Can The Baltimore Ravens Win It All In 2021?

Life has been good for fans of the Baltimore Ravens the last few years. With the ascension of Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have become one of the most exciting teams in the NFL. But they have fallen short in the postseason in each of the last three years.

Fans are eager to find out if this year will be any different.

With one of the best defenses in the NFL and one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league, they are certainly going to be in the conversation. Which conversation? Easy—all of them.

Once again, the Baltimore Ravens have great odds to win the division (AFC North), the conference (AFC), and—of course – the Super Bowl.

Odds For The Baltimore Ravens: 2021/22DraftKings BetMGMPointsBet
To Win The Division (AFC North)+125+115+115
To Win The Conference (AFC)+650+750+650
To Win The Super Bowl+1400+1400+1400
To Make/Miss The Playoffs-305/+235-334/+260-334/+260

But did they add the right ones? However, for the postseason not to end early once again, the Ravens needed to do something during the offseason—and they did. They added what fans hope are some critical pieces in the draft and via free agency.

Baltimore Ravens 2021 NFL Season Preview

Of course, the hard part is figuring out how you improve a team that has won 14 and 11 regular-season games the last two seasons. It is not like the offense is struggling to score points; it averaged over 30.0 points a game in 2019 and just under 30.0 points/game last season.

The issue certainly is not on the defensive side of the ball. It has allowed less than 20.0 points a game for the last two years.

So, if scoring is not an issue and keeping other teams from scoring is not an issue, what is the problem?

Balance. The Ravens are so good at running the ball (No. 1 in the league the last two seasons) that they usually do not need to pass it much (No. 32 last season in yards/game; No. 27 in 2019). With the additions they made to the offensive line, the run game should be as good as ever.

But when they have needed to pass, they have struggled to do so.

It is not that the Ravens cannot pass. But what success they have is primarily due to the fear teams have of the Ravens run game. But when the run game does not work or is not enough, the Ravens do not have a passing game that can bail them out.

Marquise Brown was supposed to help out in that department last season, but he struggled with drops. However, with the addition of Sammy Watkins via free agency and their first-round pick, Rashod Bateman, the Ravens think they can elevate the passing game this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, the loss of Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue is concerning. But if their second first-round pick, Odafe Oweh, can contribute right away and veterans like Pernell McPhee can help pick up the slack, the defense may not lose a step.

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If the Ravens have just tried to maintain the status quo, they would have still been competitive. But by beefing up the offensive line and adding weapons to the passing game, it is not hard to imagine the Ravens offense becoming the most explosive in the NFL.

Assuming the defense does not take an unexpected step back, the Ravens could easily be a Super Bowl contender (which also means they are AFC and AFC North contenders). But that does not mean they are a bet worth taking.

They are practically a lock to make the playoffs, but at their odds at FanDuel are (-305), there is not much value in the wager. The odds (and the reward) are a little better (+125) when it comes to winning the AFC North, but they are not a lock to do so by far.

Pittsburgh does not project to be as challenging as years past, but it would be foolish to overlook Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. With the odds the Cleveland Browns have to win the division (+145), expectations are high for them as well.

As for the AFC and Super Bowl, it depends on whether you think the issue with the passing game has been who Lamar Jackson has had to work with. His receivers have not been the best, but he has not been the greatest passer, either.

According to PFF, he went from being the MVP one season to the No. 16 graded quarterback in the next. That kind of regression has to be concerning.

So—Should You Bet On The Ravens?

Pass on taking them to win the division; the risk is not worth the reward. DraftKings has it at +750, there is certainly value in taking them to win the AFC. But with the competition in the AFC, they are far from a lock, so keep your wager relatively small.

As for the Super Bowl, the odds at BetMGM are +1400, there is value. But, once again, due to the level of competition, do not bet the house.

But go ahead and skip your morning latte for a week.

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.