Will the Ravens still contend for the AFC?

The Baltimore Ravens entered 2022 looking like one of the strongest teams in the AFC. 

While they’re off to a respectable 4-3 start, the team still looks a few steps behind juggernauts like Kansas City and Buffalo. Division rival Cincinnati could give Baltimore’s defense a fit with its offensive arsenal in a rematch, and Tennessee has tormented them in the playoffs before with Derrick Henry. 

While quarterback Lamar Jackson remains one of the league’s bright stars, losses to the Bills, Dolphins and Giants show that they’re not quite competing at the level many would’ve expected. 

A few blown leads haven’t helped, either. 

Can the Ravens catch fire late and still push for a Super Bowl berth, or is 2022 another year of the Jackson era where the team comes just short of cashing in on its tantalizing potential. 

A lot will come down to how well Baltimore’s defense can rally in its first year without Don “Wink” Martindale calling the plays. The team’s former defensive coordinator is thriving with with the Giants, while Baltimore’s defense has taken a step back. 

The team has talent along its defensive roster, but overall, the unit isn’t living up to expectations. 

Jackson is also, at times, a one-man show on offense for Baltimore. Not quite flanked with the supporting cast QBs like Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow have in the AFC, it’s on him more to gut out tough wins every week. Even for a QB as talented as Jackson, that’s a tall task. 

Nobody would deny that Baltimore is a good football team. Though, in the AFC, you must get through some of the best teams in the entire NFL. It’s a big question if Baltimore, at least this year, has enough firepower to cross that difficult barrier to compete for a Lombardi. 

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