Baltimore Ravens 2019 Season Preview

Russell S. Baxter

Baltimore Ravens 2019 Season Preview

By Ian Schultz

Special to Pro Football Guru

The Baltimore Ravens will be looking to build off of last season’s AFC North Title as quarterback Lamar Jackson takes over as the full-time starter. Gone are Joe Flacco, C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Eric Weddle and entering the fray are Earl Thomas, Mark Ingram and 2019 first round pick Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Head coach John Harbaugh will be looking to win back-to-back division titles for just the second time in what might be the most competitive AFC North race to date with the Steelers always lurking and the Browns improving.

Offense: The success of the Ravens’ attack is resting on the shoulders of Jackson, who is running an offense installed by new coordinator Greg Roman. Leading rusher Gus Edwards returns and with the addition of Ingram and 2019 fourth-rounder Justice Hill, the Ravens should be one of the best rushing teams in the NFL. Willie Snead IV returns to lead a wide receiver group that adds Brown, draft pick Miles Boykin, free agent Seth Roberts and returnees Chris Moore and Jaleel Scott. The offensive line boasts left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who has quietly played his way into elite status, future Hall of Fame right guard Marshal Yanda, and second-year right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Matt Skura returns for his second year at center but the left guard job remains up for grabs.

Defense: Thomas joins a secondary that could be the best in the NFL with emerging star Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr rounding out the group. Tony Jefferson will take on more of a leadership role this year and he will start opposite Thomas at safety. Patrick Onwuasor takes over for Mosley and Chris Board and Kenny Young will vie for the other inside starting role. With the departure of Suggs and Za’Darius Smith via free agency, Matt Judon will need to turn in a big year. Third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson, free agent signings Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray and returning Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser will help alleviate the losses. The Ravens are stout up front with Michael Pierce, Brandon Williams and Chris Wormley forming one of the better run-stuffing trios in the NFL.

Special Teams: The Ravens have the NFL’S best kicker in Justin Tucker. Punter Sam Koch continues to perform well and long snapper Morgan Cox rounds out “The Wolfpack” as they are known around Baltimore. The special teams group did lose coordinator Jerry Rosburg this offseason and has question marks in the return game.

Prediction: The Ravens have a ceiling of 11-5 and a floor of 7-9. So much rides on Jackson’s ability to develop as a consistent passer. With a running game that looks poised to be one of the best in the NFL and a defense that is loaded in the secondary, the Ravens could be gunning for a first-round bye. If Jackson continues to struggle with consistency and ball security, he could derail what looks to be a promising season and leave the Ravens in limbo at the quarterback position.

Win-Loss Record: 8-8 (3rd Place, AFC North)

Ian Schultz (@iandschultz) also contributes for @Ebony_Bird and @Charm City Bird Watch.

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