Baltimore Ravens set up to cruise into NFL playoffs

By Jesse Reed
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens lost just two games last season. Looking ahead, this franchise could do even better en route to the NFL playoffs in January.

The big picture: Already loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, the Ravens improved their roster through free agency and the NFL Draft. Then, they got a gift from the football gods when it comes to their 2020 schedule. This franchise should be able to put things into cruise control and could sleepwalk into the NFL playoffs.

First, the upgrades: The Ravens are a fully-loaded rocketship on both sides of the ball. Despite a lack of big-splash free agency signings, they made smart moves. Then, they slayed the draft.

  • Keeping pass rusher Matthew Judon on the franchise tag was a stroke of genius. He racked up 9.5 sacks last year and is a key player on the Ravens defense.
  • The Ravens landed star defensive lineman Derek Wolfe on the cheap. His injury history is worrisome, but when healthy he’s a star inside.
  • Bringing back cornerback Jimmy Smith on a one-year deal will keep continuity in the secondary.
  • Linebacker Patrick Queen out of LSU will be an instant starter for the Ravens in 2020. He’s extremely instinctive, quick, and is stellar in coverage.
  • Having running back J.K. Dobbins fall into the second round and right into their laps was vintage Ravens. He’s a three-down back and will electrify the Ravens’ already dominant run game.
  • Speedster Devin Duvernay out of Texas is another enticing player who should fit in perfectly with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense.
  • Linebacker Malik Harrison out of Ohio State could be a starter in short order. Another exceptional value pick.

The entire Ravens draft was outstanding. That’s something we’ve grown to expect from this team. From a talent perspective, this franchise is absolutely stacked.

Easy-peasy? The Ravens benefit from the easiest schedule in the NFL this year, based on last year’s records. Incredibly, they have the easiest schedule by a long shot, too.

Here’s a full look at Baltimore’s 2020 NFL Schedule:

  • Week 1: Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 2: Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans
  • Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 4: Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins
  • Week 5: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 6: Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 7: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 8: Bye
  • Week 9: Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts
  • Week 10: Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
  • Week 11: Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 12: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Week 13: Dallas Cowboys vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 14: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns
  • Week 15: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 16: New York Giants vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 17: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

In particular, the end of the season is kind to the Ravens. Furthermore, they will not face a single team coming off a bye this season.

Though, it is worth pointing out that the Colts, Steelers and Browns may be more formidable this year than they were last year. On the other hand, teams like the Patriots and Texans may not be as difficult.

Travel plans: In addition to a schedule that is the easiest in the NFL, the Ravens have other significant benefit in 2020. They not leave their own time zone after Week 2. Furthermore, they will travel the fewest miles of any team in the league this coming season.

The bottom line: The Ravens are always one of the best-coached teams in the NFL. This year, they get the easiest schedule (by far) and barely have to travel compared to the rest of the league.

Barring a stunning turn of events, the Ravens will cruise into the playoffs. And nobody should be surprised if they don’t grab that coveted No. 1 seed — securing a first-round bye.