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Will the Ravens be a bounce-back team in 2016?

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Will the Ravens be a bounce-back team in 2016?

After the Ravens’ worst season under coach John Harbaugh in 2015, will the Ravens bounce back? Much will depend on what happens during free agency and the draft, but here are three losing teams from 2015 that I think are the best bets to make the playoffs next season.

1. Cowboys, 4-12 in 2015:

Why they could be dangerous: If quarterback Tony Romo stays healthy, why can’t the Cowboys win the wide open NFC East? The Eagles and Giants have new head coaches, and the Redskins didn’t have a victory in 2015 against a team that finished above .500.

2. Ravens, 5-11 in 2015:

Why they could be dangerous: There’s almost no chance the Ravens will have as many injuries in 2016 as they did last season. General manager Ozzie Newsome has the draft ammunition to strengthen the roster, and Joe Flacco looks on target to be recovered from knee surgery and under center by Week 1. Meanwhile, next year’s schedule should be far more favorable. Last year’s West-coast heavy schedule featured five of the first seven on the road, including two trips out West. Next season, the Ravens’ longest road trip is to Dallas.

3. Raiders, 7-9 in 2015:

Why they could be dangerous: The Raiders have some serious young talent in quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and outside linebacker Khalil Mack. And for the first time in years, the Raiders will have cap space in free agency to pursue more help. The AFC West should still be very competitive. But the Raiders are a team on the rise.

RELATED: Corners who could interest Ravens if they are cut

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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