Baltimore Ravens 2009 NFL Projection:
The Baltimore Ravens enter 2009 off an AFC championship game loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers
behind new head coach John Harbaugh.
It was a remarkable season, one in which rookie QB Joe Flacco
became the first NFL quarterback to win two playoff games in
his rookie season.
The Ravens' offensive line and defense were tremendous.
And the Ravens nearly beat Pittsburgh twice during the regular season,
although let both games get away from them.
This season, the Ravens have to deal with the loss of defensive coordinator Rex Ryan,
who departed to become head coach of the New York Jets. Replacing Ryan is Greg Mattison
who has worked the position on the collegiate level.
Also hampering the defense are the losses of linebacker Bart Scott
and strong safety Jim Leonard. The Ravens hope Tavares Gooden
is ready to step in at linebacker and that strong safety Dawan Landry holds up after
Also of note, cornerback Domonique Foxworth was signed away from the Atlanta Falcons
to replace Chris McAlister.
Baltimore's defense still shapes up as one of the
league's best units with a solid defensive line, led by
Haloti Ngata, fierce linebacking crew led by Ray Lewis,
and sharp secondary led by Ed Reed.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens possess a very strong and deep
offensive line well suited for the running game.
The loss of Jason Brown at center would have hurt if not for the free agent signing
of Matt Birk from the Minnesota Vikings.
As if the Ravens weren't strong enough up front, they used their first round draft pick
to draft guard, Michael Oher from Mississippi. Not bad for the squad that was
4th in league rushing a year ago.
Furthermore, Willis McGahee claims to be at 100% after a disappointing, injury riddled
2008, in which fullback Le'Ron McClain and backup RB Ray Rice picked up the slack very nicely.
There's nothing like having a top NFL line to run behind.
The bulked up Ray Rice has passed McGahee on the depth chart and will start in 2009.
The Ravens have a lot of options at running back.
Whoever carries the rock in Baltimore in '09 should fair well.
Everyone knows the Ravens aren't much of a threat in the wide receiver department.
But they proved last year they don't have to move the ball much
through the air to win games.
However, this preseason the Ravens began calling pass more often. After all,
their offensive line is strong-- and Joe Flacco has a big Drew Bledsoe like
arm. The results have been impressive.
How about those deep outs?
Thankfully, Derrick Mason decided to return for another season after retiring
for a while following the tragic death of his friend and former Raven quarterback
A look at Baltimore's 2009 schedule
shows an unusually light schedule for a team
that appeared in the AFC title game a season ago.
The Ravens draw 7 games which most NFL pundits would consider to be quite easy
On the flip side, Baltimore only has six difficult games on paper.
However, those six games are extremely difficult.
You can see
the majority of Baltimore's 2009 schedule is either very easy or very tough-- other than
a few remaining moderately difficult games such as
@Green Bay in week 13,
and home to
Chicago in week 15.
The Ravens should have plenty of opportunities to win games
in the '09 campaign... As long as they play solid defense and run the ball well,
we forecast the Ravens are likely to emerge victorious in their 7 easy games on paper,
en route to another double-digit win season, a projection of (12-4), a slight upgrade from our
opening preseason prediction based on a solid looking passing attack. We now forecast
the Ravens to take first place in the AFC North.
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Free 2009 NFL Predictions Note:
Remember these now archived 2009 NFL forecasts were made
during the 2009 preseason.
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football campaign which may have affected
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