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Preseason Power Rankings No. 7: Baltimore Ravens

Harbaugh AP

Yeah, the Ravens failed to make the playoffs last year.  Yeah, they’re facing a degree of transition and upheaval on par with last year’s post-Super Bowl retirements and free-agency defections.

But the Ravens continue to be the Ravens.   The franchise that lives by the motto, “In Ozzie We Trust.”  The team with one of the best football organizations the past generation has seen.  The group that John Harbaugh led to five straight playoff appearances to start his head-coaching career.

Last year’s performance exposed some issues that needed to be addressed.  The Ravens have addressed them, for the most part.  Here’s a look at where they are as the 2014 season approaches, and why they landed in the top 10 after failing to qualify for the 2013 postseason.

Strengths.

It’s a quarterback-driven league, and the jury is out on how driven the Ravens’ starting quarterback remains after getting a $120.6 million contract in 2013.  Does Joe Flacco have the degree of determination that true franchise quarterbacks have shown, year in and year out?  Will Flacco act like an unofficial member of the coaching staff, both during the season and when the games aren’t being played?

The answer could be no, at least not for now.  Flacco didn’t get together with his receivers before the start of the offseason program, explaining that he didn’t know enough about the new offense to make the effort worth everyone’s time.  But he could have learned plenty about the new offense, if he really wanted to.  And he could have started the process of teaching it to teammates before the official process for teaching them began, if he really wanted to.  (With or without violations of offseason rules that are never enforced.)

And so, while the Super Bowl MVP trophy and the huge contract make Flacco a strength, it’s fair to ask whether he’s the kind of quarterback that makes a team a perennial contender regardless of the quality of the rest of the roster, or whether he has simply been in the right place at the right time with a team that had enough parts around him to allow him to appear to be better than maybe he really is.

The guys expected to catch the passes from Flacco fall into that same “strong but how strong?” category.  Torrey Smith enters a contract year with numbers that have been very good, but without the kind of breakthrough in his third season that would make him one of the best receivers in the league.  Steve Smith arrives to put some punch (perhaps literally) into the position, but it’s unclear how much he has left, especially with a balky and banged up knee.  Jacoby Jones has shown flashes, but at times he falls into the “meh” category.  And while the tight end room now boasts Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels, the Ravens claim they coveted rookie Eric Ebron.  If they wanted Ebron, how good do they really feel about the guys they have?

Despite plenty of changes in recent years, the front seven on defense sets the tone, led by defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and linebacker Elvis Dumervil.  Linebacker Daryl Smith became a free-agent steal last year, and he’s now one of the anchors of the unit.

Safety Matt Elam made a big impact as a rookie, helping the secondary weather the departure of Ed Reed.  Cornerback Lardarius Webb should be better more than a full year after tearing an ACL, and competition should shake out the rest of an understated but talented depth chart.

On special teams, the Ravens have one of the league’s best kickers in Justin Tucker.  Which makes it easier to squeeze out close games premised on field-position battles — and which could be the difference between making to the playoffs or going home early for the second straight season.

Weaknesses.

The offensive line took a big step back last year.  The outcome would have been worse but for the midseason arrival of left tackle Eugene Monroe via trade with Jacksonville.  A huge hole currently exists at right tackle with the decision not to bring back Michael Oher, and Gino Gradkowski couldn’t fully fill the shows of the retired Matt Birk.  The line will need to get better quickly or the new offense under Gary Kubiak won’t.

At running back, a looming suspension of Ray Rice and an early off-field incident from Lorenzo Taliaferro complicates the depth chart at the start of the season.  Rice, who likely will be gone for at least one game if not more, will need to be replaced by Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, and/or Taliaferro.

Speaking of Rice and Taliaferro and the various other Ravens who found trouble in the offseason, the franchise currently has earned the title of the reigning NFL renegades.  They’ll all undoubtedly pay for it in training camp, thanks to a head coach who has little tolerance for nonsense, but who has been forced to tolerate plenty of it.  While a positive reaction from the players could turn that weakness into a strength, the misadventures of multiple players are a problem that needs to be solved.

Changes.

In his first full year as offensive coordinator, Jim Caldwell didn’t do nearly as well as he did down the stretch in 2012.  But Caldwell still did well enough to get himself a head-coaching job in Detroit.  Gary Kubiak, fired after seven years of coaching the Texans, brings a new system to town, with zone-blocking, one-cut running, roll-out passing, and all sorts of other stuff the Ravens didn’t do on a regular basis last year.  The team’s ability to adapt will determine its ability to thrive.

The offense got better with the arrival of Steve Smith and Owen Daniels, and it got worse with the departures of tight end Ed Dickson, fullback Vonta Leach, and Oher.  If they can adequately fill the hole at right tackle, the offense should be fine.

On defensive, losing lineman Arthur Jones to the Colts hurts, but when a team has a great collection of linemen it’s impossible to pay them all.  Also being paid elsewhere will be linebacker Jameel McClain, cornerback Corey Graham, and safety James Ihedigbo.

Position battles.

A fifth-round pick a year ago, Rick Wagner gets the first shot to replace Oher at right tackle.  If Wagner can’t do it, Ryan Jensen provides a Plan B, and Kelechi Osemele could be moved back outside if necessary.

