Following a 20-19 win over Indianapolis in Week 2 of the preseason, the crew of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football had high praise as well as some bold predictions regarding the 2018 Ravens.
“I like Baltimore a lot,” said Good Morning Football’s Kyle Brandt. “I think their defense is gonna blow people away. I think they have really good veteran receivers now. I like Brown, I like Crabtree, I like those guys and I just like Joe Flacco. . . Of all the quarterbacks who have taken the field in the preseason of the NFL, he’s the highest rated.”
Flacco has received glowing reviews all throughout training camp. That success has translated to the preseason so far, with Flacco throwing for 143 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 16 pass attempts throughout the first two weeks. Flacco has exhibited more comfort and mobility in the pocket this preseason than seemingly all of last year. Aside from the shiny new weapons he has at the wide receiver and tight end positions, the biggest factor to Flacco’s improved play is his health. For the first time since 2015, Flacco has been healthy during training camp and the preseason so far. This is important for Flacco as he has an all-new receiving corps to work with this year in Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV.
“I think the Baltimore Ravens are a top AFC team. I love them this year,” said Brandt.
Brandt is clearly high on Baltimore for the 2018 season, but what about the rest of the Good Morning Football crew?
“I think this is the best defense in the AFC. I put them right up there with the Jaguars. They are so loaded on defense,” said Fox Sport’s Peter Shrager. “I think this team could compete for the AFC Championship this year.”
The Ravens indeed have a tremendous amount of depth on the defensive side of the ball, but will that equate to the best defense in the AFC? Baltimore has missed the playoffs the last three years, so to say they could compete for the AFC Championship is a bold prediction. The Ravens under Head Coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco are no stranger to that stage, however. Since Harbaugh and Flacco came in together in 2008, Baltimore has been to three AFC Championship games.
“I think they can challenge the Patriots in the AFC. That’s how much I feel about this Ravens team. They look great,” said Shrager.
Fox Sport’s Colin Cowherd also had high praise for Baltimore during his show The Herd.
“Baltimore’s been the most impressive team,” said Cowherd. “When I watch their one’s and I watch the speed on the perimeter ... When I watch their line play and Flacco looks motivated ... I gotta tell ya, they look good.”
Cowherd previously predicted the Ravens to finish with a losing record of 7-9. After two weeks of the preseason, however, his tune seems to have changed.
“Here’s what I see, Baltimore’s as good as Joe Flacco lets them be,” Cowherd said. “I watch them right now, Baltimore, I had them as a losing record. I think they’re gonna vie for a number two seed behind the Steelers in the AFC.”
Of course all of this hype means nothing until the actual season begins, but it is worth mentioning. Several people believe Baltimore could be a special team this season, while just as many, if not more, believe they will finish as a .500 team and miss the playoffs. It’s hard to buy in to a team that has missed the playoffs for the past three years, but there is no denying that the Ravens have a roster filled with potential.