2018 Ravens: 5 reasons Baltimore is a Super Bowl contender
4. Revamped receiving core:
The Baltimore Ravens have never been known for their wide receivers. Considering most of the team’s greatest receivers were all free agent signings (Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith Sr.), it doesn’t say much about the organization’s track record in the department. So when the 2018 off-season rolled around, the team realized it needed to add talent and depth to that position. To say they were successful would be an understatement.
Michael Crabtree was the splash signing, but John Brown has been the real star of the show. Brown is third among all receivers in YPR (minimum 20 receptions) with a 19.9 average. Brown’s explosiveness has provided Ravens Flock with excitement, as “the smoke show” comes just about every week. Meanwhile, Crabtree has started to come alive over the last few weeks and is showing why Baltimore invested so highly in him.
The team also added players like Willie Snead and Mark Andrews this off-season, both of whom has contributed some success to the offense. While the Ravens are still waiting on a return investment from first round pick Hayden Hurst, his upside remains with highf. From top-to-bottom, the receiving corps received (no pun intended) a massive makeover and the results have been satisfying to say the least. It’s this kind of firepower that will be necessary to stay in shootouts against teams like the New England Patriots or the Kansas City Chiefs come playoff time.
3. Justin Tucker:
A single bad kick does not define a player’s career when you have the past success a guy like Justin Tucker has had. Now do yourself a favor and forget about his missed PAT against the New Orleans Saints. After all, it’s not like that loss fell entirely on Tucker’s shoulders.
How quickly we forget that Tucker remains the NFL’s most accurate kicker of all-time and he won a Super Bowl as a rookie back in 2012. And he didn’t just get a ring, he earned it. Tucker was one of the biggest reasons the Ravens upset the seemingly unstoppable Denver Broncos during the “Mile High Miracle” with his double-overtime 47-yard game winning field goal. You just can’t find clutch kickers nowadays, and that’s exactly what Justin Tucker is.
We’ve seen so many teams lose in the ugliest of ways because of poor kicking. Missed PATs and field goals come back to haunt teams. The Ravens have a secret weapon in Tucker who, while not perfect, is as close to a sure-thing as you’ll find. With the game on the line, there is no kicker in the entire NFL I’d rather have my season resting on than on the leg of Justin Tucker. So long as this man is a Baltimore Raven, the team will always have a chance to win close games and get clutch game-winning kicks.