50 Words or Less: Ravens Are Again One of the NFL’s Hottest Teams
Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com
My bold prediction for the Ravens’ schedule: Baltimore starts hot and sweeps the AFC North slate of road games before heading to London. Jackson has played his best football early, Todd Monken’s new offense will keep the division rivals guessing, and John Harbaugh will have his team sharpened.
Here’s to hoping for strong attendance at OTAs because with the Ravens installing that new offense, practice has more importance. It’s an opportunity to get a head start before training camp. It could help (certainly can’t hurt) make that bold prediction come to fruition.
Beckham has been getting after it with his training this offseason. He was working out with DeAndre Hopkins, Saquan Barkley and others recently, then posted Saturday, “I’m really on the way!” The lone question with OBJ is health. It seems that question may be answered in the affirmative. Watch out.
Speaking of Beckham, I can’t help but think his decision to sign in Baltimore played a significant part in turning around the Ravens’ offseason momentum. If so, it was well worth the cost. It helped with Jackson, and it signaled that the Ravens are all in.
Ravens 2023 schedule: Ranking all 17 games from hardest (49ers) to easiest (Texans)
Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun
2. Week 2 at Cincinnati Bengals
What could’ve been. Had the Ravens beaten the Bengals in the regular-season finale, the site of their wild-card game the next week would have been decided by a coin flip.
Instead, the Ravens lost, 27-16, traveled to Cincinnati for their playoff game and watched as Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard returned a fumble by quarterback Tyler Huntley 98 yards for the decisive score in the fourth quarter. The Ravens lost, 24-17, while Cincinnati went on to play in another AFC championship.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has a 4-2 career mark against Baltimore, which includes setting an NFL record in 2021 for the most passing yards (941) against one team in a season. Cincinnati has won its past three home games against the Ravens, though Jackson didn’t play in any of them because he was injured. Also of note: Burrow was held to 215, 217 and 209 passing yards and one touchdown in each of his past three games against Baltimore.
3. Week 11 vs. Bengals
The good news for the Ravens is that they’ve won four of their past five against the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. That includes last year’s dramatic 19-17 victory in which Jackson ran three times for 26 yards and had two completions to tight end Mark Andrews in the final two minutes to set up a game-winning field goal by Tucker at the buzzer.
Cincinnati’s lone win in that stretch, meanwhile, was in 2021, when Burrow torched the Ravens for 426 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 41-17 thumping. Burrow’s LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, who won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors that season, also had a monster game with eight catches for 201 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown after he beat cornerback Marlon Humphrey on a slant.
The bad news for the Ravens is this game comes on Thursday night four days after a showdown against the rival Cleveland Browns.
Ravens Schedule Released: 5 Takeaways & Analysis
Daniel Flick, Sports Illustrated
Biggest Game Comes vs. Biggest Rival
How about Week 18 vs. the Steelers?
Both Baltimore and Pittsburgh will enter the season with playoff aspirations and have grown accustomed to playing late-season contests with one another.
Of course, it’s certainly possible - if not guaranteed - this shifts between now and early January, and mid-season turning points will arise ... but on paper, this has a chance to be a division- or even playoff-deciding affair between two rivals.
A Well-Timed Bye Week?
Baltimore has a late-season bye, coming in Week 13, the first weekend of December. It comes after a Sunday Night Football matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers and will be followed by a home game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Dec. 17.
The Ravens’ bye came in Week 10 last year and was followed by three wins in four games. The later bye may cause some fatigue, but it presents the opportunity to get much-needed time off before hitting the home stretch.
NFL schedule: Each AFC team’s win total projection for 2023 season
Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com
Win Total: over 9.5 (-140)
Make Playoffs: -160
Win Division: +275
Win Conference: +1300
Win Super Bowl: +2500
Weeks 4-8 will be particularly interesting for the Ravens, who will travel to Cleveland, Pittsburgh and then London (to meet the Titans) in consecutive weeks, before games against Detroit (home) and Arizona (away). So four of five on the road, with one taking place in Europe. Detroit’s odds in Week 7 improved 0.31 percentage points based on this stretch for Baltimore — and that’s with the Ravens playing at home.
5 NFL players entering a make-it or break-it 2023 season
William Moy, PFF
LB PATRICK QUEEN, BALTIMORE RAVENS
The Ravens drafted Queen in the first round back in 2020, and over the course of his first 2,278 defensive snaps in the NFL — that is, until Week 9 of the 2022 season when the Ravens traded for and inserted Roquan Smith into their linebacker corps — he posted an abysmal 35.2 overall grade, which included both a 34.3 run-defense grade and a 29.5 coverage grade.
From Week 9 through the end of last season, though, with Smith in the lineup, Queen compiled a 75.5 overall grade to go with a 74.6 run-defense grade and a 70.7 coverage grade.
Over the same span, Queen posted the highest positive run-defense grade rate of his career (15.8%) along with his lowest negative grade rate at (11.7%). In coverage, his prior career average of 1.13 yards allowed per coverage snap dropped to 0.92.
The Ravens declined to pick up Queen’s fifth-year option but could retain him beyond 2023 if he’s able to maintain the production he showed following the acquisition of Smith.