Can it really be here? Is it truly time? Yes, football fans, it is officially Opening Weekend for the NFL!
I know, technically the season opened with the Seahawks thrashing the Packers 36-16 on Thursday night, but the real action is Sunday.
Questions abound as to how the season will go for the Ravens with key unease at running back, corner back, and the offensive line set to be answered over the coming months. Since I’m too antsy to wait for the season to play out, I put my purple colored glasses on and went to work on my fearless Ravens predictions for 2014. Without further ado, below are some of the notable items we will witness (or not) in the weeks ahead.
Predictions for 2014
1. Ray Rice will rush for over 1,100 yards
Ray Rice rushed for only 660 yards last season, will at most play only 14 regular season games and is playing in a new offense. With that said, I still feel pretty confident that Rice is going to have a big year. Rice is seemingly healthy, has something to prove and running backs tend to play well in Gary Kubiak‘s offense.
2. Dennis Pitta will lead the Ravens in receiving touchdowns and make his first Pro Bowl
Losing Dennis Pitta last season during Training Camp was the first death knell of a terribly disappointing follow up to a Championship effort in 2012. Fully healthy and adjusting to a new offense that is perfect for a tight end with his talents, Pitta is set up for a big season.
3. Kyle Juszczyk will have a 50-catch season
I love good full backs, especially full backs who can catch the ball and be a real weapon for the offense. From being a safety valve in the backfield to lining up wide like a tight end, Kyle Juszczyk’s versatility is seemingly off the charts. I admittedly have a slight man-crush on this guy.
4. Justin Tucker will make three 60-yard field goals
Justin Tucker has proven over the last two seasons to be one of the very best kickers in the NFL. Last season, Tucker made seven field goals of 50 yards or more, including a 61-yarder to beat the Lions on Monday Night Football. This season, Tucker will make a trio of 60-yarders and continue to cement his status as one of the game’s best.
5. The 2014 Draft Class will prove to be one of the Ravens’ best in years
It’s been a while since the Ravens truly had an impactful draft class with multiple rookies making a major impact. The 2014 edition will change that, especially with some of the talented defenders the Ravens have added. By the end of the season, C.J. Mosley, Timmy Jernigan, and Terrence Brooks will be starting and excelling on defense, while Michael Campanaro will be a major contributor on punt and kick returns.
6. The 2014 Ravens will finish 11-5 and head back to the playoffs
My final prediction for 2014 is a return to the Playoffs for Baltimore. The Ravens will split with Pittsburgh and Cincy in the division and fall short against the Colts in Indy, the Falcons at home, and the Saints at the Super Dome on Monday Night Football.
So are these predictions too fearless or not enough? Share your predictions in the comments below.