Best and worst case for 2022

Welcome to FanSided’s 2022 NFL preview! It’s time to look into our crystal football and take a glimpse at the Baltimore Ravens season prediction.

The Baltimore Ravens are looking to bounce back following a disastrous finish to the 2021 season that saw them lose their final six games of the year.

The hope is that with a healthy and rejuvenated roster, the Ravens will be able to return to the postseason in 2022. It won’t be an easy road to redemption, however.

Baltimore Ravens 2021 season in review

  • 8-9 record
  • 4th place in AFC North
  • Didn’t Qualify for Playoffs

It’s hard to argue that the Ravens’ 2021 season didn’t fall short of expectations, especially after the team started 8-3 and was the No. 1 seed in the entire AFC. That said, it’s also hard to argue that the team was completely to blame for their collapse.

The Ravens’ roster was decimated by injuries last season, more so than any other NFL team. The likes of Lamar Jackson, Marcus Peters, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Ronnie Stanley, and many others missed all or sizable chunks of the year due to injury.

When healthier early in the year, the Ravens looked like one of the best teams in football, but injuries took their toll. That resulted in the franchise’s first last-place finish since 2007.

Baltimore Ravens 2022 NFL Draft class

  • Rd 1: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
  • Rd 1: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
  • Rd 2: David Ojabo, OLB, Michigan
  • Rd 3: Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
  • Rd 4: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
  • Rd 4: Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama
  • Rd 4: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
  • Rd 4: Jordan Stout, P, Penn State
  • Rd 4: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
  • Rd 4: Damarion Williams, CB, Houston
  • Rd 6: Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri

The Ravens added a total of 11 players in this year’s draft including a whopping six in the fourth round alone. The early signs from the class this summer have been incredibly promising.

Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum are both expected to step into featured roles in their respective units. The former had mostly looked the part this summer and could be an early frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

As for Linderbaum, he’s battled a foot injury but is still expected to be the team’s Week 1 starting. The Ravens are hoping for a Creed Humphrey-like rookie season out of him.

David Ojabo is a pick for the future with the former Michigan star expected to miss a significant portion of the 2022 season as he recovers from a torn Achilles.

As for their other mid-round picks, the likes of Travis Jones, Jordan Stout, Isaiah Likely, and Damarion Williams seem primed for decent-sized roles this season.

The talk of the summer has been Likely who continues to impress when given the opportunity. Don’t be surprised if he finishes as one of the team’s leading receivers, even with the presence of Mark Andrews.

Previewing Baltimore Ravens offense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions: Tyler Linderbaum, Morgan Moses, Isaiah Likely
  • Biggest X-Factor: Rashod Bateman
  • Squeakiest Wheel: Left guard

The Ravens’ offense runs through Lamar Jackson, and that will very much be the case in 2022. The team is hoping to see Jackson return to his early-2021 form after he seemingly hit a lull in the middle of the season.

He’ll have a little more help this time around, at least as far as the offensive line is concerned. Linderbaum and Morgan Moses help solidify a unit that struggled at times last year. Moses, in particular, should be a sizable upgrade over Alejandro Villanueva.

The loss of Marquise Brown isn’t one to scoff at, although the Ravens are hoping to see second-year wideout Rashod Bateman step up and fill his shoes. The Ravens believe Bateman could be their future WR1 and a leap from him in 2022 would go a long way toward establishing this offense as a dangerous unit.

As far as weaknesses are concerned, it’s easy to point fingers at the wide receiver corps, but I went a different direction and highlighted the hole at left guard.

The Ravens have held an open competition between Ben Powers, Tyre Phillips, and Ben Cleveland this summer with Powers and Phillips the presumed favorites. No matter who starts, it’s safe to say that position will be the weakest on the offensive line.

Previewing Baltimore Ravens defense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions
    • Michael Pierce,
    • Kyle Hamilton, S
    • Marcus Williams, CB
    • Kyle Fuller, CB
  • Biggest X-Factor: Odafe Oweh
  • Squeakiest Wheel: Patrick Queen and the linebackers

On top of the returns of Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, the Ravens also added former Saints star Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, and Kyle Fuller to a secondary that looks like one of the best in the NFL on paper.

Williams, Hamilton, and Chuck Clark give the Ravens perhaps the deepest safety room in the league while Fuller, when paired with Humphrey and Peters, gives the team a rock-solid cornerback trio.

That secondary will be the backbone of the team’s defensive success as there are some concerns with the front seven, mainly when it comes to the linebacker corps — both inside and outside.

The Ravens are hoping to see a second-year jump from former first-round pick Odafe Oweh this season. Oweh will be tasked with leading an unproven pass-rush corps and could be seen as one of the biggest X-Factors on defense.

One player who will be under a microscope this season is linebacker Patrick Queen. Queen is entering his third year in the NFL and will be looking to live up to the lofty expectations the team placed upon him when they drafted him 28th overall a few years ago.

Baltimore Ravens 2022 coaching staff overview

  • Head Coach: John Harbaugh
  • Off. Coordinator: Greg Roman
  • Def. Coordinator: Mike Macdonald
  • 2023 Head Coach Candidate: Greg Roman

The Ravens have one of the most respected coaching staffs in the NFL led by one of the league’s longest-tenured coaches, John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh is the one who has established what we know of now as the Ravens culture and is one of the biggest reasons the franchise has remained competitive for as long as they have.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman will be under immense pressure in 2021 after the veteran coach has come under fire for his scheme in recent years. If the offense takes another step back, Roman might be looking for work.