At inside linebacker, 2013 second-rounder Arthur Brown and 2014 first-rounder C.J. Mosley will square off for the starting job and total reps.  If the Ravens thought Brown could get it done, they wouldn’t have had to draft Mosley.  That said, we’re told that Brown had a very strong offseason, possibly responding to the challenge presented by the addition of Mosley.

At cornerback, Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown will battle for the nickel job, and Darian Stewart and Terrance Brooks will compete for a starting safety job, with Stewart getting the first shot.

Prospects.

At a time when the best teams in the NFC have the physicality to routinely pilfer the juice-box money of the best that the AFC has to offer, the Ravens are one of the few teams that can match the muscle of the likes of the 49ers and Seahawks.  But before the Ravens can face the NFC champion, they need to climb the playoff tree.  Before they can do that, they need to qualify for a seat at the postseason table.

They definitely can get there.  And their placement at No. 7 as the season arrives means that we think they will.

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106 Responses to “Preseason Power Rankings No. 7: Baltimore Ravens”
  1. tedmurph says: Jul 19, 2014 3:53 PM

    Well, the last of the pretenders are out of the way. The Super Bowl winner will come out of the top 6, in whatever order they come in. Those are the teams that have the legit shot.

  2. ctiggs says: Jul 19, 2014 3:56 PM

    About damn time, they should have been 17th.

  3. winninaintsinnin says: Jul 19, 2014 3:58 PM

    Serious?

  4. faepernick says: Jul 19, 2014 3:59 PM

    # 7? So many teams should rank over the Ravens. Three teams in both the AFC & NFC West alone are better than Baltimore right now. Not to mention the Packers, Eagles, Saints, Patriots, Colts, Bengals, etc.

    Top ten should look something like:

    Seahawks
    49ers
    Broncos
    Patriots
    Saints
    Colts
    Panthers
    Eagles
    Cardinals
    Bengals/Chargers/Chiefs

  5. football025 says: Jul 19, 2014 4:01 PM

    Very average team

  6. dennisatunity says: Jul 19, 2014 4:11 PM

    In this day and age–and with a $120 million contract–it is unbelievable that Flacco or any QB would not get together with his receivers in the offseason. Without the coaches around, it’s the best way to build rapport between receivers and the QB, learn subtle nuances of each other, and begin learn the offense.

  7. ravensbob says: Jul 19, 2014 4:14 PM

    I bleed purple and gold but we are an 8-8 team. Will be Harbaugh’s final year.

  8. opinevain says: Jul 19, 2014 4:17 PM

    Good rank. I feel the Ravens are slept on due to the big names not being there. I knew the absence of Matt Birk was bigger than anything. #ravensnation

  9. nickster31 says: Jul 19, 2014 4:18 PM

    Even the strengths here looked like problems. I think you forgot the 1 before the 7.

  10. handsofsteelhartofstone says: Jul 19, 2014 4:20 PM

    Whoever made this list has absolutely no credibility. NONE!!

  11. lanman11 says: Jul 19, 2014 4:21 PM

    Next up, Green Bay.

  12. krabballs says: Jul 19, 2014 4:21 PM

    11-5; division winners.

  13. GenoAtkinswillnotbestopped says: Jul 19, 2014 4:22 PM

    Bengals own the north.

  14. ravenschick says: Jul 19, 2014 4:27 PM

    Where to start.

    Flacco – What is it with the QB needs to play catch with his WRs in the off-season? Kubiac wasn’t even done with the play book. Now, according to Kubiac, Flacco has the entire playbook down and is ready to go.

    OL – It was the reason why this team went 8 – 8. KO will be back at LG, Monroe has a complete off-season with the Ravens, didn’t mention Jeremy Zuttah who we traded for to replace the pathetic Gradkowski. Yanda is healthy. The only question mark is Wagner.

    Offense – It did not get worse losing Ed Dickson (who Ravens fans call Ed Brickson because the guy can’t catch a cold) or Leach (who was barely used last year and now will be replaced by Kyle J.). The offense got better because of a healthy Pitta and Rice, the 3rd down abilities of Steve Smith Sr and most of all, an offensive system that is a proven winner.

    Nickel CB – Completely missed that the Ravens picked up vets Aaron Ross and Domique Franks.

    So haters, keep on hating. The Ravens will be back to the playoffs this year.

  15. ncarolinabluze says: Jul 19, 2014 4:29 PM

    Last year they were an 8-8 team that didn’t rank in the top-10 of any offensive or defensive categories. They didnt make any impact moves in the draft or free agency. The Ravens offseason news was signing a 35 year old WR, reaching for another LB in the draft, arrests, suspensions, and Flacco continuing to show lack of leadership.
    I would be pretty worried about the state of affairs if I was a Ravens fan. Looking at this season, they play 12 games against very tough competition in the AFC North and NFC South. They are installing a new offense their QB doesnt seem to care about, while losing their best FB, TE, O-lineman, and probably RB Rice for awhile. Yikes.

    You gotta love Ozzie and Harbaugh, as well as the Ravens history, but come on this ranking is nonsense.

  16. ncmalko1 says: Jul 19, 2014 4:35 PM

    I have a ton of respect for the Ravens and what they’ve accomplished. I dont want to sound like the typical troll blasting a team but I just dont get it. No RB, poor QB play, bad OLine, OK WR’s, not a top 10 D anymore. If they did this ranking off respect I get it, but this team has ZERO young stars.

