The Baltimore Ravens have completed their preseason slate with a 4-0 record, emerging victorious in contests against the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis, Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints. Perhaps more impressively, the Ravens won these four games with a combined margin of victory of 34 points.
Does an undefeated preseason have any bearing on regular season results?
Since 2002, 23 teams have gone undefeated in the preseason. Of those 23 teams, 12 earned a trip to the playoffs (52%) and two won the Super Bowl (9%). The Ravens have won every preseason game six times in their 20 year history. Four of these six Ravens teams made the playoffs, including the 2000 Super Bowl champions.
Every team is unique, only so much can be drawn from trends with past teams. However, winning in the preseason beats the alternative. Over the past ten NFL seasons, six of the 23 teams that were winless in the preseason reached the playoffs (26%), while seven of these 23 (30%) posted winning seasons.
After a frustrating season last year, with numerous close defeats, it is a positive development to see the Ravens stacking some wins, even in "meaningless" preseason games. Winning only five regular season games in 2015 was a shock to the team culture following non-losing season in each of head coach John Harbaugh’s first seven seasons, especially since the Ravens won at least one playoff game in six of the seven seasons under Harbaugh. Instilling confidence was one of the biggest priorities in training camp this year.
Improved roster depth should be the biggest takeaway from the preseason. The Ravens second and third stringers consistently outplayed the opposition in the preseason. Depth at quarterback, running back, receiver, outside linebacker and cornerback, in particular, appears to be better than the 2015 team.
The 2016 Baltimore Ravens have a good look in their eyes. They are focused, confident and motivated to avenge last season’s disappointing result.
Are they "pissed off for greatness"? We shall see...
Their first opportunity at redemption comes on Sunday, in the regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills.