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Ravens News 5/16: Primetime Showcase

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By: Vasilis Lericos

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

2024 offseason grades for all 32 NFL teams: Eagles, Chiefs and Bears among teams to get As

Trevor Sikkema, PFF

BALTIMORE RAVENS: B+

Bringing back Justin Madubuike was a big win, though Baltimore also lost Patrick Queen and Geno Stone. Offsetting those departures is the fact that their secondary and linebacker rooms still have stars, so instead we look at their free-agent addition of Derrick Henry as a big plus.

They had a fairly large offensive line need, as Morgan Moses, Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson are now playing elsewhere, but the addition of Roger Rosengarten via the draft somewhat mitigates that.

I ultimately loved the Ravens’ draft, so outside of some other offensive line question marks, it’s hard to hate on their offseason.

Quarterback questions for 32 NFL teams: Contracts, QB1 races

Dan Graziano, ESPN

Baltimore Ravens

What does the addition of Derrick Henry mean for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense?

Since Jackson was drafted in 2018, the Ravens have more rushing attempts (3,282) and rushing yards (16,668) than any other team in the league — by a lot. The team that ranks second in both of those categories over the past six years is the Titans, whose lead running back during that time has been the powerful Henry. The Ravens signed Henry in free agency this offseason after years of trouble keeping running backs healthy. Forced into a committee year after year due to injuries, the Ravens hope Henry can be at least some facsimile of the historically dominant back he was in Tennessee.

It’s hard to imagine the Ravens running the ball more than they already were just because Henry is there. But perhaps, if he stays healthy, he can relieve Jackson of some of the run game burden. That’s especially true near the goal line, where Henry should give opponents a lot more to think about.

Ravens 2024 schedule: 5 prime-time games, including ‘Monday Night Football’ showdown between Harbaugh brothers

Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore will play five nationally televised night games — tied for the most in franchise history — over the first dozen weeks of the 2024 NFL season, including against the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game to kick off the NFL season Sept. 5 on “Thursday Night Football” at Arrowhead Stadium.

Baltimore will also travel to Houston for a 4:30 p.m. Christmas blockbuster against the Texans and their star quarterback, 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud, in a rematch of an AFC divisional round playoff matchup last season. It marks the second straight year the Ravens will play on the holiday after last year’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California.

Other games under the lights include a Week 4 “Sunday Night Football” showdown against the Buffalo Bills and quarterback Josh Allen at M&T Bank Stadium; a Week 7 “Monday Night Football” tilt against the defending NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium; a Week 10 “Thursday Night Football” matchup at home against the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals; and a Week 12 Monday night meeting in Inglewood, California, that pits Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh against his younger brother John, who is in his first year as coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Takeaways From Ravens’ 2024 Schedule

Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com

The AFC North won’t be settled for a while.

The Ravens don’t play their first AFC North game until Week 5 (in Cincinnati) and only have one in the first seven weeks.

This is a dramatic departure from last season, when Baltimore had three divisional games (all on the road) in the first five weeks. That series of games put the Ravens in the driver’s seat of the AFC North.

The Ravens finish with five divisional games over their final 10, including a stretch from Weeks 8-11 when they play each of their AFC North foes.

Jump out in front or rebound in the second quarter.

It’s been known for months that the Ravens have the second-most-difficult schedule in the league based on their opponents’ win percentage from last season.

We already knew the Ravens would have a great test with an AFC Championship rematch against the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs to kick off the season. Beyond that, the Ravens’ first five games will set the tone for the season.

The Chiefs, Raiders, Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals were a combined 51-34 last year and all (except the Raiders) are expected to contend for a conference title in 2024. If the Ravens come out of the gates hot, they can take pole position in the AFC. If they don’t, they’ll need a strong rebound in quarter two.

There aren’t any “soft” spots in the Ravens’ schedule, but the lightest is from Weeks 6-9 when the Ravens play the Commanders, Buccaneers, Browns, and Broncos, who had a combined record of 32-36 last season. It’s essentially the second quarter of the schedule if broken into four chunks.

NFL schedule: Each AFC team’s win total projection for 2024 season

Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com

Baltimore Ravens

Wins 10.2

WILD CARD

Win Total: under 11.0 (-115)

Make Playoffs: -320

Win Division: +125

Win Conference: +480

Win Super Bowl: +900

The Ravens’ schedule slides them under the Bengals in terms of median win projection and renders them a more probable wild-card team than division winner. (Again, it’s May, so let’s all take a deep breath.) The AFC North currently projects as the most difficult division in the NFL, which is not shocking, but makes for a lot of potential internal disruption among these four teams. For fun, I modeled out which game on Baltimore’s schedule forecasts to be the most pivotal, and, as of right now, it looks like the outcome of Ravens-Eagles in Week 13, just ahead of Baltimore’s bye, is the one most likely to determine the Ravens’ playoff picture.

Originally posted on Baltimore Beatdown – All Posts