    Someone tell me where they are good outside of LBer. Maybe Im off base but I just cant see how they are even top 15?

  17. brokebackbrees says: Jul 19, 2014 4:35 PM

    Way too high! Kinda seem more like a middle of the pack team.

  18. natijim235 says: Jul 19, 2014 4:35 PM

    AFC N

    Bengals
    Steelers
    Ravens
    Browns

  19. ripwarrior says: Jul 19, 2014 4:38 PM

    I am a raven fan and think that they are ranked too good on this list. Hopefully I am wrong.

  20. bobbob1eye says: Jul 19, 2014 4:39 PM

    1.) Saints
    2.) Seahawks
    3.) Broncos
    4.) 49ers
    5.) Patriots
    6.) Packers

  21. jtbsteeler says: Jul 19, 2014 4:58 PM

    This joke tells itself.

  22. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Jul 19, 2014 4:59 PM

    It says something when a “strength” of the Ravens (Flacco) is barely better than what is supposedly the Bengals’ biggest weakness (Dalton). Btw, the Ravens front 7 is aging and not as good as the Bengals’ (Burfict, Atkins, Dunlap, etc). The Bengals will crush the Ravens again this year on their way to another AFCN title.

  23. FinFan68 says: Jul 19, 2014 5:02 PM

    Wow, I must have witnessed a completely different offseason than the author of this article.

  24. tigerlilac says: Jul 19, 2014 5:02 PM

    If you rate the last six teams you need only look at three things: head coach, quarterback, and defense. Green Bay and New Orleans have have two out of three, that puts them at six and five, respectively. The four byes, and likely the four teams competing to go to the Super Bowl in their respective conference championships will be NE v. Denver and SF v. Seattle. I have to go with Seattle in the Super Bowl versus whichever of NE and Denver produce the better defense this year.

  25. scw1993 says: Jul 19, 2014 5:04 PM

    There’s no improvement, or, upgrade for the ravens…they’re too busy spinning for the 5 or 6 players who got arrested, and the fact they didn’t cut rice the wife beater is a travesty. He should have been GONE the second he was indicted. No respect for newsome, or the organization. I’m willing to bet that some of the other players in that locker room have some thoughts on a wife beater as well.

  26. thefiesty1 says: Jul 19, 2014 5:08 PM

    Really????? Wishful thinking.

  27. tigerlilac says: Jul 19, 2014 5:09 PM

    Actually, I think there will be an upset getting to the AFC Championship game this year. Indy will be playing at NE, with Denver upset. Luck will be the difference but he won’t make it to the Super Bowl.

  28. ezmoover says: Jul 19, 2014 5:15 PM

    Rats at 7?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA

  29. notwhoyouthinkitis says: Jul 19, 2014 5:17 PM

    This ranking is absolutely laughable. Flacco will never be more than an average QB at best. He does not carry the team and is only good when he has great WRs. Which they don’t now. And the Ravens will definitely regress this year. Not a doubt about it. Seriously, this is the most absurd ranking yet. The Ravens are not a top 15 team let alone this rank.

  30. waynesborokennyg says: Jul 19, 2014 5:32 PM

    Ravens are already overrated!!!

  31. descendency says: Jul 19, 2014 5:32 PM

    People hate on Flacco because he has some bad games, but he also has some really good ones. He’s mostly average. He’s basically the worst QB you want to keep long term, which isnt really an insult (it means you’re a franchise guy) but it’s not really high praise either.

    A small detail: The Ravens finished 3rd in their division last year, so their schedule will reflect that. I expect the Ravens to look like a dominant team this year.

  32. jfkelly1 says: Jul 19, 2014 5:34 PM

    Ravensbob, “purple and gold”, You must be a Viking fan. Certainly not a Raven fan!

  33. t8ertot says: Jul 19, 2014 5:38 PM

    I can’t wait for week one when Cincy comes to Bmore and opens a can. Can you say overrated? Bengals own the north

  34. jacktheraven says: Jul 19, 2014 5:46 PM

    Right, Ravensbob says he bleeds purple&gold. He can’t even get the colors right. Fraud!

  35. deljzc says: Jul 19, 2014 5:48 PM

    Steelers 15th
    Ravens 7th

    Both finished 8-8 last year.

    One has Roethlisberger and one has Flacco.

    Yeah… makes a hell of a lot of sense.

  36. jacktheraven says: Jul 19, 2014 5:49 PM

    Some of Florio’s opinions about Joe are ridiculous. There is not one Coach or FO person, with The Ravens, that doubts Joe’s determination to be a SB winner.

  37. baronvonheil says: Jul 19, 2014 6:04 PM

    This is officially the most over-rated team on this list. If the Ravens finished dead last in the AFC north I would not be shocked. Cincy already has overtaken them, the Steelers got a lot better in the off-season, heck even the Browns have more reason to be excited than the Ravens do. The wheels are completely off, they need to rebuild, and they can thank captain over-rated: Joe Flacco for eating up cap space and making it very tough for them to climb back to where they need to get. The only thing the Ravens looked good at this off season was getting arrested. John Harbaugh is a good coach, he’ll manage to get them to 8-8, I hope people realize that takes some doing with this undermanned roster. The got real old and slow on defense real quick and they have no balance on offense.