The Ravens also brought back former assistant coach Mike Macdonald this offseason to replace Wink Martindale as the team’s new defensive coordinator. Macdonald spent a year at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh and returns with a scheme that will likely be very similar to the one Martindale ran.

Ravens fans won’t be happy with my pick for a potential future head coach candidate, but Roman is the most logical choice. If the Ravens’ offense excels in 2022 and Lamar Jackson puts together another MVP-like campaign, teams will come calling for the mastermind behind the unit.

Macdonald is still too young and new to receive legitimate head coach buzz and there wasn’t an obvious assistant to pick except maybe assistant head coach and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver.

Baltimore Ravens Awards Watch for 2022 season

Any team that has Lamar Jackson always has a chance at an MVP run, and that remains the case with the Ravens this season. Other potential award winners include Kyle Hamilton for Defensive Rookie of the Year, J.K. Dobbins for Comeback Player of the Year, and even a John Harbaugh shoutout as the league’s best coach.

Lamar Jackson, MVP

Over the first month or two of the 2021 season, Lamar Jackson was legitimately in the MVP conversation and arguably the early favorite. That was before injuries decimated the roster around him and resulted in the former MVP playing the worst football of his career.

For Jackson to be in the MVP picture this season, they’ll need him to play more like the early-season Jackson from a year ago. We know he can do it — we’ve seen it before.

J.K. Dobbins, Comeback Player of the Year

Given how many players the Ravens have returning from major injuries, it would be a surprise if the team didn’t have at least one player in the run for Comeback Player of the Year at the end of the year.

While we could go with a few different players here, J.K. Dobbins makes the most sense. The third-year running back is looking to return with a vengeance after missing his entire sophomore NFL season due to a torn ACL.

Many believed that Dobbins could be a breakout star last year. If he returns healthy this season, there’s no reason he can’t transfer that breakout year to 2022.

John Harbaugh, Coach of the Year

John Harbaugh is one of the longest-tenured and most respected coaches in the NFL so it’s always fair to give him a shout as far as the Coach of the Year is concerned.

The 59-year-old won the award back in 2019 after leading his team to a 14-2 record and he could be in the running again if the Ravens finish as one of the best teams in the league.

While not exactly the favorite for the award, he certainly belongs in the conversation.

Biggest game on Baltimore Ravens schedule in 2022

It’s difficult to pinpoint one game on the Ravens’ schedule as the “biggest,” but I’ll go with a game that will very likely have major playoff implications: Week 18 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens and Bengals are likely the two favorites to win the AFC North in 2022 and they play each other in the final game of the season. A road trip to Cincinnati is never easy and the Ravens will be looking for revenge after last season’s disappointments against the Bengals.

A battle between the two best teams in the division in the final week of the season? Sounds like can’t-miss football to me.

Baltimore Ravens season prediction: Best case scenario

The Ravens enter the year as dark-horse Super Bowl contenders, and if everything goes right for the team, they could absolutely finish the season as champions of the NFL.

That would require Lamar Jackson to return to his MVP form, players like J.K. Dobbins and Rashod Bateman to step up on offense alongside Mark Andrews, and the defense to live up to the hype.

This Ravens roster is good enough to make a run at the Super Bowl if a few breaks go their way. And if Jackson wills them to victory as he’s done so often throughout his career, the sky is really the limit.

Baltimore Ravens season prediction: Worst-case scenario

On the opposite end of the spectrum, what happens if everything goes wrong for the Ravens? It would be difficult for the team to finish any worse than last year, but a similar string of poor injury luck could do it.

Injuries to the likes of Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, or any of a number of important players could tank the Ravens’ hopes of a deep playoff run.

Or, assuming full health, perhaps Jackson picks up where he left off in the middle of last season and falls short of expectations, Given his pending contract situation, that would leave both sides in a sticky situation.

This Ravens’ roster is still good enough that it’s hard to see them totally bottoming out, but a record of 7-10 or 8-9 seems plausible if everything goes wrong.

Baltimore Ravens season prediction for 2022

  • 11-6 record
  • 1st in AFC East
  • Playoff Prediction: AFC Divisional Round loss

I think the Ravens are the best team in the AFC North, at least on paper. The Bengals seem due for regression after receiving some good fortune last season and the Browns and Steelers don’t have the quarterback firepower to keep up.

The AFC North could very well come down to the Ravens and Bengals, and I give the slight edge to Baltimore. The defense should be much-improved while the offense has enough star power to make some serious noise.

The playoffs are where things get tricky. An 11-6 record likely wouldn’t be enough to earn that No. 1 seed and a first-round bye meaning that the Ravens would be forced to play on wild-card weekend.

I have the Ravens winning a game before falling short again in the AFC Divisional Round. That’s where Baltimore could run into a powerhouse like the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs. All bets are off if that happens.

In reality, any team that finishes with 11 wins has a chance to win it all. Predicting the playoffs is often a futile effort. That said, if you’re placing bets, this seems like a reasonable outcome for the team this season.

Read more from FanSided’s 2022 NFL Preview here. For more Baltimore Ravens coverage, check out Ebony Bird

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