How'd they do in 2017?
The Ravens finished the season 9-7 and second in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. Things seemed to click after the team's Week 10 bye. Baltimore was decidedly better down the stretch, going 5-2 during Weeks 11-17 versus 4-5 in Weeks 1-9. The Ravens had different results against each division team throughout the season as well. They lost both contests to the Steelers, split the season series with the Cincinnati Bengals in the first and last games of the season, and swept the Cleveland Browns because, well, the Browns didn't win a game at all in 2017.
Free agency for Baltimore was all about the offense this year. They signed veteran quarterback Robert Griffin III and signed wide receivers Michael Crabtree from the Raiders and John Brown from Arizona. They also turned a focus to the offensive line, re-signing their own James Hurst at guard after letting center Ryan Jensen go (to Tampa Bay, in case you were wondering). They also took offensive tackle Orlando Brown in the second round of the 2018 draft from Oklahoma. This was after a first round that saw the Ravens make two picks: top tight end prospect Hayden Hurst from South Carolina with pick No. 25 and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson at No. 32 overall after trading up with the Philadelphia Eagles for the former Heisman winner. Between signing RG!!!, drafting Lamar Jackson and having quarterback Joe Flacco still presumably in the starter role – the quarterback dynamic in Baltimore should be an interesting one come training camp and into the season.
Anything interesting between the two teams?
The two teams have only played each other five times in their series history. The first game against the Bucs and Ravens came in 2001 where the Bucs won 22-10. After winning the first two contests, Baltimore has won the last three. Tampa Bay has a chance to even up the series with the away contest in Week 15 – their first chance since 2014, when the teams last played.
This will also be center Ryan Jensen's first trip back to Baltimore as a Buccaneer after Tampa Bay made him the highest paid center in the league this offseason. Jensen spent all five years of his career before coming to Tampa Bay in Baltimore and is known for a nasty demeanor on the field. This will be the first time the Ravens will be on the receiving end of it.
What about off the field?
Baltimore may only have the Ravens and the Baltimore Orioles of MLB currently, but the city is actually credited for the start of professional sports. The first pro sports organization was founded in Baltimore and named the Maryland Jockey Club in 1743.
So… what if I want to go?
After you make the 950-mile trek up to Baltimore, make sure you get some of Maryland's famous Blue Crabs doused in Old Bay seasoning before you go to the city's inner harbor. The harbor is home to bars, restaurants and the USS Constellation – the ship that sank the last enemy tanker in World War II. The Bucs will take on the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium for the last contest against an AFC North opponent this season on December 16 at 1:00 p.m.