  38. Ed Bandell says: Jul 19, 2014 6:05 PM

    There is a position battle for Punter as well. Koch wasn’t his normal very good self last season and everyone saw that. There’s a rookie in camp to either push him forward, or out of a job.

    There were all sorts of issues with getting receivers in for a game of catch. First off, all the receivers were in different states doing their off season workouts. I’d rather have them getting in shape then, coming to camp in good shape, and then learning at full speed with the new OC on the field rather then have them all sucking wind and playing catch up in camp to get in shape and perhaps practicing the wrong things or not correctly because nobody knows how exactly the plays are supposed to be run. They’d also be doing this with no defense on the field to play against.

    With some more play action and rolling Joe out of the pocket, that could certainly help the offensive line. Joe is much more of an athlete than people think he is and can handle bootlegging and rolling out. He can even take off and scamper for some yards if he has to.

    Smith isn’t going to be here forever, so drafting Mosley was a no brainer because they didn’t know how healthy Brown was going to be.

    Depth at corner is a concern and there is a question mark at RT, other than that this team is looking pretty solid.

  39. jakec4 says: Jul 19, 2014 6:11 PM

    Fair analysis. I’m not so worried about RT because Ozzie has shown time in and time out that if he doesn’t have the player who can get it done already on the roster, he’ll bring in someone before the season starts that can at least be a serviceable stop gap.

    Whether or not Flacco has become complacent remains to be seen. Another season like the one he had last year would support the claim.

    The lack of any undisputed leader on the team is what I think they’re missing the most.

  40. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 19, 2014 6:13 PM

    this is downright hilarious

    another AFC top 10 team my Redskins would beat… and Pats still to come…

    LOL

  41. ebrownwareagle says: Jul 19, 2014 6:18 PM

    All I have to say is Joke Flacco. Lol. #7 yea right.

  42. ncmalko1 says: Jul 19, 2014 6:20 PM

    This is the only team that has been ranked that EVERYONE is shaking their heads at. Ranked 7th is just ludicrous.

  43. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 19, 2014 6:22 PM

    they are inflating the AFC teams big time; AFC is very very very weak… may have one top 10 team, and have the worst 5-6 teams in the league

  44. baltimoremikeg says: Jul 19, 2014 6:30 PM

    You don’t have to understand the ranking, just bow down to us when we prove we’re better than everyone thinks just like every other year. If public opinion won football games, the Ravens would have no Super Bowl wins and not nearly the playoff success.

    This article gets it pretty close from a smart, outside fans perspective, but we are even better than this article would lead on.

    The thing most people don’t understand is the quality of our organization vs others. There is a reason the Ravens have more Super Bowl wins than the Bengals have playoff wins in their entire existence: because we are a better organization. The front offices the Ravens and Patriots are in a tier above the rest or the league. We just produce contenders just about every year.

  45. arrowtoyourknee says: Jul 19, 2014 6:32 PM

    …is it just me, or did they basically tear into the Ravens for a bit, after ran king them at #7?

    Huh…

  46. poesports says: Jul 19, 2014 6:35 PM

    The Ravens have been in the upper class of the NFL for several years now. An owner committed to winning games. One of the best GM’s in football. A head coach who has won a Super Bowl just 2 years ago. Players that are both veterans and rookies with above average talent. To discount this team as simply mediocre would be unwise. Even with the aberration of an 8 – 8 record last year (trades,injuries,SB hangover), they were still in the playoff chase till the very end. Now the Ravens have a third place schedule and look to make another quality run. All we can ask for as fans is to have a competitive team with a chance at the postseason and a SB run. With the pieces the Ravens have assembled, they will once again have that chance.

  47. ghost26 says: Jul 19, 2014 6:39 PM

    This is a joke. This team will not make the playoffs. The Colts, the Patriots, the Chiefs, the Chargers, the Bengals, & the Broncos are all better.

    The Ravens have the same issues as the Dolphins–their O-line & their running game–& the Dolphins were ranked 31st??? Really???

  48. bassplucker says: Jul 19, 2014 6:39 PM

    Wow. Just so everyone knows, Joe Flacco is not an elite QB. He’s only being paid like one.

    That being said, I’ll go ahead and finish it out:

    1) Seahawks – No reason not to leave them here after they more than proved it in the Superbowl.

    2) 49ers – Will not be derailed by numerous offseason distractions.

    3) Saints – Franchise QB, great coaching and a defense on the rebound; should walk through their division.

    4) Broncos – There I said it: the best team in the AFC is only 4th best overall.,

    5) Patriots – Although you could flip them with the Broncos and I wouldn’t squawk at that, either. .

    6) Packers – The worst of what’s left by far, and 6 is WAY too high for them IMO… but it is what it is.

  49. udontknowjaq says: Jul 19, 2014 6:47 PM

    How you figure the AFC is so weaker than the NFC? The head to head last year was a difference of 4 games NFC 34 – 30 AFC! Its parity in the NFL! Just because Seattle & San Fran have to very good teams don’t make the whole NFC better. The NFCE & AFCS are neck & neck historically bad right now!

