The Baltimore Ravens went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. But they made some good moves and get some help in scheduling that should get them back to the playoffs.
2013 Record: 8-8
The Facts:The Ravens treated converting third downs like a Kafkaesque struggle of the mind and acted like touchdowns would give them the plague. Joe Flacco was the second-most sacked quarterback in the league, with the Ravens finishing 30th in rushing yards and 29th in scoring.
Anquan Boldin was in San Francisco and Dennis Pitta would miss 12 games, leaving an undrafted rookie as Joe Flacco's second receiver. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie was more interested in defending his title as McDonald's Most Valuable Customer than pursuing another Super Bowl championship.
Kelechi Osemele had an injured back and A.Q. Shipley ,who's little more than a reserve, started for half the season. Gino Gradkowski looked like a deer in the headlights and Michael Oher was blindsided.
And somehow they won eight games.
The Ravens should be improved this year with Eugene Monroe starting a full season at left tackle, a healthy Osemele at left guard, Jeremy Zuttah at center and Rick Wagner at right tackle. The improved offensive line should allow a rushing game consisting of Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Justin Forsett to have a bounce-back year from a historically abysmal 2013 and keep Flacco standing.
Flacco should have a vastly improved receiving corps in 2014 with Torrey Smith, Steve Smith Sr., Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones, Michael Campanaro, Dennis Pitta, Owen Daniels, Crockett Gillmore and Kyle Juszczyk.
The defense improved in 2013, going from 22nd to 11th and it should get even better this year if rookies C.J. Mosley, Timmy Jernigan and Terrence Brooks contribute. Second year players such as Matt Elam, Arthur Brown and Brandon Williams could make continued steps in their development, with Jimmy Smith building on his monster 2013 season.
If all of the Ravens offseason moves work out, they should be primed for a big 2014.
If you disagree with my ranking and assessment remember:Unless it's something crazy,your guess is as good as mine.