The Baltimore Ravens have to come out of the gates strong in the 2018 season, or it could be a rough season:
The Baltimore Ravens roster is not complete yet, but their schedule is. That can only mean one thing, time for premature analysis of the schedule. The Ravens have to get off to a fast start in the 2018 season. The Ravens have to play on the road in four of the first six games of the season. Three of those road games are in the division. That means that games that weigh the heaviest are upfront for the purple and black.
If the Ravens drop a game to the Bengals and the Steelers, they could find themselves looking up at their foes from the beginning. In the first seven weeks of the season, the Ravens play 2017 playoff teams. If we’re being honest though, the Bills barely count as a playoff team and if they don’t find a quarterback they won’t be intimidating. The Steelers, and Saints have a realistic shot at being contenders and the Tennessee Titans have a shot at returning to the post season. This slate isn’t unbearable, though it is going to be a challenge.
Say the Ravens lose their road games against the Bengals and Steelers, then drop a game against the New Orleans Saints. That is three losses right there. The Denver Broncos are a team that could be much better in 2018. Case Keenum is an upgrade at the quarterback position and the Broncos could get an even better upgrade next week in the draft. It’s easy to look at that game as one the Ravens should win, however the Broncos have a lot of talent and that’s a potential toss up.
Lot’s of ways to get in trouble early:
The long story short is that the Ravens have a lot of ways to get in trouble in the first half of the season. If Baltimore continues to lose games they shouldn’t, they’ll find themselves chasing the Steelers in the AFC North again. The good thing is that a fast start would give the Ravens a huge head start.
If the Ravens come out of the gates swinging and beat the Bills, Bengals and Broncos with ease, they’ll go into Pittsburgh with momentum. If the Ravens walk out of Pittsburgh at 4-0, all of the sudden the Ravens would have a little room for error. Baltimore needs to walk into their week 10 bye week with a minimum of five wins to give themselves a chance.
Taking care of business in Pittsburgh, would flip the pressure on the Steelers. In this battle, home field advantage matters. The Ravens are usually walking into Heinz field for the second battle with the season hanging in the balance. Reversing that script could give the Ravens a chance to take the Steelers down twice. Both games are pivotal, but if the Ravens can win on the road in week 4, they will put the pressure squarely on Mike Tomlin and the Steelers.
The Bottom Line:
Margin of error is always going to be important for a John Harbaugh team. Just about every year the purple and black lose a game or two that they absolutely should have won. It happens on a yearly basis. Remember the Super Bowl run in 2012? A 9-2 start cushioned a late season collapse. Fast starts are huge. The Ravens have to give themselves a chance to play meaningful games late in the season.
When you look at the schedule there are so many unknowns. The Ravens can really change their outlook in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Ravens are probably not done adding free agents, even if Dez Bryant signs with the New York Giants. It’s too early to make reasonable predictions. That being said, the Ravens need a fast start to the season no matter what. When the NFL Draft gets under way, we’ll have you covered. This is your go to destination when you need to be in the know about your Ravens.