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Ravens News 8/8: Preseason player preview, underrated contenders and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Training Camp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

PFF Preseason Week 1 Preview: Players to watch in all 16 games - Austin Gayle

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Former Notre Dame standout Miles Boykin is a freaky athlete with great size and the means to reach his sky-high potential in the NFL. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver earned a 77.1 receiving grade with the Fighting Irish a year ago. Fellow rookie Justice Hill, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound speedster coming out of Oklahoma State, has change-of-pace back written all over him. In such a run-heavy offense, Hill has a very good chance of earning reps in Baltimore’s deep running back rotation with a strong preseason. Gerald Willis III, an undrafted defensive interior and former Miami (Fla.) standout, earned strong run-defense grades with the Hurricanes and could do much of the same in the NFL.

NFL Power Rankings: Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks are Underrated Super Bowl Contenders - Scout

11. BALTIMORE RAVENS 10-6 | 2019 Projection: 9 Wins

WIN 56% OF NEUTRAL FIELD SIMULATIONS

Baltimore has a much tougher schedule than the Browns with games at Kansas City, vs New England and at the Rams. If not for this tougher schedule the Ravens would be the pick to repeat as division winners. Their neutral win simulation percentage indicates that the Ravens are expected to have a similar record next season as they did last. The computer gives them a 2.8% chance of winning the Super Bowl making them a good value at 40/1, 2.4%. They are also a good bet to win the conference with a 5.9% chance at 20/1, 4.8%. The sum of all of their 2018 season money line implied probabilities (adjusted for the juice) projects to 9.3 wins. Their 10 actual wins was above expectation. They went 4-4 on the road and were expected to win 3.7. Their 75% home win percentage was as expected (69.6%). Anyone who backed the Ravens in all of their games on the money line would have earned a +174 unit profit at a 100 per game risk. Against the spread, they have lost -80 units risking 110 to win 100 (8-8 ATS). The Ravens have turned an ATS profit on the road but have lost at home.

PFF projects win totals, division title probability and Super Bowl odds for each team in the AFC North - Eric Eager and George Chahrouri

The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals both have plenty of question marks: the Ravens on offense with a quarterback in Lamar Jackson, who has struggled to throw the ball (only one game above 200 passing yards) and fumbled 12 times, and the Bengals with field conditions and a new coach. Both possess plenty of defensive talent on the back end and have unique weapons on the offensive side. The Ravens are clearly fighting for a division crown, but our simulations have these two far closer than the market. In fact, our simulations have the Bengals winning more games than the Ravens on average, by a very slim margin. There are two major reasons for this: first, the instability of quarterback for the Ravens, whereas Andy Dalton ranked sixth in grade from a clean pocket last season (played through Week 12). And second, defense is not nearly as stable year to year, which helps the Bengals and hurts the Ravens (who ranked second behind the Bears in expected points added allowed per play last season).

Why the Bears should keep an eye on Ravens kicker Kaare Vedvik: ‘He’ll kick well enough for us to trade him’ - Dan Wiederer

You can bet the Bears are fully aware of Kaare Vedvik. You can bet general manager Ryan Pace is doing his research. You can bet the curiosity will spike Thursday night when Vedvik and the Ravens host the Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

“Everything’s on the table,” Pace asserted, “to make sure that we get that right.”

Vedvik will almost certainly be available. The Norwegian native is on the second line of the Ravens depth chart behind Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history. The ultra-reliable veteran signed a four-year extension in April worth up to $23 million.

Barring an improbable injury to Tucker, the Ravens won’t need Vedvik. Still, his strong leg and confidence make him a valuable asset. And at the owners meetings in March, Ravens coach John Harbaugh offered his Vedvik forecast for the preseason.

“I fully expect he’ll kick well enough for us to trade him,” Harbaugh said. “I would say that’s the goal.”