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Some people are fans of the Baltimore Ravens. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Baltimore Ravens. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Baltimore Ravens.

 Your 2017 record: 9-7. Let’s see how it ended!

I wish I could make a personal lubricant out of that play. All the Ravens had to do to make the playoffs was beat Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis, and they couldn’t do it. Out-fucking-standing. Imagine making the Bengals AND the Bills look good all in the course of a single afternoon. It’s almost like this team never left Cleveland at all.

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Your coach: John Harbaugh, who likes every new rule change in the NFL right up until one of them doesn’t work out in his favor. This man is a perfect 40-40 over the past five seasons. How many more chances will Harbs get before his bosses realize this team is endemically mediocre? Harbs spends every season taping up broken ankles, bitching at the refs, and spinning a wheel to pick out new coordinators. We’re getting into Billick Fatigue territory here.

By the way, Harbaugh flouted offseason practice rules, got caught for it, and then immediately proceeded to blame the players for making him keep them out at practice too long:

“Even with consistent and repeated teaching, these rules pose considerable adjustments for the young players.”

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God, what an asshole. John Harbaugh is emblematic of an NFL mentality where everything bad about the sport is somehow the players’ fault. Games take forever and no one knows what the rules are, and it’s definitely all because the players bargained for an extra two days off every offseason. Fuck this guy blind.

Your quarterback: It’s Joe Flacco, who has regressed every year since the Super Bowl. He is so firmly un-elite that you don’t even have to ask anymore. He is Andy Dalton with a ring. But I can guarantee you that he will keep his stranglehold on this job even with stud rookie Lamar Jackson waiting on deck. Flacco will still be out there in November, losing games and taking sacks and struggling for basic yardage. And you’re gonna be like WHERE THE FUCK IS LAMAR? And then Harbs will get progressively testier during each postgame presser, finally blowing up at some poor beat writer and flatly stating that Flacco is HIS guy, all before ownership forces him to start Jackson two weeks later. I can see it as clearly as I can see my own children’s faces.

By the way, RGIII is also here after a year out in the wilderness. Does he still tweet out corny shit? You know he does…

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It’s like someone took the soul of Ray Lewis and infused it into a body 10,000 times more brittle. I turned on the Hall of Fame Game and, within seconds, I saw RGIII hesitate in the pocket and then immediately get swallowed whole. It’s like he never left.

What’s new that sucks: This is Ozzie Newsome’s last year in Baltimore, so he went Full Ozzie and imported not his usual one, but a wacky THREE has-been wideouts (Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead) to see if any of them could get a pulse out of Flacco. They won’t, but I look forward to Michael Crabtree losing at least two sidelines brawls during the season and then being presented with a Certificate Of True Ravenness in the locker room afterward. Newsome also drafted the son of the guy whose career ended because he got blinded by a ref’s flag, and I can’t tell if he was trolling Cleveland or Baltimore in doing so. Even if these Ravens go 12-4, they remain the official team of any Phil Simms broadcast booth pairing. “I’ll tell you what about these Balteemore Raveeeenze: they are TUFF!”

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What has always sucked: 

[climbs upon a mount]

[lines up eight megaphones in front of one another]

[takes deep breath]

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

RAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

LEWISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

I thought I had reached the apex of my Ray Lewis hatred years ago, but no. No, my hate for Ray Lewis only continues to expand with time, not unlike the waistline of a Ryan brother. The hatred I bear has a full-on pituitary disorder because this twirling dipshit will eat entire planets whole before he ever cedes the spotlight. When Colin Kaepernick dropped to one knee, Ray Lewis dropped down on both knees because that’s, like, one more knee. FUCK EVERYTHING WE’RE GOING TO FIVE KNEES. Did Ray backtrack on his kneeling immediately afterward? You know he did.