  50. bcajun says: Jul 19, 2014 7:05 PM

    Who dat you say?..Saints number 1

  51. pksoze says: Jul 19, 2014 7:07 PM

    The Ravens did win the Super Bowl 2 years ago, while I don’t believe the Ravens will have a dominant regular season, I can see them getting hot in the playoffs and winning the weak AFC. Now winning the Super Bowl…that’s a whole other matter.

  52. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 19, 2014 7:07 PM

    my top 10

    SF
    NO
    Seattle

    think these 3 are most likely to win SB (though AFC rep will have shot just because of low competition and they will get a team in SB)

    Denver – agree putting them 4th
    Arizona
    Green Bay
    St. Louis
    Redskins
    Ravens
    Patriots

  53. bcajun says: Jul 19, 2014 7:07 PM

    PS: just a friendly reminder…vikings have 0 superbowls and will always have 0 superbowls…who dat?…not dem

  54. shogunassasin30 says: Jul 19, 2014 7:09 PM

    1. Seahawks
    2. 49ers
    3. Broncos
    4. Patriots

    Then everyone else.

  55. edreedisgod says: Jul 19, 2014 7:11 PM

    Dalton blows… He has one of the Top 3 wrs in the nfl and he can never get it done… Bengals will always be the bengals … PFT trolls are the worst… Give Flacco AJ Green and it would be a record setting year… The only qb that does more with less than Flacco is Brady…. Keep trolling losers

  56. miamisaint3255 says: Jul 19, 2014 7:16 PM

    If you rate the last six teams you need only look at three things: head coach, quarterback, and defense. Green Bay and New Orleans have have two out of three,

    So Saints being #4 defense last year in yards allowed and seemingly quite improved on paper going into this year does not qualify them as having good defense?

  57. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 19, 2014 7:29 PM

    youdontknowjaq

    last year the NFC had a non playoff team probably better than the best AFC team… and the AFC has the worst 5 teams in the league… so NFC much stronger at both top and bottom.. middles are on par

    please don’t deny the disparity…. it does run in cycles and AFC and win the SB.. but do not deny the tremendous disparity right now

  58. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 19, 2014 7:38 PM

    and to the guy putting Pats 4th overall

    Pats would most likely be 5th in the NFC West

  59. ravensbob says: Jul 19, 2014 7:46 PM

    Purple and gold are the team colors. Not purple and yellow that the Vikings wear.

    Bengals
    Ravens
    Browns
    Steelers

  60. tigerlilac says: Jul 19, 2014 7:52 PM

    You are right miamisaint, looking back NO played better on defense last year than I thought. But they did not play well on the road, where weak offenses (the Jets, Rams, and Seahawks) put up big numbers on them. Some of that is due to the offense turning the ball over and penalties. I love Brees but see Rogers as a better QB because he protects the ball so much better (the one QB who protects it better than Brady). I also love Payton as a coach. Like Belichick, I think he wins games. They will make the playoffs and certainly have the ability to upset teams with weaker offenses, especially if they have home field advantage (absolutely huge for them).

  61. tigerlilac says: Jul 19, 2014 8:05 PM

    politicallyincorrect, I know Massachusetts irked you by starting the whole marriage equality thing, which is moving at warp speed now, but your obsession and stalking of the Patriots (you comment on every one of their threads) is worthy of a trip to a shrink. By the way, the Patriots of the last 15 years have the most consistency in winning of any sports franchise with the exception of the New York Yankees of the 40′s, 50′s, and 60′s. The Washington (blanks) are not so great since Gibbs first tenure ended in 1992 (22 years ago).

  62. 1952vikefan says: Jul 19, 2014 8:15 PM

    just for karma reasons Baltimore and Carolina won’t make the top 10 you jinx when you beat on women

  63. stevekronberg says: Jul 19, 2014 8:18 PM

    Gotta disagree with most of the haters….

    Undderrated team here.

    8-8 last season…

    The team improved its offensive line, plus a healthy Pitta and the grit of Steve Smith and a new offensive scheme that will put up points under Kubiac.

    The defense only improves and gets deeper.

    It will become readily apparent week 1 against the Bungles who the beast of the AFC North is.

    Super Bowl Score:

    Ravens 42, Packers 7

  64. jconn1987 says: Jul 19, 2014 8:23 PM

    While no one is going to agree 100% on these rankings I thought they were pretty fair so far. (Give or take 1-3 spots in most cases). This is the 1st one I actually laughed at. Way too high, and as far as AFC teams go I like the Ravens.

  65. udontknowjaq says: Jul 19, 2014 8:32 PM

    politicallyincorrect

    The top 4 teams in the NFL as it looks right now are the Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos, & Patriots.

    I’m assuming you mean the Cardinals not making the playoffs as the team you think was better than any AFC team in the playoffs last year.. They were a good team last year but that div the NFCW played the AFCS last year & everybody knows the AFCS were by far the weakest div in football. & even the “powerhouse” NFCW playing that horrid div the NFC squeaked out 4 wins over the AFC. It looks good on paper the top 10 of the NFC compared to the top 10 AFC but they play the games & fact is when the top teams from both conferences play it comes out even until the SB.

    & the NFCW are not always so big and bad cause when that div faces the AFCN in SB’s they lose! Head to head AFCN 3 NFCW 0 the last 9 SB’s!

