Football history is full of great dynasties.
The Montana/Young 49ers, the '90s Cowboys, and obviously the Brady/Belichick Patriots. But, we're currently living in unprecedented times, with one of the most untouchable dynasties in the NFL: The preseason Baltimore Ravens.
Under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have become beasts of the meaningless games. They've rattled off 24-straight victories in the preseason and a 20-4 record against the spread in that stretch.
How is this possible? And will it continue? I break it down below:
Just How Dominant Has Baltimore Been In The Preseason?
Here are just a few things that have happened since the Ravens last lost a preseason game (in 2015):
|ATS - Favorites||13-4||+7.65|
|ATS - Underdogs||7-0||+6.57|
The Ravens have been preseason profitable in just about every capacity since 2015. If you bet $100 on each game, you'd be up over $1800 bucks. As a coach, Harbaugh has a 39-16 (71%) ATS record in the preseason, and the next-closest cover rate (with at least 10 games) is Buffalo's Sean McDermott with %67.
How The Ravens Are Preseason Kings
Before I get into the weeds on how Baltimore and Harbaugh have pulled this streak off, there's one clear factor that is the most important: luck. No team — regardless of how dominant — rattles off 24-consecutive wins without a pile of horseshoes and clovers.
But, the Ravens' drafting and developing deserves a little credit, too. The Ravens have long been seen as one of the best draft and developing orgs in the NFL, and that internal depth is what decides preseason wins. Harbaugh himself has said that it's the second- and third-string players who are responsible for Baltimore's hot streak.
“It’s about becoming better as a football team, evaluating our players and each individual guy improving,” Harbaugh to the media, including USA Today. “So, that’s what we’re looking for.”
That depth has been on display at the QB position, in particular. The Ravens' QB room has run at least three deep since this streak started in 2016. Joe Flacco didn't even play in the game that started this 24-win streak, with Baltimore instead turning to Ryan Mallett and Josh Johnson. In 2019, it was Trace McSorley and Lamar Jackson getting backup reps. And now, it's Tyler Huntley, Anthony Brown, and Johnson again.
While most teams have one veteran backup and then some kids, the Ravens have been able to trot out an established QB room that goes three or four players deep. That's how you dominate in the preseason.
Can Baltimore Keep Winning?
Okay, now the question everyone really wants to know: when will Harbaugh's Ravens lose? They'll probably be favored for their final two preseason games of 2023 and rightfully so. With deeper QB rooms than both the Commanders and Buccaneers, the Ravens have a shot to keep the streak alive:
However, Baltimore's preseason wins have put a target on their back. Sure, Ravens players care about not being the ones to end the streak. But, the publicity this hot streak is getting seems to have given opposing players something to play for, too:
#Commanders RG Sam Cosmi wants nothing to do with the #Ravens preseason win streak ahead of tomorrow night 😂— Bobby Trosset (@bobbybaltimoree) August 20, 2023
“I think it’s a stupid record. I mean, who gives a shit about preseason games? If we beat it, great. We’re gonna beat it.” pic.twitter.com/X313kDeNz8