Ravens' 2016 Win Total Prediction
After an injury-plagued 2015, will the Ravens win over 8.5 games this upcoming NFL season?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the over/under has been set at 8.5 for the number of victories that the Ravens will rack up in 2016. John Harbaugh's squad is also 33/1 to win Super Bowl 51, is 14/1 to win the AFC Conference Championship, and is 3/1 to win the AFC North Division this upcoming season.
A Look Back
The Ravens had a dreadful 2015 season, losing 11 games and finishing in third behind the Bengals and Steelers in the AFC North. To put things in perspective, Baltimore won just two more games than Cleveland last season. Injuries were an issue, as Steve Smith Sr. broke four of his ribs in Week 4 and then was lost for the season in a Week 8 game against the Chargers after tearing his Achilles tendon. The team also lost Terrell Suggs to a torn Achilles in Week 1, Justin Forsett to a broken arm in Week 11, and Joe Flacco to a season-ending knee injury in that same Week 11 win over the Rams.
A Look Ahead
The Ravens beefed up their offensive line with the addition of Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley in the first round of April's draft. The team also signed receiver Mike Wallace and tight end Ben Watson in free agency, as well as safety Eric Weddle. Smith is also returning for another season, although 2015 first-round selection Breshad Perriman could miss significant time after suffering a partial tear of his ACL in June.
2016 Win Total Prediction
With Flacco, Smith and Foresett all returning from injury, their offense should be better than it was a year ago. If Perriman can ever get on the field and Wallace gives Baltimore that deep threat element that wasn't there a year ago after Torry Smith signed with San Francisco, then the Ravens could be significantly better than it was in 2015.
One strength the Ravens have always had is their ability to rush the passes. With Suggs returning from injury and Elvis Dumervil back, they'll be able to put up sack numbers. Weddle was an excellent signing on the back end and will provide defensive coordinator Dean Pees added flexibility.
The Ravens should win at least nine games this season, making the over the play for 2016. The Steelers and Bengals will both be competitive again this season, but it's not difficult to envision Cincinnati taking a step backwards with the amount of changes the team is going through this offseason (i.e. losing offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, plus receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu).
2016 NFL SEASON WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: BALTIMORE RAVENS OVER 8.5