Don’t you just love the off season. Every team starts out 0-0, fans can sit back and speculate how their team will do this upcoming season. Each season brings a sense of new life and the possibilities of what ifs, Ravens fans its time to assess some of my predictions for the 2018 season.
ALEX COLLINS HAS A 1,000 SEASON BECOMING THE LONG TERM ANSWER AT RB
Many people including myself were completely confused as to why we didn’t take a rb in this years draft. The rb stock has gone up in recent years with the likes of Fournette, Hunt, and Cohen all providing immediate impact so it makes you wonder why the Ravens wouldn’t at least take one. (Even though we now hear reports that Decosta was pissed Cincinatti took RB Mark Walton out of Miami) That ship has set sail and we have our franchise rb in Alex Collins. Collins can fill that role at rb that we haven’t had since the departure of Ray Rice. There’s no question he’ll be rb1 heading into training camp and I believe he will outperform what he did a year ago and be that workhorse type back. Fumbles were non-existent the second half of the season and he carried the offense to a late playoff push. The passing game struggled and the offense was tough to watch at times last season, but Collins was the only bright spot as he seemed to always make plays when he got the ball. Ravens front office has done it again, thanks Seattle. The Irish dancer showed a great display of speed and power as he helped soldify himself in the league as a threat and someone DC have to gameplan against. AFC North is founded on defense and solid run games, the Ravens will once again unleash Collins this season as I envision him having a 1,000 yard season and getting a long term deal in the near future. In a division full of big name running backs, put Alex Collins in that category as a game changing back who will once again prove the doubters wrong.
FLACCO QUIETS THE JACKSON TALK AND HAS A CAREER SEASON IN TOUCHDOWNS
Ok guys, I get it. As of recent years (since winning the Super Bowl) the offense has been tough to watch. A few misses on draft picks and a couple injuries to key players has left the Ravens offense in need of a serious makeover. Clearly that was the focus forOzzie and the front office this off season. Looking back on last season it was obvious that we needed some guys who could make plays and shift the games momentum in key situautions in the passing game. Guess what Flacco, your wish has been granted Baltimore made a commitment to Joe this year loading the garage with a bunch of new toys. The receiving core has been completely overhauled with guys who’ve had success in the league but still have something to prove. Hurst will thrive under Flacco there connection will be undeniable. Orlando Brown Jr paired with Ronnie Stanley gives Flacco to bookend tackles who will dominant at the line of scrimmage, by time for Joe to push the ball down field (something we didn’t see at all last year) Selecting the tallest guy in the draft (6’5) in Jaleel Scott and a firery guy like Jordan Lasley who will also push for a role in the offense this year. Baltimore is giving Flacco every opportunity to succeed in 2018. Nothing like good ole competition to help motivate and bring the best out of a person and I believe that will be the case with Flacco this season. Hold on to those Jackson jerseys his time will come (please don’t rush the process) but if we want to make any noise in 2018 it will be with 5 under center. Flacco balls out this year!
HUMPHREY HAS A COMING OUT YEAR SHUTDOWN CB IN THE MAKING
I look back on this pick a year ago and not one mock draft had us taking Humphey, now that we fast forward I cant imagine our secondary without him as Humphrey will be the guy in 2018. We all are rooting for Jimmy to get back, same for Tavon Young but Humphrey continued to get better as he got more and more comfortable with the scheme. Humphrey held his own against some supreme receivers a year ago(Amari Cooper,Davante Adams, AB twice a year) which made fans more comfortable when Jimmy wasn’t able to finish out the season. New DC Wink Martindale has already said he plans on bringing the heat next season which is going to put Humphrey in alot of man to man coverage in which he will thrive. I believe he will finish second on the defense in interceptions behind Weddle and will be the next Alabama product to continue the foundation of Ravens defense. The Ravens are slowly but surely developing the faces of this defense that will carry this defense for years to come and boy does the future look bright. The juries still out on Bowser/Williams but 2018 will be Marlon Humphreys coming out party to the rest of the league.
RAVENS WIN THE AFC NORTH
Yes a home playoff game! This prediction will help to save alot of jobs and injecting new life back into the city of Baltimore as the hope of another champioship could be in sight. This division is still one of the toughest in football with the Steelers being atop the division the past two seasons. Baltimore has finally closed the gap adding some much needed reinforcement alongside a hungry Joe Flacco I think the Ravens will turn alot of heads and take the the division crown. Offense has been a letdown for quite so time now, not in 2018. Flacco has the tools this year to be successful and the defense will have that bend but don’t break mentality being in the top 10 of all defensive categories. The offense will carry the defense in some games this year that I think will help the Ravens build a chemistry that will pay dividends come late October early November. Having each others back and being accountable is what champioship teams are built on and the Ravens will re-establish that philosophy in winning the AFC North, keeping Harbs job safe and the team eyeing another Lombardi trophy.
Bold predictions are just that, BOLD. No games have been played yet and all we can do is wonder at this point. The Ravens have the pieces in place which is why these predictions aren’t too far out of reach. Barring any major setbacks look for the Ravens to be in the thick of things once again, causing stress levels to be through the roof again… Don’t you just love being a Ravens fan, we make it interesting for sure.
OTHER NOTABLE PREDICTIONS
*Tyus Bowser finishes 3rd in sacks (Behind Judon/Suggs)
*Jordan Lasley craves out a role in training camp becomes slot receiver week 1
*Kenny Young plays alonside CJ Mosely as the season develops becoming a full time starter
*Tim White makes the roster as returner
*Matt Judon gets a pro bowl nod
*Ravens start two rookies on offensive line (Brown/Bozeman)
*RG3 doesn’t make the 53-man roster