The Ravens need a good start if they are to live up to their billing as potential Super Bowl contenders according to Al Dannity.
Off-season changes Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth beef up a receiving corps that promises to help Joe Flacco continue his development at quarterback. The signal caller took great strides in 2009 but was short of weapons. Boldin offers a great possession target while Stallworth, despite being out of the game for 19 months, still has game-changing speed.
The draft was equally fruitful for the Ravens. Terrence Cody and Sergio Kindle add strength to what was an already fearsome defense. The one area of concern was Baltimore’s decision not to draft a cornerback. The Ravens’ two starting cornerbacks enter 2010 returning from torn ACLs. Given the weight of expectations on the franchise, drafting some cover would have been prudent.
Mark your calendar The Ravens will get all they can handle at the start of the NFL season with road assignments against the Jets and the Bengals. The trip to the Meadowlands in week 1 could be a dress-rehearsal for the AFC Championship game later this season. Cincinnati look capable of pushing the Ravens hard in the AFC North and they will be tough to beat in week 2.
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Week 6 sees the Ravens take on the Patriots in a re-match from last season’s playoffs. Back to back games at home to Miami and at Atlanta should prove testing in weeks 9 and 10. The Saints come to town in week 15, a game which could have major implications for the post-season.
The verdict That tough start is going to take a lot out of the Ravens early, even if they win both games. NFL betting fans should look for a potential upset of the Ravens in week 4 at Pittsburgh, despite the weakened Steelers’ line-up. The odd blip aside, I like Baltimore to comfortably hit a double-digit win total.
Those worries at cornerback can’t be ignored but Baltimore has so much strength everywhere else that I like this team to go 12-4 in 2010. Home field advantage is certainly a possibility but the Ravens will be happy enough if it can pick up a bye past the wild card round. This team is good enough to win the Super Bowl but there are at least three other teams in the AFC with as good a shot at taking the Lombardi Trophy so I’m not going to anoint the Ravens just yet. I do however like the over of 9.5 wins at -182 with Sports Interaction. It’s great value for a team which should be near the 10 win mark by December, en route to the AFC North title in 2010.