Aug 23, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) gains yardage after his catch against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens Predictions, Super Bowl Odds, Week One Notes

Welcome to Lunchtime Links, where we round up all the latest Ravens news from around the web for your convenient consumption.  Today we look at the latest Baltimore Ravens predictions, Super Bowl Odds, notes about week one’s matchup with the Bengals, and look at some historical statistics that might foreshadow this season.

Baltimore Ravens predictions, a la ESPN

ESPN has rolled out their game by game predictions for the 2014 season for every NFL team, and Jamison Hensley predicts that the Ravens will go 9-7.  It’s pretty close to our own predictions, though he doesn’t speculate on playoff positioning.  Hensley predicts a split with the Bengals, a sweep of the Browns, and two losses to the Steelers.

We tend to think that the Ravens will split with the Steelers, and as Hensley points out the Ravens are 2-2 at home against Pittsburgh the last four games.  The rest of his predictions look pretty close, though we would give the edge to the Ravens over the Falcons mostly due to Atlanta’s terrible defense.

Super Bowl odds and analysis

Bleacher Report is one of the only media outlets that agrees with us in holding the Ravens in higher regard than their division foes for 2014.  They also point out that the team has better odds than either the Steelers or Bengals of winning the Super Bowl, currently.  At 40-1, they are tied for 11th best at the moment.

Most people seem to be concerned about the absence of Ray Rice, but we are more concerned that Bernard Pierce can sustain health in his absence, along with Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith.  Pierce proved in the preseason that he can carry the load and is a better fit for the offense than Rice.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens have a history of great Septembers

The Ravens have won 14 straight games at M&T Bank Stadium in the month of September, and Joe Flacco has more wins (71) since 2008 than any other quarterback in the NFL.  And as ESPN points out, only one quarterback has won more week one starts than Joe Flacco (5-1 in 6 starts) since 2008 – Tom Brady (6-0).

That one loss was on the road, and Flacco is 4-0 at home during that stretch with a 100.8 passer rating.  Two of those victories have come against the Bengals. In 2012, the Ravens routed the Bengals 44-13 as Flacco went 21 of 29 for 299 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions.  In his first NFL start in 2008, Flacco helped beat them 17-10 with a 38 yard touchdown run.


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