The Baltimore Ravens have been a tough team to get a read on this preseason because they’ve sustained so many injuries, some of which have hindered their ability to fully showcase their potential. This could be said of a few other NFL teams, but with the Ravens it is especially true due to the absence of franchise quarterback Joe Flacco.
Flacco didn’t appear in last Thursday’s opener against Washington, but despite that, Bleacher Report NFL analyst Chris Simms remains very high on this team which he had already tabbed tenth in his previous power rankings. In fact, Simms bumped them up to number nine, while conceding that Flacco must make a return to the lineup if they still want to be taken as seriously:
I'm moving the Ravens up because of everything else I saw from them in the preseason opener. They have speed at the skill positions, a good crop of running backs and a defense that got me out-of-this-world pumped. Baltimore's defense was already great, and the team added pieces like Brandon Carr and rookie Chris Wormley. Rookie corner Marlon Humphrey didn't play, but I expect him to be an asset to a secondary that is starting to look pretty impressive.
It’s very interesting to see such enthusiasm for the outlook of this team from a member of the national media. All of the injuries that have occured seemed to have swayed all of the talking heads in the opposite direction, and a lot of negative attention was generated by the arguably mishandled Colin Kaepernick situation.
As Simms said, the Ravens remain stout on defense, and it all starts up front with some old and new pieces that will fortify the group:
The Ravens' front seven is even more terrifying. They absolutely annihilated the Redskins. It almost wasn't fair. That's why I had no choice but to flip the two teams in this week's rankings.
We’ll certainly need to see more from the offense for the optimism surrounding this team to hold up, but for now, it’s good to see them get some love from the national media.