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Ravens News 2/9: Power Rankings and more

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Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Ravens Prioritizing An Improved Offensive Line - Todd Karpovich

Even the best quarterbacks can look average behind an overmatched offensive line.

This weakness was evident in the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

Playing behind an injury-marred offensive line, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was under pressure for most of the night and threw for 270 yards with two interceptions and three sacks (52.3 rating.).

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson dealt with similar struggles with his protection last season and the team is looking to remedy that issue this offseason.

“We believe in an offensive line,” Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta said. “We believe in being a strong offensive line. We want to have the best offensive line we can.”

How the Ravens can surpass the Chiefs in the AFC - Andrew Gillis

The simple answer to beating the Chiefs is that you need to score. A lot.

Mahomes has lost just 10 games in his career, and in those games, Chiefs opponents have scored 32 points per game. It doesn’t matter if the game is in Kansas City or Baltimore, the Ravens have to put points on the board or they’ll risk another lopsided loss to the Chiefs.

For as much as the Ravens need to add playmakers on the outside, though, they’ve shown they can score with a dominant ground game. In 2019, they averaged 33.2 points per game (first in the NFL) and averaged 29.3 (seventh) in the 2020 season. The next step in their evolution as an offense is becoming a true multi-dimensional group, one that isn’t limited in its decision making.

Passing the football is more efficient than rushing the ball is, but the addition of a dominant receiver or two would make the Ravens’ offense much more efficient and balanced than it’s been over the last two seasons.

With a talented defensive line and perhaps the best cornerback room in the sport, the Ravens are as well equipped as any to slow down the Chiefs’ passing attack — the problem is, in the three matchups against Mahomes, they’ve allowed 27, 33 and 34 points.

Still, they’ll have to likely force at least one turnover to take the football out of Mahomes’ hands as much as possible. And their offense will have to keep the football as much as it can, turning long drives into touchdowns. Field goals against the Chiefs simply won’t do.

Way-too-early NFL power rankings: Can the Ravens catch up to the Buccaneers and Chiefs? - Jonas Shaffer

5. Ravens

How 2020 ended: 11-5, AFC divisional-round loss

Unit rankings: No. 11 offense, No. 9 defense

Pending free agents: OLB Matthew Judon, DE Yannick Ngakoue, WR Willie Snead IV, DE Derek Wolfe, OLB Tyus Bowser, C Matt Skura, OLB Pernell McPhee, OT D.J. Fluker, WR Dez Bryant

Preview: The Ravens have built their offense to run over opponents, so it’s a good thing they’re getting Ronnie Stanley and Nick Boyle back. They’ve built their defense to blanket dynamic passing attacks, and having Tavon Young healthy makes the secondary even scarier. But the Ravens will need a more complete team if they’re to make a Super Bowl run. They still lack proven wide receivers, and free agency could deplete their edge rusher depth. No matter how good Lamar Jackson is, it’s tough to win an NFL title without playmakers at those positions.

NFL Power Rankings Post-Super Bowl: Tampa Bay wins it all - Matt Williamson

7) Baltimore Ravens (11-5)

After beating Tennessee in the first round of the playoffs, the Ravens were dismissed by Buffalo in the Divisional Round. Baltimore finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak, an 11-5 record, and the NFL’s best point differential.

Nonetheless, a lot of questions remain concerning the Ravens’ passing game and their style of offense.

Kansas City Chiefs (+550) installed as Super Bowl LVI favorite, with Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 11-1 - David Purdum

The Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills are each +1,200 to win Super Bowl LVI, which will be held Feb. 6, in Inglewood, California.

Super Bowl LVI Odds

Chiefs 11-2

Packers 9-1

Buccaneers 11-1

Ravens 12-1

Bills 12-1

Rams 13-1

49ers 14-1

Saints 16-1

Seahawks 18-1

Browns 20-1

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Carolina Panthers trade up for Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Denver Broncos move up to pick QB Trey Lance - Michael Renner

27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: EDGE AZEEZ OJULARI, GEORGIA

Ojulari fits like a glove into the Ravens blitz-heavy defense. His speed and ability to win the edge make up for his lack of size. He’s got a very similar skill set to Yannick Ngakoue if the veteran pass-rusher walks away in free agency.