Ravens look to improve in 2021 following 2020 season

Giovanni Rizzotti, Entertainment Editor

The NFL Draft has been a long-standing tradition in the league, with young and talented college football players entering it in hopes to become stars with any team for which they are selected. This year was no exception what-so-ever.
This year’s Draft was loaded with high-end quarterbacks, wide receivers, offensive line products, and so much more. Some notable names include Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, and Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell. The Draft was held in Cleveland, Ohio from Thursday, April 29 through Saturday, May 1.
This year’s Draft had many major needs for the Ravens, who suffered another playoff loss in the divisional round to the Buffalo Bills, by a score of 17-3.
In that game, poor performance from the offensive line and dropped passes from receivers led to the playoff loss. Late in the third quarter, a bad snap from center Patrick Merkari caused the ball to fly over the head of quarterback Lamar Jackson and lande into the end-zone. As he retrieved the ball and made a desperate attempt to throw it out-of-bounds to prevent a loss of yardage, he was hit by a Buffalo Bills defender and suffered a concussion, knocking him out the game.
The loss came after an up and down 2020 season, in which the Ravens were not able to defend their AFC North title or improve/match their 14-2 record from the 2019 season. During the season, dropped passes and poor offensive line play led to the five losses. The defense was also to blame for at least two of the losses.
The 2021 Draft came at a great time for the team, who was in big need for several key positions. These positions include WR, OL, and edge rushers for defense.
In the Draft, the Ravens selected – WR Rashod Bateman, OLB Odafe Oweh, OG Ben Cleveland, CB Brandon Stephens, WR Tylan Wallace, CB Shaun Wade, DE Daelin Hayes, and TE Ben Mason.
With the upcoming season, the Ravens will hope to improve on their 11-5 record from 2020 and win back the AFC North title. They also hope to get past the divisional round in the playoffs for the first time since their Super Bowl winning season in 2012.
This year, a 17th game is being added to the regular season. The Ravens’ 2021 home opponents are the Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Chiefs, Chargers, Colts, Packers, Vikings, and Rams. The Rams are the newly-added opponent. The Ravens’ 2021 away opponents are the Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins, Bears, and Lions.
Some of the tougher opponents include the Chiefs, who the Ravens have not beaten under Lamar Jackson; the Packers, who have an amazing offense under Aaron Rodgers and a team the Ravens have struggled to beat in the past; and the Dolphins, who went a surprising 10-6 last year with great defensive play under head coach Brian Flores.
Here’s to hoping for a great 2021 season for the Baltimore Ravens.