How many games will the Baltimore Ravens win in 2015? Will they make the postseason? And who will be the team's breakout star?
PressBox asked our football writers and a few local media personalities to weigh in and share their thoughts. Here are their picks for the Ravens and the Super Bowl.
Stan 'The Fan' Charles, PressBox (@StanTheFan)
I think the Ravens should win 11 games this season. I think they have as good of a chance as any of a handful of teams in the AFC to make the Super Bowl. So, what the heck? Let's say they make it to the big game and get bested by the Seattle Seahawks. For me, the breakout player of the year will be safety Terrence Brooks. I also think defensive tackle Carl Davis will develop at a fast rate.
Glenn Clark (@GlennClarkRadio)
I'm picking the Ravens to win 10 games this season. Will they make the postseason? Yes, by the skin of their teeth as always, and they'll somehow figure out a way to win a game. They'll lose to Indianapolis in the divisional round because that's what they do. I'm not sure if cornerback Jimmy Smith can still count as a "breakout" star, but he'll finally make a Pro Bowl this year.
Who will win this year's Super Bowl? I always say the Packers, because they have the best quarterback. So the Packers. Because they have the best quarterback.
Brett Hollander, WBAL (@BrettHollander)
I think the Ravens will win 10 games this season. They will make the postseason, and I think the AFC Divisional Round or better. Tight end Crockett Gillmore will be the Ravens' breakout star. Who will win this year's Super Bowl? The Seattle Seahawks.
Reeta Hubbard (@TheNFL Chick)
I think it's fair to pencil the Ravens in at 10-6. They're a solid 10-6 team. I think Joe Flacco is the key to how far this team can go, and I believe he takes another step forward into his already great career.
The Ravens always find ways to make the playoffs. In the AFC, there are about four teams you always pencil in, and the Ravens are one of those teams. Great coaching, great front office and a great quarterback will always have you an almost lock for the playoffs.
I love defensive tackle Carl Davis. I thought this was a great draft pick initially, and so far this preseason he's shown he can be an immediate asset to this football team. I think he'll quietly have a great rookie season.
Picking the Super Bowl champion is hard, because the NFL has so much parity that it's about 10 teams I can make an argument for. I'll go with the Colts, because Andrew Luck has progressed in the playoffs every year since he's been in the league. The addition of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore should be a huge asset to his success.
Tony Lombardi, RussellStreetReport.com (@RussellStReport)
Like the challenge they faced during 2000 season, the Ravens will be on the road for five of their first seven games. During that 2000 championship campaign, the Ravens started 5-2. But with four of the seven road games on the West Coast in 2015, a 5-2 record seems like a very ambitious goal. Look for the Ravens to win at Oakland in Week Two and San Francisco in Week Six, hold serve at home and start with a 4-3 record on their way to an 11-5 season.
The Ravens will win the AFC North and host a playoff game. However, if the preseason is any indication, depth will once again prove to be an issue for head coach John Harbaugh's squad. Consequently, the Ravens' Super Bowl ambitions will reach the bitter end during the AFC Championship Game.
In Baltimore, we recognize him as a burgeoning defensive star, but this season, the rest of the country will see him the same way -- defensive tackle Brandon Williams. My 1a. for a breakout season goes to Crockett Gillmore, who has shown Rob Gronkowski- and Mark Bavarro-like flashes this summer.
For Super Bowl 50, the matchup will be a clash of historical foes, and we'll be reminded over and over of the legendary duels between Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr when the Andrew Luck-led Colts take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The battle of "No. 12" goes to the quarterback with the puny arms.
Double check Super Bowl 50.
Joe Platania, PressBoxOnline (@BaltimoreJoeyP)
The schedule is a difficult one, but the Ravens often find a way to put themselves in the conversation every year. An 11-5 season, complete with an AFC North title and run to the AFC title game is not out of the question, but I like Indianapolis to take that final step with Andrew Luck and win the conference, with Green Bay winning the Super Bowl. Look for third-round pick Carl Davis to be a force on the defensive line.
Dan Rodricks, The Baltimore Sun and WYPR (@DanRodricks)
The Ravens will beat everyone but the Bengals, Broncos and Dolphins. That means they'll be 12-4, win the AFC North and ultimately beat the Patriots to get to the Super Bowl. Breakout star: Defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
Mark Viviano, WJZ (@MarkWJZ)
One of the easiest predictions in sports is 10 wins for the Ravens. They've averaged 10 wins per season in the seven years John Harbaugh has been head coach and managed to field a consistently competitive team in a salary cap league who's structure requires constantly changing rosters.
Another one of the easiest predictions in sports is that the Ravens will make the playoffs. They've earned a postseason spot in six of the seven years during the Harbaugh-Joe Flacco coach-quarterback combo era. How far they go is often times more of a product of luck (a Broncos defender falls down on a last-second desperation pass in 2012; a Ravens kicker misses a sure field goal in 2011, etc.). So how far any team goes once they qualify for the playoffs is a coin flip, in my opinion.
As far as breakout stars, I have two -- C.J. Mosley and any of the Ravens' backup running backs. Starting with Mosley, you can say his rookie year was his "breakout" season, but I can see him taking his game to a true star level in his second season. Meanwhile, running back is the most interchangeable position in the game, and one usually emerges when another is unavailable -- like Justin Forsett did last season.
Back to what I say about the playoffs being a coin flip: I have no idea, but if I have to make a guess, I'll say Andrew Luck and the Colts win Super Bowl 50. What I like most about sports is not knowing and watching unexpected outcomes unfold.
Glenn Younes, PressBoxOnline.com (@gunitradio)
This is yet another year of transition for the Ravens' offense -- new coordinator, the tight end position is an unknown and another wide receiver (Torrey Smith) is in San Francisco. Who knows what to expect? Not me. With that said, let's pretend like I'm an expert.
I say the Ravens will go 9-7 in 2015, mostly because of a decent core and quarterback who has proven he wins game behind the wheel. The road games against Denver (Week One), an improved Oakland team (Week Two), Pittsburgh (Week Four), Arizona (Week Seven), Miami (Week 13) and Cincinnati (Week 17) are all hard ones. I think Baltimore will unfortunately finish outside the postseason for only the second time in John Harbaugh's eight seasons because of a lack of notable pass catchers besides receiver Steve Smith Sr.
If I had to pick a breakout star in 2015, I'd be hard-pressed not to pick Brandon Williams. With no Haloti Ngata, the middle of the defensive line is all Williams, and he will shine in the trenches. Picking a Super Bowl winner in September is always silly but fun. My Chuck Pagano bias is coming out, as I'm picking the Colts to go all the way.
Ken Zalis, PressBox (@FansFantasy)
I think the Ravens will win 10 games this season and advance to the AFC Championship Game. Look for second-year tight end Crockett Gillmore to be the team's breakout star. And my pick for this year's Super Bowl is the Seattle Seahawks.