Football Is Back! Ravens First to Report to Training Camp

SBR Staff

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 4:17 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 4:17 PM UTC

Believe it or not, the NFL is back. The Baltimore Ravens became the first team this season to report to training camp on Wednesday. Let’s look at Ravens futures from Intertops.

The first sign of the return of football season every year is when the first team reports to training camp. In 2018, that club is the Baltimore Ravens. Their rookies reported to camp in Maryland on Wednesday. That group is led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Louisville. Baltimore traded back into the last pick of the first round to select Jackson as, presumably, Joe Flacco’s long-term replacement. The way Flacco has been playing, however, since winning Super Bowl MVP honors a few years ago, Jackson might see the field as early as this season.

Flacco and the Baltimore veterans will report on July 18. The Chicago Bears rookies are the next group to report as they are due to camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., on July 16. Their veterans are due July 19. Then the floodgates really open. Why do the Ravens and Bears get to report first? Because they will play in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday, Aug. 2. Baltimore will be a slight Intertops betting favorite there. The Ravens and Bears thus will be the only two clubs to play five exhibition games.

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Rookies' First Day of Camp! #RavensFlock

🏈is back.

— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) July 11, 2018

Intertops oddsmakers aren’t too high on the Ravens for 2018 with a win total of 8, although the over is a slight -125 favorite. Their defense was one of the NFL’s best in 2017 but the Flacco-led offense one of the worst as Baltimore finished 9-7 – it would have made the playoffs as a wild-card team if not for an inexplicable last-second loss to Cincinnati in Week 17.

It was the third straight year and fourth in the past five that the Ravens have missed out on extra football, which has Coach John Harbaugh on the hot seat for 2018. It’s his 11th season on the sideline, and many will tell you that 10 years is often the limit for a coach with any team because then players start tuning him out. During the Ravens’ three-year playoff drought, Flacco has thrown 52 touchdowns and 40 interceptions.

To win the AFC North, Baltimore is a +450 second-favorite at Intertops to defending champion Pittsburgh (-300). Those two likely will finish 1-2 again because the Bengals (+1000) aren’t very good and the Browns (+1000) have one victory in the past two seasons.

In Week 1, Baltimore is a 5.5-point Intertops favorite at home against the Buffalo Bills with a total of 41. The Ravens’ choke job in Week 17 against Cincinnati last year was what got the Bills a wild-card spot, ending the longest playoff drought in the NFL.

The Ravens and Bills last played a regular-season game (they did in the 2017 preseason) in Week 1 of 2016 with Baltimore winning a snoozer 13-7 at home. The Ravens limited Buffalo to 160 yards and sacked former teammate Tyrod Taylor twice. Taylor is no longer Buffalo’s quarterback. Flacco was 23 of 34 for 258 yards and a touchdown. Justin Tucker added two field goals.

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