The Baltimore Ravens had an impressive 2019 season on the field, and are setting their sights toward doing even more damage in 2020. Many see them having a great season, but how about a perfect one?
According to Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd, it’s more than possible. Recently, Cowherd explained that he thinks the Ravens can go 16-0 this season due largely in part to what they added over the offseason, the roster they maintain and the travel they have on their side for 2020. Cowherd qualified his thoughts by saying he never picks teams to go undefeated, but the Ravens have a lot working for them.
“When I look at Baltimore, Baltimore is the first team the more I think about it, the more I thought, I’m starting to think could go 16-0,” he said. “If you look at Baltimore, they bring back everybody. They upgraded their secondary. They now have the best secondary, the best running game in the NFL. Their toughest road game is at Philadelphia, they could take a bus there. They don’t go west. Baltimore travels 6,000 miles. They’re in a division where Cincinnati has a rookie quarterback, Cleveland’s got a rookie coach and Pittsburgh has an old quarterback off an injury. Baltimore is a rare team for me, I think it is very possible they steamroll Cleveland early and they just start rolling and don’t slow down. I think Baltimore, continuity, no OTA’s, a chip on their shoulder, schedule perfect, you may be looking at a 16-0 football team.”
The last team to go 16-0 during a regular season was the Patriots in 2007, but they met a losing fate in the Super Bowl after running their record to 18-0 and were unable to finish perfect. It’s a rare feat to go undefeated in an NFL season, and the last team to finish perfect were the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Since, few teams have even come close to that type of year.
If the Ravens finish 16-0, they would give themselves a chance at finishing the league’s first perfect season in decades. It would be quite a story, indeed.
Ravens Predicted for Average 2020 Finish
Others don’t see things as so cut and dry for the Ravens. Recently, USA Today writer Nate Davis took a look at making some predictions for next season, and while he had the Ravens doing some big winning, he didn’t have the title coming home to Baltimore.
According to Davis, the Ravens are going to win the AFC North, go 13-3 and win the AFC Championship while advancing all the way to the Super Bowl. There, they will lose to the New Orleans Saints.
“The top seed in last year’s AFC playoff bracket has a golden opportunity to make amends given it will travel a league-low 6,310 miles while playing this year’s easiest schedule (.438 opponent winning percentage in 2019) – one that wraps with non-playoff teams from last year over the final six weeks. Factor in the addition of veteran DL Calais Campbell and potential impact rookies in LB Patrick Queen and RB J.K. Dobbins … and this doesn’t seem like a fair fight.”
Fair fight or not, losing in the Super Bowl would be a huge frustration for the Ravens, who have spent the offseason improving in a ton of ways in order to take steps forward. Technically, it would be a step forward for the team, but it would still represent another disappointment a year after the team was booted from the playoffs early on.
Ravens Motivated Heading Into 2020 Season
Recently, NFL.com writer Marc Sessler put together a list of teams which will come into the season with a chip on their shoulder. According to Sessler, the Ravens are high on the list thanks to how last season ended.
“Those same Titans operated as a chaos-inducing, third-party candidate by marching into Baltimore and thrashing the Ravens. To the naked eye, Baltimore appeared lost in the latter stages of a belladonna voyage as Derrick Henry flung dazed defenders into the terrible Maryland night. In a flash, the mighty Ravens — their 14-2 record, their MVP quarterback and all their boasts — were reduced to salt. Few teams burn more brightly for a chance to make things right.”
The way the Ravens lost in 2019 should have them very motivated into 2020, and could drive them forward most of the year. It’s safe to say of all the pain that was endured last season in the playoffs, nobody sustained as much as Baltimore.
How they deal with it will tell how they are able to push forward this season, but it’s a good bet they will take things personally. As Cowherd says, he thinks that could push them over the top.
Travel Provides Ravens Schedule Advantage
As Cowherd pointed out, Baltimore won’t have to go far this season to play their games, and they will barely have to leave the Eastern Time Zone after doing so early on. In fact, the Ravens will only travel a measly 6,310 miles this season, which is one of the lowest totals in the league and lowest in the last few years.
What could the impact of this lack of travel mean? It’s possible it could mean a more well-rested team come playoff time if the Ravens are able to get there as most expect. It could also mean less wear and tear on the body and perhaps a smaller chance of getting injured.
All of these factors could add up to the Ravens being the team to beat and the team to match a huge record this coming year for wins.