BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Preseason football has officially ended in the NFL. Players have been assessed, roster cuts have been made and preparation for the season opener is on full throttle.
With Game 1 less than a week away, here’s a look at five bold predictions for the Baltimore Ravens 2016 season.
Steve Smith Will Lead The Pack, But Mike Wallace Will Steal The Show
Steve Smith was born with a chip on his shoulder. But doubt from pundits surrounding his abilities following an Achilles tendon injury seems to have made that chip twice as big. That’s why no one should be surprised when Smith returns with a vengeance when the season gets underway. However, it’ll be Mike Wallace who makes the biggest impact. His acquisition was met with little hype following unsuccessful stints in Miami and Minnesota. But with a quarterback like Joe Flacco under center, Wallace will be able to showcase his talents on a play-by-play basis. And that’s nothing but good news for Ravens fans.
Joe Flacco Will Eclipse 4,500 Yards In 2016
Since being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, Joe Flacco has been the center of debate as it pertains to his skill level. Can he carry a football team? Is he elite? While Flacco does have a Super Bowl MVP under his belt, his stats are a lot less appealing. Fantasy football experts routinely point to the fact that Flacco has yet to eclipse 4,000 yards. Not only will he eclipse 4,000 yards this season, he’ll do it with relative ease. The weapons that the Ravens quarterback boasts are more dangerous than any group of targets he’s ever had. If there was ever a season for Flacco to perform like an elite QB, it’s this one.
Justin Forsett Returns To Reclaim and Retain Starting Role
When Forsett was released by Baltimore following the preseason, fans were rightfully shocked. The emergence of Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon coupled with the presence of Buck Allen certainly played a part in the departure. But news has slowly started to trickle in that Baltimore may indeed bring Justin Forsett prior to their Week 1 game against Buffalo. If that takes place, expect him to reclaim and retain his starting spot. He’ll be back with a vengeance to prove that he deserves to be top dog in the backfield.
Final Year In Purple For Dumervil and Webb
It’s a well known fact that Steve Smith is calling it a career following the 2016 season. But there may be other Raven veterans playing their last season in a Ravens uniform due to age and pay. Elvis Dumervil (savings: $6 Million) and Lardarius Webb (savings: $5.5 million) seem to be likely cap casualties. Barring a superb season by either player, these two will be looking for work outside of Baltimore.
Ravens Play Football In January
How improved will the secondary be? How will the tandem of Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis hold up in the regular season? These are questions that will determine how far Baltimore gets in the postseason. But make no mistake about it, Baltimore will be there. They have the pieces in place needed in order to play football in January. With a healthy campaign and a bit of luck, football in February isn’t entirely out of the question either.