The end of the 2021 season for the Baltimore Ravens gave a near-relief to the injury-riddled misery. Now, the Ravens enter the 2022 regular season with 52 of their 53 players participating in Monday’s practice. And though they didn’t play their starters in the preseason, pundits are still (mostly) believing in the Ravens as a top 10 team.
The Athletic: 6
The good news: The Ravens were the most injured team in the league by adjusted games lost last year and still nearly made the playoffs. Some positive regression on that front combined with the expected improvement on defense and Lamar Jackson’s contract-season bump could make this a special year in Baltimore. In the eyes of The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, Odafe Oweh and Rashod Bateman seem primed for breakout seasons.
NFL.com: 10 (Previous: 10)
Will the Football Gods show mercy? The 2021 season won’t be remembered fondly by the Ravens and their fan base. Injuries ravaged the roster from training camp until the end of the season, with the franchise posting its first losing record since 2015. Lamar Jackson was one of the many players who missed extensive time, and a monster rebound season could lead to the NFL’s biggest payday ever for the QB. It will be interesting to see how much Jackson runs the ball in this offense: Baltimore desperately wants to keep its franchise star on the field, but the best version of the Ravens’ attack has Jackson lighting up defenses with his legs — especially with No. 1 wide receiver Hollywood Brown now catching passes from Kyler Murray in Arizona.
Over or under 9.5 wins? Over
This offseason, the Ravens improved their offensive line to further protect Jackson and solidify their running game. Last season, Baltimore lost two overtime games and four tilts by two points or fewer. With favorable matchups against the Giants, Panthers, Jaguars, Jets and Falcons, the Ravens might have better luck in close contests this season.
NBC Sports: 12
In a tightly-packed AFC, they’re as capable as anyone to get to the postseason and win more than one game there.
The MMQB’s official team of the preseason (wait until you see our staff predictions on Wednesday) is primed for a bounce-back year.
Few teams were as ravaged by injuries as the Ravens last season, and it propelled them from the top seed in the AFC at one point in the year to outside of the playoffs by the end of the season. Just getting healthy again makes the Ravens a real playoff team once again, and they can go on stretches of dominant play that scares any team in the league.
Sporting News: 6 (Previous: 8)
The Ravens’ defensive rebuild will see quick results with the 3-4 edge pass rush back to typical levels, backed by the league’s best playmaking secondary. Lamar Jackson and the offense is headed to take advantage of better health and improved blocking. Baltimore is worthy of returning to clear AFC North favorite status.
Yahoo Sports: 6 (Previous: 7)
It’s not ideal for the Ravens to be starting the season with a lot of questions at running back. Gus Edwards will start the season on PUP. They’ve been coy about J.K. Dobbins’ health and availability heading into Week 1. The Ravens did sign Kenyan Drake, and maybe that saves them early in the season as Dobbins and Edwards get back to full health.
CBS Sports: 16 (Previous: 10)
The Lamar Jackson contract situation isn’t a good thing heading into the season. They also have major questions at receiver and pass rusher.
The Ringer: 8
Baltimore missed the playoffs for the first time in the Lamar Jackson era last season after the roster, particularly the running back group and the secondary, was decimated by injuries. I’m here to remind you that Jackson is still the NFL’s most dynamic player and the primary reason the Ravens remain a deep postseason contender. Health permitting, which is far from a guarantee, Jackson should reassert himself as one of the league’s most prolific signal callers on his way back to the playoffs.