I decided to go through the ludicrous exercise of trying to make a game-by-game projection of the Ravens schedule, and thus, what their record will be this year.
Let me preface this by saying that the Ravens look good on paper. Certainly, it would appear that the Ravens have improved the defense, particularly the front seven. And, while they lost Boldin and Pitta on offense, they still have Rice, Flacco and Smith.
It looks like their special teams experts Tucker, Koch and Jones are in the upper echelon of the NFL.
However, their receiving corps looks, on paper, to be mediocre. Outside of Torrey Smith, they’re either too old (Stokley, Clark), or too young (Brown, Thompson, Mellette), or underachievers (Dickson, Jones). I don’t want to gloss over this. The Ravens expected that Doss, Reed or Thompson would step up and make the Boldin loss less impactful. Two of them aren’t even here anymore, and Thompson has been hurt. They couldn’t foresee the Pitta injury, but he was the guy that was expected to do some of the heavy lifting in the slot necessitated by the Boldin trade.
All that said, I am picking the Ravens to go 11-5. I do have concerns about this team, probably even more than I did going into last season, but I kind of like their schedule. Only two road games are against teams that made the playoffs last year. Most of their difficult opponents outside of the division — Houston, Green Bay, New England — are here.