After dominating the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens seemed ready for a run to the Super Bowl. The NFL postseason, however, doesn’t play favorites. Despite their status as the top seed in the AFC, the Ravens crashed out of the playoffs in the Divisional Round, losing to the Tennessee Titans 21-12.
Despite that gut-wrenching loss, it’s not all doom and gloom in the Charm City. As bad as the Baltimore Ravens might feel right now, the team is still poised for long-term success.
The rise and fall of the Baltimore Ravens
Coming into the 2019 NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens were supposed to be a solid, if unremarkable, squad. The team, of course, turned out to be anything but ordinary.
The Ravens got off to a strong start, winning their first two contests, but then dropped back-to-back games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. After that, however, something clicked. Lamar Jackson played like a dual-threat MVP quarterback, the running game started rolling, and everything else fell into place; the Ravens didn’t lose another game all season, capturing the top spot in the AFC without breaking a sweat.
The Ravens earned a first-round bye, but looked to continue their dominance in the Divisional Round. The Tennessee Titans, however, had other plans. The visitors jumped out to an early lead and started feeding Derrick Henry at every opportunity; the Ravens tried to make it a game, never fully closed the gap.
In a matter of hours, the Ravens’ impressive season had been tarnished. The club, however, is still in good shape for the future.
The new isn’t all bad in Baltimore
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of a single, albeit crushing, loss, the Baltimore Ravens franchise isn’t going to crumble before the 2020 season. In fact, they should remain a threat in the AFC for years to come.
As Adam Schefter pointed out, the Ravens aren’t going to lose any offensive starters to free agency; that should allow the league’s second-best unit to return next season without missing a beat. The club also has seven draft picks and will gain two more when Compensatory Picks are officially awarded. If anything, the Ravens offense should come back stronger next season.
It’s also worth noting that the Ravens seem poised to keep both offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Don Martindale on their coaching staff. All of those factors, taken in combination, should mean the Ravens are a remarkably stable franchise; rather than trying to replace missing parts, they’ll be able to build upon this season’s basis.
Above all else, the Ravens still have Lamar Jackson
While stability and draft picks are all well and good, every NFL team needs a star player capable of making things happen. Although he didn’t get it done in the playoffs, the Ravens will still have Lamar Jackson under center.
No matter how poorly he played on Saturday night, Jackson dominated the NFL regular season. Whether he was running the ball or passing, the young quarterback seemed unstoppable for large stretches of time. While you can raise some legitimate questions about his long-term sustainability—both from opposing defenses adjusting and the possibility of injury—there’s no questioning Lamar Jackson’s talent. In the NFL, having a talent under center can make up for plenty of problems.
The Ravens might not have won a Super Bowl title, but that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom in Baltimore. While Saturday’s loss was painful, the club is still in good shape going forward.