There are many celebrated NFL streaks. There’s the 1972 Miami Dolphins undefeated season, the 2008-2009 Indianapolis Colts 23-game regular-season win streak, and Brett Favre’s 297 starts, which are all meaningful numbers in the league. The Baltimore Ravens are in the midst of a pretty interesting streak of their own right now, but this streak doesn’t matter at all.
The Baltimore Ravens have a 17-game preseason winning streak
The 2015 season was rough all around for the Baltimore Ravens. The team started by winning their first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints, then proceeded to lose the next three against Philadelphia, Washington, and Atlanta. The losing would continue all season as the team finished the year 5-11.
The team improved over the next five seasons, drafting Lamar Jackson in 2018 and making the playoffs in each of his first three seasons.
A weird thing has happened over this time, though. The Ravens haven’t lost a preseason game since September 3, 2015, against the Falcons.
The Ravens played 17 games during this time. This odd number comes from four games in four preseasons, with a fifth in 2018 when they participated in the Hall of Fame Game. In 2020, there wasn’t a preseason due to COVID-19.
This is an impressive (I guess?) and definitely fun streak, but also relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
The Ravens open the 2021 preseason Saturday vs. the New Orleans Saints
The Baltimore Ravens will take on the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, August 14, in both the teams’ preseason opener. The game will take place at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium at 7 P.M. EST.
The Ravens will try to extend their streak to 18, which would be one short of the all-time consecutive preseason win record of 19, set by Vince Lombardi’s Packers between 1959 and 1962, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley on Twitter.
On the Ravens’ side, the fascinating thing to watch out for is the wide receiver position. The Ravens’ first-round pick, receiver Rashod Bateman from Maryland, had surgery on a groin injury this week and will likely miss the first few weeks of the NFL season, per ESPN. That means there will be fierce competition to be the third WR behind Sammy Watkins and Marquise Brown. Devin Duvrenay, James Proche, and Miles Boykin will compete for that slot.
On the other side of the ball, it’s all about the quarterback competition. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are locked in one of the most competitive battles in any training camp to see who will replace the retired Saints legend Drew Brees this season.
The 2021 season is huge for Lamar Jackson and his team
After three straight years in the playoffs, it seems as though the Ravens have hit a ceiling. The team has lost in back-to-back seasons in the Divisional round. Last season, the Buffalo Bills beat Baltimore 17-3 while looking like the better all-around team.
This season, coach John Harbaugh’s team needs to make strides on offense in order to compete with the powers in the AFC. That means having playmakers other than Jackson step up.
As for Jackson, this year is huge for him too. His 2018 draft counterpart, Josh Allen, just got a huge $258 million extension. Jackson will get a big new deal too, but for how much could depend on how he plays this season. If he excels, his deal will likely surpass Allen’s. If he seems like he’s plateaued, his contract numbers might too.
It’s a big year all around in Baltimore, and it all starts Saturday night where they go for preseason consecutive win number 18.