Week 10- Thu 11/11: @ Miami 8:20 ET
Following a 5-3 start to the 2021 season, I predict that the Ravens will have a turning point game following some tough losses. I believe this to be that game. Traveling to Miami on a short week and beating a fundamentally sound team on both sides of the ball will be no easy task, but I like how the Ravens match up with the Dolphins.
This affair will truly come down to which offense can overpower the tough defense they will have to endure. Both the Ravens’ and Dolphins’ defenses have incredible corner backs, safeties, and linebackers, but the Dolphins definitely have the advantage due to their ability to pass rush. While the Ravens could prove to be better in the pass rush with rookie Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser, the Dolphins have proven pass rushers in Emmanuel Ogbah and rookie Jaelan Phillips. With that being said, the Ravens’ upgraded offensive line and Lamar Jackson’s running ability will be able to minimize the effectiveness of that Dolphins pass rush.
This will not be the game for big passes or functional passing offenses for that matter. The secondaries will be on lockdown. The team with the ability to run the ball better will win this game and that is the Ravens. The Dolphins made a big push to improve their passing this season with Will Fuller and rookie Jaylen Waddle. This will improve the Dolphins season as a whole, but not this game. While Myles Gaskin had a great season rushing the ball for Miami last year, I think the Ravens will come in and show-off a faster and more diverse running game earning them a win in this low scoring defensive showcase.
Week 11- Sun 11/21: @ Chicago 1:00 ET
After a hard fought win against the Dolphins, the Ravens will get a longer week to prepare for one of the most questionable teams going into the 2021 season. How will the Bears offense perform this season? This question rides on Week 1 starting quarterback Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields. By the time Week 11 rolls around, I believe the Bears will have gone through a rough first few weeks with Andy Dalton and will have started Justin Fields at some point before Week 11. That being said, I predict we will see Fields in Week 11 as the Bears’ starting quarter back.
Even with their strong defense, the ability of the Bears’ offense remains to be seen which is why I like the Ravens to win in Chicago. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson lead a great defensive core, but if you don’t score, it doesn’t matter. The Ravens defense will be able to keep Allen Robinson and David Montgomery quiet enough for Lamar Jackson to do his thing and score early using the pass and rush equally. If the Ravens can score at an average rate, there is no doubt they will win.
Week 12- Sun 11/28: vs. Cleveland 8:20 ET
After a hotly contested primetime game in Cleveland last season, the Ravens-Browns rivalry will be in full effect for this showdown between Jackson and Mayfield. Will the Browns live up to fan expectations and make a legitimate run for the AFC North Division Title? Or will the Ravens re-establish dominance over the division? It is hard to say until the final weeks of the season, but this Sunday nighter will definitely be an important step for one of these teams.
The Browns have really beefed up their defense adding Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III, and Malik Jackson. This Browns defense has a chance to be special if they don’t have any injuries spark up. The Browns offense mainly remains the same with the probable return of Odell Beckham. So, who will come out on top?
These games are always up in the air and really come down to who executes the best, but assuming no injuries, I take the Browns in the first of two. This Browns team will have a chip on their shoulder after losing to the Ravens twice last year and I think that motivation will decide this one in favor of Cleveland. These two teams really matchup well and it will come down to the depth chart circumstances in Week 12. The Browns have proved in the past couple seasons they can show out strong in primetime games and at M&T Bank Stadium. I like the Browns—for now.
Week 13- Sun 12/5: @ Pittsburgh 4:25 ET
After a tough divisional loss to the Browns, the Ravens will go on the road to Pittsburgh. The Steelers are one of those teams that will likely fall off this season. While they may not go far below .500, they will definitely have to fight hard if they want to get there. The Steelers defense will still be a top squad despite losing Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson in the secondary. The offense on the other hand will have bigger problems. An aging Ben Roethlisberger who had problems last season will back again and the consistency of the wide receiver core will determine the offenses’ capabilities. The Steelers will have more focus on the run this season with Najee Harris at running back.
With all that being said, the Ravens will go into Pittsburgh with a massive chip on their shoulder and completely annihilate the Steelers for the first 3 quarters. The Steelers are known for trying to mount comebacks in the 4th quarter, but it will go nowhere. With the exception of Harris and maybe Claypool, I don’t see much consistency or ability to score often enough to beat the Ravens. The Steelers defense is good, but they will not be as hot as they were for most of last season. I have more faith in the Ravens offense to score and the defense to hold down Roethlisberger and Harris.
