Finally, the Baltimore Ravens are getting their regular season underway. As you know, this is a massive year for the franchise; they have brought in the quarterback of the future, they have multiple veteran players who may be on their way out, and they are looking to end a three-year playoff drought. Though I haven’t yet predicted each game as I write this, my overall confidence level is relatively high. The Ravens have a tougher schedule than last year (though that wouldn’t be a difficult feat), but I feel they have genuinely improved and are ready to make a run. We’ll see if my game-by-game projections match that sentiment, and hopefully, I will be more accurate than I was when selecting my 53-man roster.
Week 1: vs. Buffalo
In my opinion, the Bills are one of the weaker teams in the league, especially on offense. With Nathan Peterman starting, the Ravens D will feast, and this one will be over in a hurry.
Score: Ravens – 31 / Bills -10
Week 2: @ Cincinnati
Joe Flacco has historically struggled at Paul Brown Stadium, and this year won’t necessarily be different. The Ravens will win, but the game will be ugly.
Score: Bengals – 16 / Ravens – 23
Week 3: vs. Denver
I believe Denver will have one of the top defenses in the league, and they will give the Ravens fits this week. However, I believe the Ravens defense is equally strong. Their offense will be slightly more explosive and will put them just ahead late.
Score: Ravens – 20 / Broncos – 14
Week 4: @ Pittsburgh
This series typically ends up split, and this year I think it will be the same. Both teams win at home, with Pittsburgh pulling out a tough one at Heinz Field
Score: Steelers – 27 / Ravens – 23
Week 5: @ Cleveland
To me, this game screams upset. The Browns are a better team than they have been in a while, and Baltimore has had issues in Cleveland the past few years. Cleveland won’t make the costly turnovers they have before, but neither will Flacco. The Ravens squeak by.
Score: Browns – 26 / Ravens – 28
Week 6: @ Tennessee
Baltimore lost a tough one here last season, and this year they will do the same. Tennessee won’t be a great team, but they’re a team that matches up well with the Ravens smash-mouth mentality.
Score: Titans – 21 / Ravens – 17
Week 7: vs. New Orleans
The Ravens return home for what I believe is their most difficult matchup at M&T. The Saints are legit on both sides of the ball and they will stomp Baltimore in what will be our worst loss of the year.
Score: Ravens – 23 / Saints – 38
Week 8: @ Carolina
Trying to shake off their thrashing at the hands of Drew Brees, the Ravens will make a surprise turnaround that will prove critical in the playoff chase. The defense will make a statement, making life tough for Cam Newton.
Score: Panthers – 16 / Ravens – 27
Week 9: vs. Pittsburgh
There’s no better way to back up a statement win with a victory over an arch rival. Pittsburgh will come into Baltimore looking to dampen our spirits, but the Ravens will go into the BYE week flying high after knocking around Big Ben.
Score: Ravens – 30 / Steelers – 21
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: vs. Cincinnati
With two weeks to prepare, this game is a must-win. The Ravens will be well-prepared to knock off the Bengals in a revenge game of sorts, solidifying their hold on a playoff spot – and maybe even the division.
Score: Ravens – 34 / Bengals – 24
Week 12: vs. Oakland
If the Raiders still had Khalil Mack, this game might be a little harder to call, but I see Oakland as a team ready to collapse, and I can’t find a way that the Ravens drop this one.
Score: Ravens – 30 / Raiders – 17
Week 13: @ Atlanta
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is where the Ravens’ four-game winning streak will come to an end. The Falcons will be a complete team and everyone will have trouble beating them at home, so while this loss will be convincing, it shouldn’t cause too much fear.
Score: Falcons – 28 / Ravens – 20
Week 14: @ Kansas City
I toyed with this one a lot. Arrowhead is a very difficult place to win, but the Chiefs have an awful D and a gun-slinging QB in his first year as a starter, which could bode well for an opportunistic Ravens defense. As a result, I gave Baltimore another W that will prove crucial in the division race.
Score: Chiefs – 27 / Ravens – 31
Week 15: vs. Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers will be one of the worst teams in the NFL and at this point, they will be in shambles. The Ravens will be trending in the opposite direction, vying for a division crown and perhaps even a first-round BYE.
Score: Ravens – 27 / Buccaneers – 14
Week 16: @ San Diego
This game will be pivotal in the eventual playoff standings, and unfortunately, I see the Ravens coming up short. The Chargers are a Super Bowl contender and will play like it in a defensive slugfest.
Score: Chargers – 20 / Ravens – 16
Week 17: vs. Cleveland
The loss to San Diego will give Pittsburgh the division, but Baltimore will have control of the 5-seed with room. Therefore, Lamar Jackson will make his first career NFL start, where he will struggle against a Cleveland team vouching for 8 wins. The Browns will reach that mark and avoid a losing season for the second time since 2002.
Score: Ravens – 17 / Browns – 24
Final Record: 10-6
Offensive MVP: John Brown
Defensive MVP: Marlon Humphrey
Breakout Player: Brent Urban
Ravens OROY: Hayden Hurst
Ravens DROY: Kenny Young
The Ravens will be a playoff team in 2018, and as always, they will be one of those teams that nobody wants to play. While I don’t see them being good enough to make a trip to the Super Bowl, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them win a game or two come January. It’s going to be a fun year in Baltimore; let’s get it started!