  66. lovethehate401 says: Jul 19, 2014 8:45 PM

    1 Seahawks
    2 Broncos
    3 Saints
    4 49ers
    5 Packers
    6 Patriots
    7 Eagles
    8 Bears
    9 Bengals
    10 Chargers
    11 Cardinals
    12 Steelers
    Then a buch of teams you can mix and match

    I don’t get the whole colts thing they have no o-line and can’t stop the run. Redskins kinda scare me with that offense.

  67. pttbrand says: Jul 19, 2014 9:01 PM

    I think they will go 9-7 at best. Still better than my Cowboys will do. :(

  68. blueballzny says: Jul 19, 2014 9:17 PM

    I understand the questions about Flacco, and the GlEN questions are certainly legit. However, the Ravens D is gettingv way too much credit. Their safeties are unproven, their CB’s are slightly better than average, and Suggs has been on the decline when he hasn’t been injured. Who are the pass rushers that teams fear? Haloti is starting to get up there in age and when he’s been injured their front 7 can be pushed around. I like the LB they drafted, but in my mind the Ravens D is not as solid as this ranking makes them out to be .
    .As a Giant fan, I would feel extremely confident about my team going into Baltimore and beating them in their own house.

  69. blueballzny says: Jul 19, 2014 9:19 PM

    * sorry. Meant RB questions are legit

  70. sladewillson says: Jul 19, 2014 9:25 PM

    ncarolinabluze says:
    Jul 19, 2014 4:29 PM
    Last year they were an 8-8 team that didn’t rank in the top-10 of any offensive or defensive categories. They didnt make any impact moves in the draft or free agency. The Ravens offseason news was signing a 35 year old WR, reaching for another LB in the draft, arrests, suspensions, and Flacco continuing to show lack of leadership.
    I would be pretty worried about the state of affairs if I was a Ravens fan. Looking at this season, they play 12 games against very tough competition in the AFC North and NFC South. They are installing a new offense their QB doesnt seem to care about, while losing their best FB, TE, O-lineman, and probably RB Rice for awhile. Yikes.

    You gotta love Ozzie and Harbaugh, as well as the Ravens history, but come on this ranking is nonsense.
    ________________________________________________

    What are you talking about? What FB, TE, & Olinemen are the ravens losing?

  71. blueballzny says: Jul 19, 2014 9:42 PM

    @ravenschick: the fact that you thin adding Aaron Ross improves your CB position shows that you have no idea who he is. He is complete garbage, and that is no exaggeration. The only reason he is there is bc of his ties to Spags. Guarantee he doesn’t even make the team.

    @jacktheraven: you rip on someone else for not knowing the teams colors, yet he was right end you were wrong. You Ravens fans sure know little about your team.

    $100 says that Jimmy Smith is the CB that gets a cheap shot punch to the face when he’s not looking by Steve Smith!

  72. hakunamangata says: Jul 19, 2014 9:46 PM

    Ok let’s imagine your team lost it’s two starting receivers who can move the chains underneath and attack the middle of the field, leaving you with only a deep threat and intermediate receiver. Then let’s say you lose one of these deep threats and rely on two undrafted free agent receivers along with a player cut to start the year.

    Now let’s also say your two top running backs are hurt leaving you with no ground game, along with losing your starting guards to injury, forcing you to constantly reshuffle your offensive line and start PFF’s lowest ranked LG, and center.

    Add in the fact that you have an entirly different defensive unit with only four starters returning the year prior, and the lowest ranked free safety starting and manning the calls in the defensive backfield.

    Even with all of that let’s say your quarterback helps lead you to an 8-6 record before injuring his knee effectively ending his season while being one quarter away in a tie game from leading them to the playoffs on the road.

    Still think this team is average?

  73. petehimself2112 says: Jul 19, 2014 9:49 PM

    Ravens defense will be one of the best defenses in points per game and top 10 yards allowed. You will fear it…….u just don’t know it yet.

    Smith sr. and and Pitta/ Daniels working the middle. Torrey and Jacoby taking the top of the defense…..and look who’s left 6’5 Marlin Brown I. The end zone who is a lock for 12+ touchdowns.

  74. scrotiemcb says: Jul 19, 2014 10:02 PM

    A famous line from the great french playwright Excrémente Cambrioleur’s masterpiece ‘Le Sphincter Monologues’ sums all this up very nicely. Translated, roughly, it captures the climax of an interrogation of the protagonist, who has found himself at a fundamentalist Hindu behavior medication camp, by the camp director:

    “When my Bishop emerged malodorously, I finally knew I was right where I was meant to be. I pleaded to the elephant, and he just screamed.”

    If that doesn’t capture the plight of the Ravens, I’m not sure what does.

  75. ncarolinabluze says: Jul 19, 2014 10:15 PM

    FB Vonta Leach, TE Ed Dickson, O-Lineman Michael Oher.
    Flacco doesnt care, he’s chillin bro. He’s got a brand new 35 year old WR, and his boy Ray Ray Rice says jail aint so bad.
    Read up, Baltimore Buzzards bandwagon.

  76. ncarolinabluze says: Jul 19, 2014 10:19 PM

    Lol, again. This ranking and defending this teams offseason is great for PFT page views

  77. tictoccpthook says: Jul 19, 2014 10:34 PM

    ‘get out of jail free’ cards will be needed to field a team each week.

  78. sambaughslingers says: Jul 19, 2014 10:44 PM

    tedmurph has it right. The Super Bowl champ will come from the top 6.

