Ravens

Super Bowl or bust for Ravens?

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens are no longer judged by their performance in the regular season.

Now, the expectation is that the franchise takes the next step and wins a Super Bowl.

That is the only way the 2024 season will be a success, according to pundits like the NFL.com’s Adam Rank.

“Win the Super Bowl. There really is no other box to check,” Rank wrote. “The Ravens were so impressive in the 2023 regular season because they basically outclassed all of the good teams that were in their way. It wasn’t like some of those squads that fatten up on the sub-.500 set and then try to squeak out wins against contenders. The Ravens obliterated powerhouses like the Lions and 49ers. They dropped 56 points on the Dolphins. They rolled. But once again, everything soured with a postseason defeat — this time at home against the Chiefs.”

The Ravens finished with the best record in the NFL last season and in 2019. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was named NFL MVP in each of those seasons.

After going 14-2 in the 2019 regular season, the Ravens were upset by the Tennessee Titans, 28-12, in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Ravens went 13-4 last year with signature victories over the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins. The Ravens managed to advance to the AFC Championship Game but lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-10 when they abandoned their running game.

Jackson fell to 2-4 as the starter in playoff games.

The Ravens have reloaded for another potential Super Bowl run with the addition of four-time Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry. The Ravens also have three players who were First-Team All-Pro — inside linebacker Roquan Smith, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, and safety Kyle Hamilton.

General manager Eric DeCosta and coach John Harbaugh have not shied away from the lofty expectations.

And the outside expectations are that the franchise meets that goal.

“Baltimore has to win the Super Bowl, or this season can’t be considered a success,” Rank wrote. “Most Ravens fans will agree. The Orioles have a little bit of wiggle room, but not the Ravens. It’s all or nothing.”

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