Previewing the Ravens’ Season

Ravens 2024 season

It might still seem like it’s months away, but, before we know it,  the 2024-25 NFL season will be upon us. There are many exciting changes on the way, with even the Christmas Day game for the Ravens being shown on Netflix for the very first time.

This could be a critical game, as it’s the penultimate one of the season – and by then we should have a pretty good idea about who is going to make it into the playoffs.

Obviously, it’s the ambition of the Ravens to make it through to the Super Bowl on February 9, 2025 at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. Who can forget just how agonizingly close the team came this year, only to lose out to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship final? The only consolation was that they had lost to the eventual winners.

But the Ravens have been using the offseason season well, getting into shape for the hard yards to come, and already the NFL matchups this week are looking favorable with them in third place behind the Chiefs and the 49ers. So let’s take a look at what could be in store for them.

Offense

Any assessment of the offense has to start with one player. Lamar Jackson was quite rightly named MVP last season, and it’s the second time he’s received this honor.

Any team with him in its ranks is going to be in contention for at least leading the league as well as attracting great NFL odds. And with last season’s stats of 3,678 passing yards, 821 rushing yards, and being instrumental in 29 touchdowns, the question is how much further he can go now that he’s undoubtedly in his prime.

He’s already been joking that he could throw 6,000 yards next season – but could that be the best punchline in history?

There’s no doubt that the team will be given a great deal of extra strength thanks to the offseason arrival of Derrick Henry. Brought in as a free agent on a 2-year, $16 million contract from the Tennessee Titans, he’s sure to give good value. For four of the last five years he has led the league in carries and, although he’s now 30, he still seems to have plenty more seasons left in him.

The only question is how he’s going to work alongside Jackson. Traditionally, he’s been used to lining up deep with his quarterback at the center whereas Jackson lines up in the shotgun position that suits his extraordinary speed and agility. So finding the ideal match-up for the two is going to be a puzzle for second-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken to solve.

Defense

Success has its price, as the Ravens found when it came to the plundering of the team’s defensive staff in the offseason.

The fact that the team became the very first in the history of the NFL to lead the league in sacks, takeaways and average points conceded, with 60, 16.5 and 31 respectively, made them easy targets.

Consequently, defense coordinator Mike Macdonald was lured over to the Seahawks to be replaced by the relatively inexperienced Zach Orr. Previously the team’s linebackers coach, Orr’s own career in the position fell victim to injury and now he has plenty of talent to work with.

Three players in particular stand out: Justin Madubuike, linebacker Roquan Smith, and safety Kyle Hamilton. Madubuike, in particular, has flourished and promises even greater things in the future – it’s no wonder he received a $98 million contract extension that will take him all the way to the 2028-29 season.

They have also re-signed Kyle Van Noy on a two-year $10 million contract. Although somewhat of a veteran now at the grand old age of 33, it seems he still has plenty of miles left in the tank.

Another player certain to be instrumental in any success the team has in the 24-25 season is linebacker Roquan Smith. A huge character in the team, he seems to be able to lift the performances of all those around him – and 2023 recruit Trenton Simpson is likely to be a beneficiary.

The Injury Risk

Injuries are always going to be a risk in a game that’s as physical as the NFL’s – and minimizing them will be crucial for the Ravens next season if they are to live up to their NFL odds.

Last season they lost JK Dobbins to a torn Achilles in the very first week of their campaign putting the pressure on Justice Hill and Gus Edwards to stand in. Mark Andrews also fell victim to a controversial injury that cost him to miss significant time.

So here’s hoping that things do fall the Ravens’ way in the forthcoming season and that it turns out to be a vintage one for the team.

 

 

The post Previewing the Ravens’ Season appeared first on Russell Street Report.

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Title: Previewing the Ravens’ Season
Author: Michael O’Nair

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