  79. jtbsteeler says: Jul 19, 2014 10:49 PM

    This will be a fun season on forum. One more week.

  80. nite2al says: Jul 19, 2014 10:58 PM

    You guys need to realize that in the NFL for many teams the difference between 8-8 and 12-4 is so minute. That was the Ravens last year and missing Dennis Pita was the biggest blow; he was Flacco’s security blanket. # 7 seems about right. Only way to go is up.

  81. fullbacksarepeopletoo says: Jul 19, 2014 11:28 PM

    Not sure what all the hatred is about with the Ravens. They have clearly upgraded this offseason.

    -New Center to replace useless Gradkowski.
    -Got rid of Brick Hands Ed Dickson and replaced him with Owen Daniels at 2nd Depth Tight End.
    -Moved Matt Elam to Strong Safety and have two young guns battling for Free Safety.
    -Got Kelechi Osemele back from injury to put back into Left Guard.
    -Still have the best Right Guard in the league.
    -Signed an extension to Eugene Monroe, Jacoby Jones, Dennis Pitta, and Daryl Smith.
    -New Inside Linebacker drafted to work with Daryl Smith.
    -Got rid of “False Start” Michael Oher. Idc who replaces him. A hat rack is better and will not cost us as many penalties.

    Ravens have a strong possibility to win division. Bengals didn’t make enough changes in the offseason and the Steelers won’t be contenders again for quite a while. If the Ravens don’t win, they will take a Wild Card slot. I expect great things this year.

  82. baltimoresnativeson says: Jul 19, 2014 11:54 PM

    Spot on Florio.

  83. footballfan0427 says: Jul 20, 2014 12:39 AM

    Sorry folks. I’ll believe people that actually get paid to watch and follow football over fans like us that think they know the game because they played high school ball. Ever notice that even former players and coaches like the ravens and flacco, but I guess you know more because you score 4 TDs in 1 game on a Friday night 20 years ago.

  84. realmenwearstripes says: Jul 20, 2014 1:04 AM

    So the Ravens are 7th because “they’re the Ravens?” Then why aren’t the Browns 32nd because “They’re the Browns?”

  85. samoanjungle says: Jul 20, 2014 1:20 AM

    They were 8-8 and didn’t do much in the offseason so i say 15-16 rank

  86. nightrain42 says: Jul 20, 2014 2:13 AM

    7?7?…that’s a joke

  87. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 20, 2014 5:54 AM

    It’s too high. They should definitely be improved over last year but I’m not at all convinced they bounce back into the top 10 teams. Keep it real PFT.

  88. bucsorbust says: Jul 20, 2014 6:42 AM

    Nothing against the Ravens here. But I’d say the Ravens had better win their division, or there are no playoffs for them this year. BUF, NYJ, CIN, or KC are the frontrunners for those spots. Ranking the Ravens #7 is about 6 spots too high. Count on it.

  89. bucsorbust says: Jul 20, 2014 6:43 AM

    That is, BUF, NYJ, CIN, or KC are the frontrunners for the wild card spots.

  90. voiceofreasonsays says: Jul 20, 2014 7:22 AM

    Roth>Hoyer>Dalton>Flacco>A guy off the street>Manziel

  91. Canton Bulldogs says: Jul 20, 2014 8:16 AM

    Thank god that’s over. Now maybe you’ll can realize the whole point of a preseason ranking, before camp even starts, is to fill dead air and keep page views high before, you know, camp starts. Rankings mean nothing unless it is the end of a season and the ranking determines post season spots. Then the teams earned it.

  92. jacktheraven says: Jul 20, 2014 8:59 AM

    The Ravens colors are Purple & Black. Gold is a secondary color.

  93. zappa69 says: Jul 20, 2014 9:02 AM

    I have
    6 SF (kap hits a wall)
    5 GB (if def shows up +)
    4 NE (tired team)
    3 NO (chip on shoulder, Brees+)
    2Den
    1 Seattle ( until someone beats them #1)

    SB

    Denver> GB

    Vikes Fan.

  94. keeppounding says: Jul 20, 2014 9:11 AM

    Maybe in Harbaugh land…

  95. smitty152169 says: Jul 20, 2014 10:01 AM

    What a joke that they r higher then the Colts and the Bengals!

  96. hustmy2cents says: Jul 20, 2014 12:52 PM

    First I will say this to all the haters. Have you even seen the games this team plays? This team with that terrible offensive line last year was 8-8 and they lost around 3 to 4 games by 3 points or fewer. Teams like the packers browns and bears beat them but by 3 points or fewer. What most of you don’t see is the line was terrible and Flacco had pitta miss almost half the season to start out and 8 new starters. Now take that in. Ok now those of you who say negative stuff just a few years ago the ravens changed coordinators and got rid of some older guys and guess what they went to the playoffs and they beat pitt twice doing it i believe not sure fully but i think they did. Sure people will gloat on Flacco throwing 22 picks and Rice not getting a 1000 yards but if you know anything about football at all most of this can be attributed to a bad offensive line period. This just means that most people don’t think that Baltimore can’t make the playoffs even though they almost did last year and was in control until the end of the season. Injuries I won’t say as all teams deal with them but we had our fair share. Bengals fans and those who don’t watch football outside of their team should know just like the steelers you should never count out the ravens as we beat your team last year as well. Our season hinges on 2 things mostly. The offensive line getting back to presentable mostly the RG position and how fast they get the offense clicking. People not sold on Steve Smith Sr. should be as He is a better 2 then most in the NFL. 2 tight ends that can actually catch the ball and a defense that should be better then last year. Most of our star players were hurt but are now healthy which is huge.I think they squeak in due to their schedule being a little rough this year at 9-7. Think they beat out for wild card. Lets just hope we get a proven RG and maybe a better nickle and we should be fine. Anyways gl to all people and all their teams.

