We're days (hours, even!) away from the start of the 2023 NFL regular season. The Chiefs and the Lions will be the ones opening the curtain on Thursday, with the Baltimore Ravens following suit on Sunday, Sept. 10, when they'll host the Houston Texans.
That means that all major media outlets have already released or just dropping their initial Power Rankings ahead of the new season, mostly based on past results and expectations.
The outlet split their explanations into two sections for each franchise, one touching on the best-case scenario, and the other one in the opposite case.
The folks also used their "Model Rank" calculations, which project Baltimore to the third-most wins in 2023 at 10.7 over the season, tied for the third-best with the Buffalo Bills (ranked fourth in the Power Rankings).
"Best-case scenario: After taking a few games to fully grasp the concept of “wide receivers” and being encouraged to “throw” the ball to the outside, Lamar Jackson sets a new high for passing yards and starts every game of the season for the first time in his career. Zay Flowers wins Offensive Rookie of the Year and Odell Beckham Jr. turns back the clock. On the other side of the ball, Mike Macdonald continues to look like one of the best young defensive coordinators in football as Marlon Humphrey returns ahead of schedule and Roquan Smith puts to rest concerns about resource allocation at his position."- The Athletic
When it comes to the best-case scenario, The Athletic thinks that "Lamar Jackson [could] set a new high for passing yards and starts every game of the season for the first time in his career," after learning the new Todd Monken offense.
The outlet also envisions Zay Flowers winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, and Odell Beckhma Jr. putting together a solid comeback campaign. On defense, the best-case scenario would entail Humphrey returning from injury "ahead of schedule," Roquan Smith "putting to rest concerns about resource allocation," and DC Mike Macdonald looking like "one of the best young defensive coordinators in football."
For the worst-case outlook, in case you're a hater interested in that type of thing, the main problem would come from a struggling Monken leading the Ravens offense and not quite clicking, as it happened to him the last time he held an OC gig in the NFL.
The Athletic also mentions that Flowers "never blossoms," the rest of the important offensive players "remain as injury-prone as their recent histories suggest," and ultimately the Ravens "watch as the other three AFC North teams make the playoffs."