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And that was before his interminable disgrace of a Hall of Fame speech: 34 minutes of incoherent babbling that should have earned Lewis a one-way ticket to the loony bin. Here is a man who believes that doing the Chicken Dance makes him a vessel for God himself. Here is a man who obstructed justice in two murders and began painting himself as the main victim of that crime the second he got out of that limo. Here is a man who thinks school prayer will prevent child sex trafficking. Ray Lewis a constant, criminal embarrassment, and yet you people built a STATUE for this idiot:

What a fucking disgrace. Even Jerry Richardson thinks that statue is in bad taste. But if Ray Lewis’ superhuman phoniness and his unrelenting self-aggrandizement bother this organization, they certainly don’t show it. For the Ravens, Ray Lewis is a useful idiot … a handy pawn they can call on any time they need to blame not signing Colin Kaepernick on a mean tweet from his girlfriend.

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Ray-Ray and the Ravens are of the same ilk: powerful entities for whom decorum means that no one should ever, no matter how politely they go about it, force self-appointed important people to confront their shortcomings. The entire Ravens organizational philosophy can be summed up by the credo, “No, YOU’RE the asshole.” So fuck Ray Lewis, fuck Harbaugh, fuck Steve Bisciotti and his penny loafers, and fuck Dick Cass for blaming poor attendance on protests and not on the fact that his team starts a piece of dried-out melba toast under center. This team was designed to please suburban racist dads in bad golf shirts, and they’ve got their methods down to a science. These fans booed a prayer. Fuck them with a whole steamed crab.

The whole shitty enterprise is a perfect fit for Baltimore itself, an average city distinguished only by its hilarious defensiveness. All day long, these fans sit around wondering why they’re not being appreciated enough, and most of them don’t even have the stones to live in the city proper. Baltimore is everything unappealing about Philadelphia and D.C., but without any of the good stuff. It is Cleveland on the Chesapeake. Its centerpiece is a crummy waterfront strip mall where everything costs $20 more than it should. Johns Hopkins rivals Georgetown and Notre Dame for the gap between how impressed with itself it is and how unimpressed everyone else is by it. And yet people from Baltimore act as if they’re some kind of national treasure, as if eating crabs and getting huffy about people mentioning The Wire to them constitutes some kind of legendary city culture. It’s all garbage. Also, the Baltimore accent sounds like brain damage.

I can’t believe Terrell Suggs is still around. That guy is Ray Lewis with bum legs and ugly teeth.

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What might not suck: Jackson is yet another example of a talented player the Ravens were able to snatch up because teams above them were too stupid to draft him. He’s gonna be pure joy to watch the moment he takes the field… three years from now.

Let’s remember a guy who sucked: I know Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff are obvious targets here. But I prefer to reserve my remembrances for players who had a whole CAREER of sucking. Like Kyle Boller. Kyle Boller flamed out and then married “opposite marriage” lady. His life is just one long continuum of stupid.

HEAR IT FROM RAVENS FANS!

Drew:

If I get asked by a coworker if Joe Flacco is elite one more time I am going to totally lose it. I almost wish we never won Super Bowl 47.

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Ryan:

Ray Lewis must have stopped praying for us five years ago.

Jesse:

Deshaun Watson had more TDs than Flacco despite only starting seven games.

Matt:

I hope Lamar Jackson takes a knee and our racist fans literally stroke out.

Kevin:

We sold the farm to throw money at a quarterback who couldn’t scramble an egg.

Mike:

A sports radio caller referred to our quarterback as “Sloppy Joe,” which is fantastic.

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David:

Our 10-year vet QB could only muster the same Madden rating as our rookie who was passed on by every other team in the league.

Alex:

Because after a year where Joe Flacco averaged fewer yards-per-passing-attempt than DeShone Kizer and Brett Hundley, the organization still blames declining fan interest on players kneeling.

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Zak:

I used to think John was the more even-keeled, reasonable Harbaugh brother, but even that thought turned out to be totally fucking wrong.

Stephanie:

The “vaunted” Ravens defence has managed to throw away our chances for a playoff game two years in a row, but somehow Flacco is still at fault.

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Jason:

As shitty as the Browns have been over the years, they’ve never been “our kicker is our top selling jersey” shitty.

