Ravens considered “runaway favorites” to win AFC North
The AFC North will likely be yet another unpredictable gauntlet in 2022, but one NFL pundit believes the Baltimore Ravens can reclaim the throne.
Baltimore will see plenty of players return from injury this season, and barring further injuries, should field a full-strength roster.
Their roster talent coupled with their recent draft selections and overall solid team identity could help the team leapfrog back into the top spot in the AFC North after finishing last in the division in 2021.
Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr named the Ravens as his “runaway favorite” to win the division given the team’s successful draft picks and well-established roster:
"“It’s difficult to imagine a better draft for the Ravens, who seemed to be spinning the entire board like a lazy Susan, having a premium player of need land in their laps in every round. When a team knows itself as well as the Ravens do, they can create some real art on draft night. Imagine a 400-pound Daniel Faalele securing the edge for Lamar Jackson on boot action runs this year.”"
Orr also pointed out that Baltimore’s offensive issues — mainly, the hole at wide receiver — may not be as dire as one may have previously thought.
The Ravens get picked as the “runaway favorite” to win division in 2022
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will lead the team’s comeback after missing games last season due to illness and an ankle injury. As long as Jackson stays healthy, he can inflict damage behind Baltimore’s fortified offensive line, generating explosive chemistry with Rashod Bateman and his tight end unit.
Orr picking the Ravens to run away with the division crown seems extremely feasible given each AFC North team’s weaknesses heading into 2022.
The Cincinnati Bengals, coming off a Super Bowl run, have an immense amount of pressure to repeat that level of success. They had a bit of luck on their side in 2021 with their lack of roster injuries and will face a much stronger Ravens team that arguably has a much more experienced coach.
The Cleveland Browns recently traded for Deshaun Watson, and while many oddsmakers believe that trade makes them a serious playoff contender, Watson has every reason to disappoint this season.
And the Pittsburgh Steelers enter an unknown era of their own with a combination of Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett taking snaps under center.
The Baltimore Ravens are the only ones with a solid grasp of their identity in 2022, and they could easily blow by the competition with a healthy roster.
Don’t count out the purple and black this season.