Mister Obvious Says – Now a year past the Ray Rice domestic-violence fiasco, Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh still has an offense that is still shaken by other personnel moves. Justin Forsett has emerged as Baltimore’s featured back. Veteran receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Owen Daniels are replaced by rookies Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams, respectively. The adjustments made on offense should evolve quicker due to veteran Joe Flacco’s leadership.
Biggest Additions – Baltimore rarely makes notable offseason acquisitions but this year general manager Ozzie Newsome bolstered the Ravens’ secondary with the signing of free agent safety Kendrick Lewis from Kansas City and cornerback Kyle Arrington from New England.
Biggest Losses – WR Torrey Smith, who played the first four years of his career with the Ravens, is gone to San Francisco. Rice is looking for an employer while Bernard Pierce left to running back starved Jacksonville.
Rookie To Watch – Perriman will likely take over for Smith as Baltimore’s primary receiver and deep threat. The first-round pick from Central Florida has not practiced since injuring his knee in camp on July 30 but Baltimore believes he’ll be ready by the start of the regular season.
Marquee Match-up – The Ravens finish the regular season at division rival Cincinnati in a game that should have playoff implications. That game comes a week after Baltimore caps a three-game home stand with a matchup against bitter rival Pittsburgh. Will the Ravens have anything left when they go to Cincy?
Game Most Likely To Win – Week 10 at home against the Jaguars, who should be improved but not to Baltimore’s standard.
Game Most Likely to Lose – Week 4 on the road against the Steelers. This is Baltimore’s third road game in the first four weeks of the season.
Overall thoughts – Playing five of their first seven games away from Baltimore could put the Ravens in a hole they’ll need to climb out of by season’s end. The good news is two of those road games are against beatable Bay area teams – Oakland and San Francisco. On the flipside of the schedule, Baltimore finishes with six of nine games at home, including two three-game home stands, the last in the all-important month of December. The schedule is Baltimore’s ally overall. The Ravens do not hit the road for than a month after playing at Arizona on Oct. 26. That game is followed by three consecutive home games against teams the Ravens should beat – San Diego, Jacksonville and St. Louis, with a bye week mixed in.
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