Jim:

Despite never finishing his senior year at Kenwood High, Donnie in Dundalk all of a sudden has a law degree from CCBC Essex and uses it to defend Ray Lewis whenever his “legal troubles” are brought up.

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Tom:

Because I sent this last year:

“ Because we’re going to be 8-6, with 2 games to play, “controlling our own destiny,” and somehow find a way to blow it. “

...and not only was it true, but they blew it by giving up a 49-yard TD, on 4th and 12, with 53 seconds left in the 4th quarter, on New Years Eve.

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Ben:

Our QB of the future was gifted to us by racism and unsurprisingly half of our fanbase doesn’t think much of him because “his decision making is questionable.” This coming from fans whose definition of an elite QB’s decision making is having Joe Flacco check the ball down Buck Allen.

Joe:

C.J. Mosley is a nice player and one of the better linebackers in the league, but he’s like 70 percent of Ray Lewis at best. If he got caught up in obstruction of justice, it would be for grand theft auto.

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Jon:

I went to the “game” in London last year. Most of the people on the bus ride back to the hotel were not interested in the game and how/why the Ravens got smoked. They wanted to talk about how they were never going to support the “crybaby millionaires” disrespecting the flag.

My god, this is the same fucking city with the Freddie Gray incident, man.

D:

After the 2014 season was complete, I convinced my wife to let me take a trip from Arkansas to Baltimore to see the Ravens play a home game. I watched the Ravens lose to the Browns in Overtime and Josh McCown threw for a Browns record 457 yards. My wife makes me go to Nashville to watch the Ravens now.

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Ryan:

Let’s look at the Ravens top 5 all-time QBs:

1. Steve McNair

2. Joe Flacco

3. Steve McNair post-murder

4. Kyle Boller

5. Trent Dilfer

I was so excited that the Ravens got one of the biggest steals of the draft in Lamar Jackson until I remembered this: He’s gonna get “developed” right out of the league and they’ll re-up Flacco for another billion dollars. Kill me.

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Vanessa:

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that his Super Bowl run was entirely the work of an ancient curse where he accidentally switched bodies with someone, like in “Vice Versa.” Somewhere, Judge Reinhold is wondering why he doesn’t have a goddamn Super Bowl ring when he did all the work.

Joe:

Just your quick reminder regarding the past 5 years –

Built a statue of an accomplice in a double homicide.

Gave a standing ovation to Ray Rice during his first practice back after he Pacquiao’d his wife, only for him to be released by the team AFTER the national media found out about the Ravens security team covering it up.

Still currently employing noted domestic-abuser, ugliest man in Baltimore (which, holy shit) and complete asswipe, Terrell Suggs.

Gave deaf/mute Joe Flacco the biggest contract ever at the time(!!!)

Have generally paced the league in player arrests capped off with Terence Cody illegally owning a fucking alligator. I just had to type that shit with a straight face.

Machado getting traded to the Dodgers two weeks ago was secondary news to a backup linebacker getting his wisdom teeth out.

Have continually supported Suggs’ regular beheading of kittens on a pile of conflict diamonds in the locker room (probably).

Somehow this all brings me to the fans. I know how everyone has wrote into these previews over the past few years exclaiming their fans to be the most drunk/fat/moronic/aggressive/drunk/inbred/rednecks/drunk/violent/drunk in the NFL, but Ravens fans are somehow a cut above in a category of their own. I’ve seen crystal meth openly smoked during games in which there were 10-year-olds sitting not 3 seats away, and a bottle thrown at a 12-year-old wearing a Steelers jersey. Just imagine the 700 level of the Vet back in the 80’s, and that’s basically what you’re dealing with throughout the stadium (just with more drugs), in this gathering of hicks from Pasadena, Glen Burnie and Dundalk. Fuck everything.

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Patrick:

As you wait in line for 20 minutes to try and take a piss, you’ll hear one of the following three comments no less than six times:

- “Feels like you’re just renting the beer, right?”

- “If you shake it more then 3 times, you’re just playing with it.”

- “Is this where the dicks hang out?”

