After winning the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, the Ravens took a major step back in 2013. Now in 2014, can Baltimore rebound back to their days of Super Bowl contention, or would wagering on their offseason NFL Odds be a waste of time?
Super Bowl (+4000)
The Ravens, like most teams who win Super Bowls, saw a lot of their free agents depart. However after a in-rebuild year, Baltimore should be back on track this season. Both sides of the ball look improved, and even though there are still some concerns, at the very least the Ravens’ fierce defense should be back this year. They brought back starter Daryl Smith at linebacker, and if healthy this season, Balitmore should be able to hold teams down some. However to win the Super Bowl, the Ravens are going to have to find that magic that won them the Super Bowl in 2012. That magic is likely the offense, because as long as they are healthy this season, the Ravens’ defense looks like it can hold its’ own with the best the AFC has to offer.
The problem with taking the Ravens as betting picks to win anything this season is going to once again be their offensive line. Last season Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times, which would have led the league if it weren’t for the insane amount of times Ryan Tannehill took a sack last season. You’d think the Ravens would want to protect the guy they just gave $120 million to, however this offseason they haven’t done a lot to improve the offensive line. Michael Oher is now in Tennessee, and Ed Dickson, a good blocking tight end has also left town. Newly re-signed, Eugene Monroe will start at left tackle, however with Oher gone it creates a hole on the right side of the line. While this won’t kill the Ravens as NFL betting picks this season, it is cause for concern. I am going to be watching the Ravens’ pass protection a lot in the preseason, because it is likely the last remaining critical question of this team. However there is one more directly related question that is burning in the minds of Ravens fans, ‘what is going to happen with Ray Rice?”
AFC North (+250)
Rice was in an altercation where he allegedly knocked out his girlfriend in a Vegas elevator, and then went on TV with her to do what I think he though was “apologizing.” What he actually did was make the problem worse, and it looks as if he might face a suspension from the league. However I think Roger Goodell is too busy suspending people for smoking weed. Either way, the Ravens’ problems last season were not just Rice’s horrific play. It seemed as if a lot of the problems ran through the offensive line again. They weren’t able to create many holes for Rice to run through last year, and it showed. Rice only averaged three yards per carry in 2013, and if that doesn’t drastically improve this year, the Ravens aren’t going anywhere. I do think they will be better this season, but being 9-7 might not make the playoffs in the AFC North. The Steelers are improved, and the Bengals and Browns aren’t going to be easy to beat either. I’m not a fan of the Ravens’ offseason NFL Odds value from Bovada.