Week 14- Sun 12/12: @ Cleveland 1:00 ET
And just like that the Ravens will be in Cleveland taking on the Browns for the second time this season. The Browns have a Week 13 bye where they should have the advantage, but they won’t. The Browns will likely go into this game a little laid back after beating the Ravens previously, and it will come back to haunt them.
The Ravens have had great success at Cleveland the past couple seasons and this will be no different as the Ravens show out big to beat the Browns. The win against the Steelers will be a huge momentum boost for the Ravens and they will be able to use the Browns’ game plan in the first game as a way to hold up the powerful running game and passing attacks the Browns utilize. This game will still be close but I like the Ravens to win Game 2.
Week 15- Sun 12/19: vs. Green Bay 1:00 ET
Will Aaron Rodgers return to Green Bay? This is the question every team scheduled to play the Packers is asking going into 2021. Without Rodgers, the unproven Jordan Love will take the reins and try to live up to the Rodgers-led Packers. With the assumption that Rodgers will return to Green Bay for this season, I still like the Ravens in this game.
While the Packers have a solid all around defense with a good secondary and pass rush, their lack of top tier receivers besides Davante Adams reveals problems the Ravens unquestionably tough secondary can take advantage of. Even if Aaron Rodgers returns, I doubt he play as good as last year when he won MVP. Rodgers, Adams, and Aaron Jones will not be enough to beat the Ravens and their dynamic Jackson-led offense that the Packers have not even had the chance to play yet. Advantage Ravens.
Week 16- Sun 12/26: @ Cincinnati 1:00 ET
Having not played each other since Week 7, the Bengals and Ravens will be two different teams since their last meeting. The Ravens have overcome tough early losses and are now playing playoff caliber football while the Bengals are improving with Burrow and the upgraded defense. However, not much will change when it comes to the outcome of the game. The Ravens are still in another league when it comes to talent even though I expect the Bengals to be better. While this will be more competitive than in Week 7, the Bengals offensive line will still be weak and vulnerable to attack and the Bengals defense is not good enough to pick up the slack. The Ravens will leave Cincinnati with an easy win.
Week 17- Sun 1/2: vs. Los Angeles Rams 4:25 ET
In Week 17, the second Los Angeles team will come to Baltimore for an undoubtedly tough contest. Two of the top defenses and offenses will be going head to head in a game that has the possibility of being a Super Bowl matchup. The Rams will be the team to beat in the NFC this season as Matthew Stafford looks for a Super Bowl appearance and ring.
Besides the Chiefs game, this will be a huge factor in determining if the Ravens are truly contenders. The Rams have arguably the best defense in the league and an improved offense with Matthew Stafford and Cam Akers. At this point in the season, the Rams will be a top team in the league and the Ravens are on the cusp of that status. However, they will not earn this status.
The Rams defense led by Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald will be great once again and while the Rams offense may not be the best, it has improved with the addition of Stafford. Similar to the Chiefs game, the Ravens have not yet proven they can beat top teams and until they do, I can’t give them a win.
Week 18- Sun 1/9: vs. Pittsburgh 1:00 ET
For the Ravens first ever Week 18 regular season game, they cap it all off at home against their division rival Steelers. Unlike the Ravens where I see them getting better as the season unfolds, I expect the Steelers to become worse especially in the case of Roethlisberger. While the Steelers drop-off won’t be as bad as last year, they will be fighting to finish above .500. I do not expect to see anything crazy or different from the Steelers the second time around and the Ravens will win claiming the AFC North in the process. .
The Steelers offensive inconsistencies cannot be overlooked as well as the offensive line which has partially fallen apart. The Ravens are simply the better team this season. The Steelers will still give the Ravens a run for their money as usual, but the Ravens will sweep the Steelers and head to the playoffs.
Final Record: 12-5
While some analysts have the Ravens doing similar to worse than last season, and some saying they will be much better, I fall in the middle. I think they will definitely improve this season even if their record doesn’t truly show it. The Ravens have some tough games this season against top teams like the Chiefs, Browns, Packers, and Rams but I think a more competitive product will be on the field in comparison to last season. Whether they win the AFC North or not, the Ravens will be a playoff team this season and have the tools on both sides of the ball to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.