And every time one of these Donnies says it, they stroll up and down the urinals like they’re Richard Pryor, waiting for a standing ovation.

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Joe:

This year, I relented and took my nephew to his first Ravens game as a birthday present, as per his request. This was the heart of the anthem controversy, and many of the fans entering with us had handmade signs bitterly criticizing players for having knelt in London a few weeks earlier. I saw at least 50 people wearing a purple shirt adorned with a flag on the front and “Ravens stand for the national anthem” on the back. But the real topper was when they played “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood a few minutes before the anthem itself. Every single fan in the seating bowl at that point rose and stood at attention, and I had to tell my nephew that we didn’t need to stand, and in fact weren’t going to, since it wasn’t the actual national anthem. That resulted in dirty looks from all directions, and the rousing cheers at the end of that cheesy, jingoistic mess of a song were as loud as at any point during the game.

Jesse:

1) Because apparently a few black men kneeling during the anthem is somehow more disrespectful than tens of thousands of white people collectively screaming “O” during it.

2) Because when our defense gives up over 500 yards (not an exaggeration) to the Steelers, it is still Flacco’s fault we lost.

3) Fuck me for letting this team ruin the holidays in consecutive years for me.

If I ever win the lottery, I will buy out whatever company makes those horrendously tacky purple camo pants and burn them all.

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Alan:

There is a not insignificant section of the fan base that rages at the suggestion that the Ravens will dump Flacco for Lamar next year. Can’t quite figure out why.

Brian:

Ever since Flacco got his big extension, they’ve been on the cusp of the playoffs only to miss it and not feel all that bad about it. Flacco hasn’t been good at anything other than pumping out kids since the Super Bowl. It would be redeemable if he hadn’t murdered his emotions as a child, but he can’t even manage to pretend to care as he lobs the ball 1 yard on 3rd and 20. He is getting paid an unimaginable amount of money to wander around the pocket like a 3-year-old who lost his mom in the grocery store. Fuck this team, and triple fuck Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff for collaborating with Satan to let the Patriots get into another goddamn Super Bowl.

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Jordan:

I stayed up all night three years ago while this city literally burned on account of police brutality. But the sawed-off pricks who drive their Casual Male XL camo into town only for Ravens games have stopped doing even that because thugs aren’t respecting the flag. Team management can’t bend over fast enough for these bloodthirsty morons. We have the worst quarterback per dollar of any team in football, but the Ravens issue an apology for thinking about talking to Colin Kaepernick. Did Kaepernick’s girlfriend go too far? Yes, and it was hilarious. Now our last and best hope is that Joe Flacco breaks his collarbone in preseason and speeds up the timetable for Lamar Jackson to be called the n-word by 40,000 different toothless people on Twitter.

Say what you want about this town, but the murder rate is extremely high. They’ll never take that away from us.

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Frank:

Seriously, Ravens fans stopped showing up last season after the team protested the anthem for the first time, then got drubbed by the Jags. Thousands of no shows for a team that was still in the playoff hunt at the last game of the season but Donny from Dundalk loves the flag too much to go to any games. This is the same guy who is moving to his seat during the anthem or is in line for concessions or the restroom any other time. Fuck Ravens fans. We don’t deserve to keep a team.

Jesse:

Joe Flacco knows exactly what it takes to keep his job. He’s going to have just enough moments throughout the season to make the team wimp out on giving Jackson a try. Watch Harbaugh’s press conferences, and I bet you’ll hear him say “Joe’s our guy” no fewer than ten times. Beat writers will keep writing stories about how Lamar is tearing it up at practice in between game reports on Flacco’s 173 yard/0 TD/1 INT performances.

Meanwhile, the Ravens will teeter on the “well, maybe they can pull this off” side of average throughout the season, right on the verge of making the playoffs, until Flacco throws a timely pick-six against the Browns in Week 17 to lose the game, and then five other AFC teams win their games to complete a mathematical marvel that boots us from a practically assured wild card slot. Joe’s forehead strength won’t be there to save us this time.

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Matt:

These two dipshits probably booed the players for kneeling before the national anthem at last year’s Steelers-Ravens-game-turned-MAGA-rally. They also definitely shouted “O” in honor of the fucking garbage baseball team during the anthem.

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AG:

My dad and I played in the Ravens marching band the season they last won a Super Bowl. My dad ended up quitting halfway through the season because his section lead was a jerkoff asshole who worked at Walmart during the day, so the gamedays and Wednesday rehearsals must have been his time to shine in life. For our pregame program on the field we always played “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. In an alternate, even shittier universe, this probably would have been our national anthem.

Our national anthem singer at the start of the 2017 season, a black Maryland National Guard veteran who fought in Afghanistan, quit at the height of the backlash at the anthem protests. I’ve never been so ashamed to be a Ravens fan when I saw the straight-up racist vitriol fired at his Facebook wall. The Ravens’ staff have the spine of a wet ramen noodle.

Looking forward to another 8-8 season!

Morgan:

I moved back to the greater Baltimore area a year and a half ago and the fans here have gotten even worse. Obviously the rise of President Grandpa has allowed their blatant racism to be even more acceptable (always a plus for Ravens fans outside of the beltway) but holy hell have these purple camo wearing goons run with it.

As far as the team itself, they drafted the most explosive QB in the draft so naturally he’ll be made to sit on the bench (and settle for plays in the vaunted SUGGS PACKAGE!) until Joe Flacco gets hurt again. Then, no matter how well he plays, the fans will clamor for good ol Joe. I wonder why that would be.

Fuck this team and its undeserved high horse. Fuck these fans and their sense of superiority about the “Raven Way”. There’s a statue of a murderer outside of the stadium that these idiots only demanded to be taken down NOT because of said murders, but because Ray Ray took 2 knees with the team in protest (which he quickly apologized for, obviously).

I’ll be avoiding this team like the fucking plague.

Gabriel:

I cried tears of joy reading this mom’s FB post, as I had never seen a truer, PURER expression of Baltimore fandom. It’s beautiful.

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D:

The Bengals-Ravens Week 17 game last year started on New Year’s Eve, at 11:00 PM local time in Croatia. We had to win the game to get into playoffs, while the Bengals had nothing to play for. Flacco actually played pretty good in the second half of the season, going 5-1 after the Week 10 bye. All things considered and against all the lessons of previous few seasons, I was feeling pretty positive and optimistic.

Like an asocial jerk, I brought my laptop to a party at a friend’s place and promptly holed myself up in a bedroom when the game started, only going out during half-time and timeouts to grab a new drink. The party was great and everyone was slowly getting horribly drunk, including me.

I clearly remember two very hot female friends... offering to join me in the bedroom at some point during the fourth quarter. I really have no idea what they were thinking, considering I was wearing my lucky black Flacco jersey.

I also remember somehow packing up my laptop seconds after immortal Andy Dalton tore an Andy Reid-sized hole in our legendary defense on the very last play. The next thing I know, I’m somehow getting an Uber and leaving, with all the people at the party, including the above mentioned girls, staring horrified at my deathly pale face and asking if someone died.

Fuck me for starting to love this fucking team and football since 2011 and never realising that the 2012 season would be the high point of the rest of my life. Fuck me super hard for letting go of soccer completely at the same time and not feeling an ounce of happiness on account of my country reaching World Cup finals.

Fuck Joe Flacco for probably having the best season of his career and winning a playoff game or two this year, thus forcing us to give him a new contract and keep Lamar Jackson on the bench for a few more years of Flacco-led mediocrity.

Fuck T-Sizzle with his ugly Gladiator helmet for having that stupid nickname and for disappearing completely in the second half of every season since 2014.

But most of all, fuck my father for giving me life and having NFL on his cable provider in 2011.

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Kevin:

JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST WE SIGNED RGIII. We won’t sign Kaep because we’re afraid it’ll cause a media circus but we sign a fucking quarterback that hasn’t played in two seasons.

Submissions for the 2018 Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: L.A. Chargers.