  97. randy8123 says: Jul 20, 2014 3:50 PM

    You lead with two strengths that you basically said might not be strengths. Seems like the seventh best team in the league might have strengths that were actually, um, strengths.

  98. poorcalvinisstuckonthecrappylions says: Jul 20, 2014 4:40 PM

    The Ravens DO NOT belong in the top ten.

    They had a lot of help from poor officiating over the years. None of their star players are good influences and their fans are all wagon jumpers!

    Both Rays (Lewis and Rice) are criminals. Wife beaters are the lowest scum on earth. Flacco is the most boring QB in the game and get to ride the poor officiating coat tails.

    Bring it wagonjumpers!! Who did you root for before ’96???? Losers!

  99. ravenswinsuperbowl47 says: Jul 20, 2014 5:20 PM

    10 months ago the Ravens were still the reigning Super Bowl champs. Getting rid of Caldwell, bringing in Kubiak, returning Pitta, signing Steve Smith improving center and RT = the Ravens offense can get back to its 2012 playoff form. For those with short memories, that offense steamrolled Colts, Broncos, Patriots, and 49ers. Flacco went 11 TDs, no INTs.

    11-5 AFC North and a run towards the AFC Championship are realistic targets for this team.

  100. FinFan68 says: Jul 20, 2014 8:05 PM

    ravenswinsuperbowl47 says:
    Jul 20, 2014 5:20 PM
    For those with short memories, that offense steamrolled Colts, Broncos, Patriots, and 49ers. Flacco went 11 TDs, no INTs.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Your memory may be a tad short as well. Steamrolled…Not really. If not for an inexplicably stupid defensive letdown on that prayer by “Jump-ball Joe” the Ravens would have been eliminated. Granted, they rallied and won but that play was the closest thing to a player actually throwing a game that I have seen in over forty years of watching NFL football. It wasn’t Flacco. Really. It was amazing plays by the receivers that took away at least 4 would-be interceptions during that SB run.

  101. rextraordinaire says: Jul 20, 2014 8:52 PM

    The Cowboys had by far the worst defense in the league. 8-8

    The Bears had arguably the second worst defense in the league. Certainly the worst run D and easily the most injured unit in the NFL last year. Their starting QB missed 5 games. 8-8

    The Packers had a pretty shoddy defense, their QB missed 6 games and didn’t have a good backup QB or offensive line. 8-7-1

    The Ravens had a pretty solid defense. Their QB missed 0 games and didn’t play in a particularly strong conference or division. 8-8

    What are the Raven’s excuses?

  102. ravensterpsarmystrong says: Jul 21, 2014 9:22 AM

    Wow! I’m surprised. In the end, it will all play out on the field! Go Ravens!

  103. pittsburghfan71 says: Jul 21, 2014 9:34 AM

    hustmy2cents says:
    Jul 20, 2014 12:52 PM
    First I will say this to all the haters. Have you even seen the games this team plays? This team with that terrible offensive line last year was 8-8 and they lost around 3 to 4 games by 3 points or fewer. Teams like the packers browns and bears beat them but by 3 points or fewer. What most of you don’t see is the line was terrible and Flacco had pitta miss almost half the season to start out and 8 new starters. Now take that in. Ok now those of you who say negative stuff just a few years ago the ravens changed coordinators and got rid of some older guys and guess what they went to the playoffs and they beat pitt twice doing it i believe not sure fully but i think they did.

    ————————

    Steelers beat the Ravens by 3, Ravens beat the Steelers by 2. Its going to be a hard fought battle again in the AFC North and a lot of respect will go to the winner; whichever of the 3 teams it will be. If Cleveland would stop wasting top draft picks on QB’s every year they could be in that mix at some point as well but i think the Benagls will fall out before that happens. Just my 2cents…

  104. hustmy2cents says: Jul 21, 2014 9:44 AM

    You know what I absolutely agree. The Bengals however Is a tossup as both the steelers and ravens can beat them but they are capable as well. People fail to see the ravens and steelers are still one of the best rivalries in Football bar none. Cleveland Just need a consistent Qb And they will be in the discussion. They are quietly building a powerhouse. Respect would go to both as the winner would have obviously earned it. I’m sure neither the steelers or ravens Go into the game saying this will be a easy win. At least not the last 7 years or so.

  105. swagger52 says: Jul 21, 2014 1:29 PM

    If the Ravens played in the AFC East they would be higher.

    The same is true for the Steelers, Bengals and Browns.

    All of those teams are lower because of the division they play.

    That is the exact opposite of the cream-puff AFC East.

  106. ravensmike410 says: Jul 23, 2014 9:44 AM

    They got worse with the departure of Ed Dickson? Really? That guy was terrible after his rookie season.

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