BALTIMORE RAVENS (14-3)
CAMP SITE: Owings Mills, Maryland
LAST YEAR: Baltimore rode record-setting offense to best regular-season record in NFL, then opened playoffs with humbling loss to Tennessee that ended 12-game winning streak. Ravens got brilliant performance from NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who set single-season record for yards rushing by quarterback and guided offense that shattered single-season mark for yards rushing. But all that went for naught when Titans bolted to 14-0 lead and forced Baltimore to abandon running game in effort to catch up. Jackson ran for 143 yards and passed for 365 yards, but produced only one TD in 28-12 defeat.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DE Calais Campbell, DE Derek Wolfe, G D.J. Fluker, LB Jake Ryan, LB Patrick Queen, RB J.K. Dobbins, WR Devin Duvernay, LB Malik Harrison.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: G Marshal Yanda, DT Michael Pierce, TE Hayden Hurst, RT James Hurst, LB Patrick Onawuasor, LB Josh Bynes, DE Chris Wormley, WR Seth Roberts, S Tony Jefferson, CB Brandon Carr.
PANDEMIC CHALLENGES: Ravens tried to cope with pandemic by conducting team meetings on Zoom, but there’s work to be done on field to incorporate Campbell, Wolfe, Ryan and Queen into new-look defense. In addition, Jackson has started only one full season and needs on-field training to take next step in development as complete QB.
CAMP NEEDS: Ravens need to solidify offensive line that will be without Yanda for first time 2007 and has C Matt Skura returning from knee surgery. Offense also looking for more vertical routes from WRs beyond Marquise Brown. Defense will seek to develop better pass rush than last year, when Matthew Judon had 9 1/2 of team’s 37 sacks.
EXPECTATIONS: Ravens provided Jackson with more playmakers in Dobbins and Duvernay, so they hope to be just as good if not better on offense. Addition of Campbell and Wolfe should make up for loss of Pierce and Wormley on solid defense. Determined to bounce back from 2019 season that ended in disappointment, Baltimore expects to claim another AFC North title and put together playoff run that will lead to Super Bowl.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL