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How To Bet On Baltimore Ravens – Ravens In Dog Fight To Keep Championship Window Open

Posted by Tony Bryant on 6/13/2012 3:03:45 PM

Timing is everything in the NFL. For the Baltimore Ravens, the biggest question heading in to this NFL sports bet season is whether or not the window has closed, after the timing for a Super Bowl run seemed so perfect a year ago. If it wasn’t for a late touchdown pass that was batted away, and then a missed field goal at the end of regulation against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, the Ravens may very well have reached their first Super Bowl since they won it in 2000. Now, one year later, free agent turnover and one key injury could slam that championship window shut.

Head Coach: John Harbaugh
Offensive Coordinator: Cam Cameron
Defensive Coordinator: Dean Pees
Owner: Steve Bisciotti
Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium
Capacity: 71,008
Super Bowl Wins: 1

Offense

The offense finally seemed able to carry its own opposite another dominant Ravens’ defense a year ago, but still there are concerns in the passing game. Running back Ray Rice has averaged a little more than 1,300 rushing yards in his three seasons as a starter, but quarterback Joe Flacco still hasn’t reached an elite status despite seeming to have all of the tools. The emergence of Torrey Smith will be key to Flacco’s emergence after the game-changing receiver looked very good in his rookie season, along with more consistency from the offensive line. The right side is very strong with Pro Bowl guard Marshall Yanda and tackle Michael Oher, but the team lost left huard Benn Grubbs in free agency, and inconsistencies have prevented left tackle Bryant McKinnie from reaching his elite potential. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has done an excellent job with this group since joining the team.

Grade: B -

Defense

The Baltimore defense hasn’t had this many online betting question marks since before the 2000 Super Bowl-winning team, but with its fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons, and Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs a major question mark due to a torn Achilles, the Ravens could have trouble filling those holes. Dean Pees replaces Chuck Pagano, who took the Colts’ head-coaching job, but the bigger concern is the personnel. Pro Bowl defensive end Haloti Ngata is an absolute monster along the line, but the team lost defensive end Cory Redding as well as linebacker Jarret Johnson in addition to Suggs. The addition of second-round pick Courtney Upshaw will help, but both Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are one year older, and there isn’t much depth at either linebacker or in the secondary. Corner Lardarius Webb earned a new contract with a breakout season in 2011 in which he made a combined eight interceptions in both the regular season and playoffs, but Carry Williams and Jimmy Smith will be in a battle for the other starting spot.

Grade: B +

Special Teams

Kicker Billy Cundiff wasn’t as accurate in 2011 as in previous seasons, including that potential game-tying field goal at the end of the AFC Championship game, but the Ravens will stick with him for at least one more season. Look for rookie Asa Jackson to get some looks as a return man with Webb forced to concentrate more on his role in the defense. Punter Sam Koch is solid.

Grade: B -

Prediction

The Ravens will face a very tough start with the Bengals, Eagles, and Patriots right out of the gate, and it doesn’t get much easier at the end of the season when they will face Peyton Manning and the Colts, then Eli Manning and the Giants in back-to-back weeks before their season finale in Cincinnati. The loss of Suggs will hurt the defense, but if Lewis and Reed can remain healthy they should be fine. The real question mark will be the play of Flacco and the offense, which will go a long way in determining whether or not Baltimore once again contends for an AFC North title and keeps that championship window open at 12/1 sportsbook odds.

Projected Record: 9-7 (Second Place; AFC North)

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. Cincinnati (Monday, 7:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – at Philadelphia (1:00 PM ET)
Week 3 – vs. New England (8:20 PM ET)
Week 4 – vs. Cleveland (Thursday, 8:20 PM ET)
Week 5 – at Kansas City (1:00 PM ET)
Week 6 – vs. Dallas (1:00 PM ET)
Week 7 – at Houston (1:00 PM ET)
Week 8 – BYE WEEK
Week 9 – at Cleveland (1:00 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. Oakland (1:00 PM ET)
Week 11 – at Pittsburgh (8:20 PM ET)
Week 12 – at San Diego (4:05 PM ET)
Week 13 – vs. Pittsburgh (4:15 PM ET)
Week 14 – at Washington (1:00 PM ET)
Week 15 – vs. Denver (1:00 PM ET)
Week 16 – vs. New York Giants (1:00 PM ET)
Week 17 – at Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET)


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