After their first playoff win in the Lamar Jackson era, the Baltimore Ravens will look to repeat their success and make a deeper run in 2021.
The Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson took a vital step in 2020; getting a playoff victory. In a very talented AFC, how far can they go in 2021?
The Ravens offense is dynamic enough to help them win games. We know what Lamar Jackson brings to the table and what the Greg Roman offense will do for Baltimore — it could get the team deep into January. In a perfect world for the Ravens, they win the Super Bowl, but it’s tough to say they’re better than the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs.
Ultimately, winning the AFC north and getting to the conference title game would be a terrific season.
It’s not far-fetched that Baltimore misses the playoffs in 2021. When compared to the rest of their division, they arguably have the least amount of talent at the skill positions, and they lost their best pass rusher in Matt Judon to New England.
While Jackson is talented, he can’t do it all on his own. With teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos improving, and the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in their division, it’s possible that the Ravens are on the outside looking in after Week 18.
The loss of J.K. Dobbins will only emphasize the fact that Baltimore needs more of an air attack. The Ravens receiving corps was among the worst in the NFL in 2020. They drafted Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace, and signed Sammy Watkins to add some pieces alongside Marquise Brown.
If the Ravens develop even an average passing game, then they’ll be dangerous. If not, they may be too much of a one-trick pony to contend with the NFL’s elite.
Biggest game: Week 2 vs. Kansas City
The Chiefs have absolutely owned the Ravens in the Patrick Mahomes era. Jackson has yet to out-duel Mahomes in their three matchups against one another, the most recent game coming in Week 3 last season on Monday Night Football in which Jackson threw for just 97 yards.
Jackson said it himself; the Chiefs are the Ravens kryptonite. An early-season matchup against the AFC champ will tell us a lot about who the Ravens are. Will they finally thwart the beast or will it be more of the same?
It was going to be a tough road for Baltimore even with a healthy Dobbins. With him gone for the year, an offense full of question marks, and a defense that lacks any elite talent outside of the secondary, by no means are the Ravens a lock for a playoff spot.
The Steelers and Browns both have better rosters, and several teams in the AFC got better while Baltimore stayed somewhat lateral. With a tough schedule and a roster that isn’t as strong as their divisional counterparts, I think Baltimore finished outside of the conference’s top seven.