe Flacco to test his new targets deep and often in front of an eager season-opening crowd in Baltimore.

Speaking of those new targets, Joe Flacco might just be playing with some of the best receivers he's ever had.

The Ravens welcomed veterans Mike Wallace and tight end Benjamin Watson to their receiving corps this offseason, and they joined an already formidable group of young talent, including breakout receiver Kamar Aiken. The Ravens also welcome back Breshad Perriman and Steve Smith, Sr., who they so dearly missed last season after they suffered season-ending injuries. After having a dearth of talent last season thanks to injuries, the Ravens now have the opposite problem, with top-notch talent all the way down the depth chart.

Once you add in top rookie Ronnie Stanley on the line and the best guard in the league in Marshal Yanda, this offense could stake their claim as one best in the NFL.

Oh, we almost forgot, Joe Flacco will also be back under center.

That’s perhaps the biggest return for the Ravens. While the defense and offense both added playmakers and new faces, Joe Flacco’s return from last year’s injury is undoubtedly the most important piece of the puzzle. Flacco played in ten games in 2015 and struggled to find a rhythm. His play really suffered as a result of injuries to his supporting cast, and he wasn't exactly the Joe that Ravens fans have come to know and love under center. But despite his woes in the pocket, no one doubted that Flacco gave the team a fighting chance to win in any situation. However, once he went down for the year with a torn ACL, the team went into a total tailspin without any stability at quarterback, and ultimately finished the year with Ryan Mallett under center – an emergency addition late in their losing campaign.

With Flacco, Smith Sr, Watson, Perriman and Aiken ready to play huge roles as part of the aerial attack, the team has their sights set on an offensive revival in a big way. Combine that with the return of Justin Forsett and potential superstar in the making Buck Allen out of the backfield, this squad could really make some noise in 2016, and that all starts in Week 1 against the Bills.