Season Preview: Baltimore Ravens
2019 was an interesting experience for Ravens players and fans alike but it had a rather disappointing end, as they were beaten by the Titans in the playoffs. However, they have the current league MVP as their quarterback and plenty of reason for optimism in 2020.
2019 Season Recap:
There were definitely more ups than downs for Baltimore in 2019, Lamar Jackson becoming the first Raven to win the NFL MVP award has to be no.1. They also went from a very beatable team to a conference juggernaut, thanks to a 12-0 run after losing to the Browns in week 4. This made them the top seed in the AFC and a favourite to go all the way to Superbowl LIV, but things don't always work out how they should.
Since their last Superbowl triumph in 2013, the Ravens have reached the playoffs three times but have never made it past the Divisional Round. This time was no different as they were defeated by the 9-7 Tennessee Titans, many may think this is it for Baltimore but I believe they have the potential to push on in 2020.
HC Harbaugh continuing to adapt:
The thing that makes John Harbaugh a great coach is his willingness to adapt to his players rather than sticking with a specific style and forcing his team to play that way. Harbaugh has just one losing season in his 12 year coaching career and that is down to taking the best qualities of his players and improving them season after season. The guy knows what he's at in the coaching hot-seat.
Harbaugh is heading into his 13th year as Ravens head coach and after striking up a good formula with Lamar Jackson in his rookie season, he took it to another level in 2019. Leading to Jackson being league MVP and to arguably being the most feard QB in football. So, I reckon they two will kick on again in 2020.
Back to Back MVP's for Lamar Jackson:
Jackson was selected by Baltimore with the 32nd pick in the 2018 draft and he hasn't looked back since. He had a 6-1 record in his rookie season and followed that up with a 13-2 record in 2019. A year which saw up throw 36 touchdown and passes and run in seven himself. The scary part it, this kid is still only 23 and while he has yet to really show his greatness in the post-season, he has plenty of time left to dominate.
It was an historic effort from Lamar to win MVP in his first full season in the league, the first player in NFL history to have 3000+ passing yards and 1000+ rushing yards in a single season. He also had a QB rating of 81.10. This guy has not even reached his ceiling yet, it was unanimous in 2019 and would not bet against it being the same again in 2020.
Marquise Brown making the step up as a receiver:
Brown announced himself to the league last season with his first two receptions both being touchdowns. He would go on to lead Ravens receivers with seven touchdowns catches. However, he was hampered by injuries throughout the season and really didn't look himself when he returned from an ankle injury after week 9. If he can stay healthy in 2020, expect a big spike in production.
Baltimore are crying out for someone to step up at wide receiver and Marquise could be the guy in 2020. I mean they the all conquering Lamar if he drops of a bit but they need an elite option at receiver and after his rookie campaign I have every belief that Brown can be that option with his outrageous speed and leaping ability.
What the Ravens must do to have a successful 2020 season:
Make it to the AFC Conference Game- This has to be the minimum requirement for Baltimore they have failed to do since they last won the Superbowl and with the talent they have it is certainly achievable. They have arguably the best QB in the NFL, a deep playoff run has to be the expectation.