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Ravens News 5/5: Expanded Profile and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Alejandro Villanueva, Baltimore Ravens reach 2-year deal - Jamison Hensley

Villanueva, 32, started at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past six seasons but would fit in with the Ravens’ supersized offensive line on the right side. He ranked 18th last season in run block win rate — three spots higher than Brown (21st) — which should fit in with a Baltimore offense that ran the ball on a league-high 50.3% of plays from scrimmage last season.

The Ravens also get a safety net for left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who is coming off a season-ending ankle injury and hasn’t played a full 16-game season in his five-year career. Villanueva made 90 starts at left tackle from 2015 to 2020 and reached the Pro Bowl in 2017 and 2018.

This potentially gives Baltimore one of the most formidable-looking offensive lines in the league with left tackle Stanley (6-foot-6, 315 pounds), left guard Ben Cleveland (6-6, 357), center Bradley Bozeman (6-5, 325), right guard Kevin Zeitler (6-4, 315) and right tackle Villanueva (6-9, 320).

Ravens offensive line will take time to build, even with pieces in place - Mike Preston

Regardless, the Ravens should still have one of the best running games in the NFL for the third straight season because the nucleus of the offensive line returns, including left tackle Ronnie Stanley and guards Bradley Bozeman and Ben Powers. The Ravens also added veteran guard Kevin Zeitler, who is expected to start on the right side. With either Villanueva or Kelly, the Ravens will have a formidable group.

Timing, though, will be a problem. The Ravens can load up on bulk, but offensive line play is as much about rhythm. That means the Ravens could be playing musical chairs for a while. There will be limitations on player participation during offseason training, and that could change depending on any coronavirus spikes.

The left guard competition should be one of the best in training camp with Powers, Ben Bredeson and rookie Ben Cleveland battling for the starting spot. Stanley is the best lineman on the team, but there are questions about when he might return because of an ankle injury that required two surgeries last season.

Somehow, the Ravens have to bring this all together. Fortunately, they have a very good offensive line coach in Joe D’Alessandris, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman specializes in building an effective running game.

Greg Roman: Ravens’ new WRs ‘expand our profile quite a bit’ in passing game - Kevin Patra

“I don’t want to call it an embarrassment of riches, but when you talk about Hollywood and Devin and Miles, I really feel good about the guys we have,” Roman said, via the team’s official website. “This offense is really one that runs through Lamar. We’re always going to do what gives us the best chance to win. When you add talent like that, it’s really going to expand our profile quite a bit, actually. To play with the kind of balance that we really want to play with.

“I really think it will probably take some pressure off guys that have been here like Marquise, free him up a little bit as well. The field’s about 53 yards wide, and I think people are going to have to defend all 53 yards of it.”

“Definitely some things that people are going to see from us that they haven’t seen before,” Roman said. “Our staff is working really hard and diligently on that. When you really look at who we have to beat in the AFC these days, you’ve got to have talent everywhere. There’s some really good teams out there. I really feel great about what we’re building here. Schematically wise, we’re always going to change it a little bit. I’d probably say more so this year than we did last year.”


Baltimore Ravens trends/ William Hill Sportsbook odds

2020 record: 11-5 (10-5-1 against the spread, 7-9 Over/Under)

2021 strength of schedule rank: 2nd (opponents’ combined winning percentage of .563)

2021 Over/Under win total: 11.0

SportsLine Projection Model forecasted wins: 11.1

Odds to win Super Bowl 56: +1400

To win AFC: +650

To win AFC North: +115

To make playoffs: Yes -360, no +280

NFL MVP odds: Lamar Jackson +1600

Baltimore Ravens Home Opponents

Cincinnati Bengals: Ravens won 27-3 last year to snap three-game ATS home skid vs. Bengals

Cleveland Browns: Baltimore was -7 at home last year and blew out Browns 38-6 in Week 1

Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh has covered three of its past four on road in series

Kansas City Chiefs: K.C. was +3.5 in Baltimore last season and won 34-20

Los Angeles Chargers: Will be Ravens’ first-ever in-person look at Justin Herbert

Indianapolis Colts: Baltimore was short dog in Indy last year and won 24-10

Green Bay Packers: Ravens won last meeting 23-0 in Green Bay four years ago

Minnesota Vikings: Teams have split the past four meetings overall SU & ATS

Los Angeles Rams: Baltimore has won past four in series, last in 2019 (3-0-1 ATS)

Baltimore Ravens Road Opponents

Cincinnati Bengals: Ravens rolled 38-3 last year and have covered three of past four in Cincy

Cleveland Browns: Cleveland has covered just two of past 10 at home in series (last in 2018)

Pittsburgh Steelers: Baltimore is 4-0-1 ATS in past five in Steel City after close loss in 2020

Denver Broncos: First meeting since 2018, a 27-14 Ravens home victory

Las Vegas Raiders: Ravens have won past two overall vs. Raiders but this will be first trip to Vegas

Miami Dolphins: Teams opened 2019 season vs. one another in Miami and Ravens won 59-10

Chicago Bears: Chicago has won past two meetings, last 27-24 on road in 2017

Detroit Lions: Ravens on 3-0 SU & ATS run vs. Lions with last meeting in 2017