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Ravens News 5/24: Stacked Defense and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Ranking NFL’s top 10 defenses for 2021: Hail to the Football Team, with Bucs and Browns not far behind - Jared Dubin

4. Baltimore Ravens

Yes, they let Matt Judon walk in free agency. No, they still have not really replaced the top-end talent of Earl Thomas at safety after releasing him last offseason. But this was a top-10 unit last year (seventh in yards, second in points, ninth in DVOA), Don Martindale is one of the best defensive coordinators in the league, and the Ravens are still absolutely stacked everywhere. Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, and Brandon Williams up front. Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison up the middle. Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, and Tavon Young at corner. DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark at safety. Oh, and they added Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes in the draft to supplement Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser on the edge. They drafted Shaun Wade — one of the nation’s best slot corners in 2019 before he got torched as an outside corner in 2020 — in the fifth round and landed diminutive ball-hawk Ad’Darius Washington as an undrafted free agent. Once again, this should be a high-floor, high-ceiling unit.

Slot corner Young not yet full speed, but on target for Ravens training camp - Luke Jones

Though the three-year, $25.8 million extension through the 2022 season surprised many, Young had bounced back from a serious knee injury to become one of the better slot corners in the league in 2018 and was viewed by the organization as an ascending player who would continue to get better at age 25. Unfortunately, the 2016 fourth-round pick from Temple has played just one full game since receiving that lucrative contract, missing the entire 2019 campaign with a neck injury suffered in training camp and sustaining a torn ACL early in the Week 2 win at Houston last September.

“I know he hasn’t gotten the go-ahead to go full speed yet,” Martindale said in a call with Ravens season-ticket holders earlier this week. “I do expect him to come back fully healthy for training camp for sure, but maybe sooner I’m hoping. He looks great. He’s going through some of the toughest things you can do as an athlete with the freak injuries that he’s had the last two years.

“He’s worked way too hard not to have any success. I’m just telling you that now,” Martindale said. “I can’t wait for him to come back.”

50 Words or Less - John Eisenberg

Jaylon Ferguson played 51 percent of the Ravens’ defensive snaps as a rookie in 2019, but just 28 percent in 2020. And now, draft picks Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes have joined his position group. Ferguson ranks high on the list of veterans with a lot to prove in 2021.

Since 2019, the Ravens have drafted four offensive linemen in either the third or fourth round. The investment of draft capital reflects a commitment to the O-line, but for now, only one of the four projects as a 2021 starter. (Ben Cleveland, Ben Powers or Ben Bredeson at left guard.)

Introducing Snap-Weighted Size: Seahawks, Ravens Among Biggest Teams - Vincent Verhei

Snap-Weighted Weight

The Baltimore Ravens had the league’s heaviest offense by quite a bit, and that’s mostly due to their blockers—they were second in SWW at offensive line and first at tight end. On top of that, they gave more than 400 snaps to their fullback … and that fullback was enormous, the 311-pound Patrick Ricard. (Ricard used to split his time between fullback and defensive tackle, but he didn’t play any defensive snaps in 2020). Having Ricard was like using an extra lineman on more than 40% of the Ravens snaps. The players carrying the ball were awfully big too—Baltimore’s running backs ranked 10th in SWW.

Early Line: Ravens Favored in 15 of 17 Regular Season Games During 2021 Season - Todd Karpovich

The Ravens are favored in 15 of 17 regular-season games during the 2021 seasons, according to VSiN, a sports betting network.

The exceptions are the Chiefs in Week 2 and the Browns in Week 14.

Kansas City visits Baltimore for a second consecutive year in Week 2 and that game is “Pick” with the over/under at 51.

Baltimore is favored by 3 points in a Thursday night matchup with the Dolphins in Week 10.

In Week 11, the Ravens are favored by 3.5 points against the Bears. Baltimore has never won in Chicago.

The Ravens are favored by 3.5 points over Cleveland in Week 12 at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore swept the Browns last season.

In Week 13, the Ravens are favored by 2,5 points in Pittsburgh.

Baltimore has to play Cleveland again in Week 14, The Browns had their bye the previous week and are favored by 2.5 points.

Ravens 2021 Win Total Bet Pick: Baltimore’s Over/Under? - Pat Ragazzo

John Harbaugh’s Ravens have been consistent playoff contenders throughout his 14-year tenure as head coach. They are a squad built off their running game and strong brick wall defense. As long as they avoid the injury bug in 2021, they should be able to take advantage of a weaker AFC North division.

According to BetMGM, the Ravens currently stand at -110 odds to win over 11 games, which you should hammer, given they are fresh off an 11-win season and look to be stronger on paper coming into the season.

BetMGM also likes the Ravens to capture the division title at +115 odds, which seems like a no-brainer with the Steelers on the decline and the Bengals in rebuild mode.