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Madden NFL 20 Simulation: Ravens finish 2020 season 11-5

Madden NFL 20 Simulation: Ravens finish 2020 season 11-5

As a way to predict the future, NBC Sports Washington ran a Madden simulation of the Ravens' 2020 season. Here were the results.

Disclaimer: We tried to replicate free agency and trades as much as possible, but no rookies were added and not all NFL transactions are finalized yet.

Week 1 -- Cleveland Browns defeat Ravens, 38-32 in OT

Record: 0-1 (0-1 AFC North)

Recap: The Ravens and Browns kicked off their seasons with an old-school, smashmouth game. Mark Ingram and Nick Chubb combined for an astonishing 30 carries, 304 yards and six rushing touchdowns in this one, stealing the show from quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield. After losing to the Browns at home in 2019 for their last regular season loss, this is not how the Ravens wanted to get things going.

Week 2 -- Ravens defeat Houston Texans, 21-20

Record: 1-1

Recap: It was a whole lot closer than last year's blowout in Baltimore, but the Ravens squared off with Deshaun Watson and the Texans and managed to come away with a close victory. Lamar Jackson still has yet to lose to Watson in their young NFL careers, though it was a different story when they met in college.

Week 3 -- Kansas City Chiefs defeat Ravens, 31-20

Record: 1-2

Recap: Just like in 2019, the Ravens and Chiefs squared off in one of the season's most highly-anticipated matchups in Week 3. And just like in 2019, the Ravens fell just short, in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate. When Patrick Mahomes is on his 'A' game like he was on this Monday Night, there's not much any team in the league can do.

Week 4 -- Ravens defeat Washington Redskins, 26-23

Record: 2-2

Recap: Lamar Jackson struggled mightily in this one, but the Ravens turned to their old-school roots to come away with a tough, hard-fought victory. Mark Ingram rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Tucker hit four field goals, and the defense played just well enough to win the Battle of the Beltway.

Week 5 -- Ravens defeat Cincinnati Bengals, 35-10

Record: 3-2 (AFC North 1-1)

Recap: Jackson was highly-efficient, throwing for three touchdown passes on just 15 total attempts, but Patrick Ricard was the story of the day. The Ravens' jack-of-all-trades record four tackles and a sack, plus rushed the ball twice, and had two receptions, including a touchdown. Talk about doing it all.

Week 6 -- Ravens defeat Philadelphia Eagles, 17-14

Record: 4-2 

Recap: The Ravens won this one despite a poor day from Lamar Jackson (211 yards, 2 INT) thanks to a strong effort from their defense to hold Carson Wentz and the Eagles' attack down. Once again, the Ravens pulled it out behind the leg of Justin Tucker, who hit a 49-yard field game-winning field goal with 50 seconds left.

Week 7 -- Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Ravens, 28-7

Record: 4-3 (1-2 AFC North)

Recap: This was not the rivalry game most fans envisioned when the schedule came out. The Steelers scored the game's first 28 points before the Ravens got on the board late in the fourth quarter. This was an ugly loss in every possible way heading into the Week 8 bye.

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Week 8 -- BYE WEEK

Week 9 -- Ravens defeat Indianapolis Colts, 34-21

Record: 5-3

Recap: Lamar Jackson was the unquestioned star of the week, with an unbelievable stat line: 24/26, 343 yards, 5 TD, 158.3 Rating. That's one of the greatest passing days in NFL history and easily tops his young career. When Jackson looks like this, the Ravens are nearly unbeatable.

Week 10 -- Ravens defeat New England Patriots, 34-9

Record: 6-3

Recap: Apparently, Tom Brady really is that big of a loss. The Ravens went into New England, a house of horrors for opposing teams over the years, on Sunday Night Football, and came away with one of their most convincing wins of the season. The defense was the star of the show, totaling eight sacks against an overwhelmed Jarrett Stidham.

Week 11 -- Ravens defeat Tennessee Titans, 24-13

Record: 7-3

Recap: Think the Ravens have had this one circled on their calendars for a while? After last postseason's upset home loss to Tennessee, the Ravens came out ready to play and Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes to Willie Snead to avenge one of the few losses in his young career.

Week 12: Ravens defeat Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-31

Record: 8-3 (2-2 AFC North)

Recap: On Thanksgiving night, with the eyes of the football-watching nation upon them, the Ravens and Steelers played in one of the most epic games of the entire NFL season. The two bitter rivals went back and forth in primetime, with the Ravens prevailing on a last-minute Justin Tucker field goal to avenge their early-season blowout loss in Baltimore. 

Week 13 -- Dallas Cowboys defeat Ravens, 41-10

Record: 8-4

Recap: Sometimes, the other team plays really well. Sometimes, you don't play well at all. And on some rare occasions, both happen in the same game. That's what happened here, as Dak Prescott won the battle of two of the NFL's top young quarterbacks, and Ezekiel Elliott ran all over the revamped Ravens defense.

Week 14 -- Ravens defeat Cleveland Browns, 30-24 in OT

Record: 9-4 (3-2 AFC North)

Recap: The Ravens' second matchup with the Browns and the second one to go to overtime. The Ravens got another clutch kick from Tucker (54-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime) and another workhorse day from Ingram (30 carries, 114 yards, 2 touchdowns) to avenge their opening week loss.

Week 15 -- Jacksonville Jaguars defeat Ravens, 28-21

Record: 9-5

Recap: Chalk this up as easily the most baffling game of the entire season. The Jaguars are rebuilding, and the Ravens are one of the favorites for the Super Bowl, yet anything can happen on any given Sunday. On this particular Sunday, the Jags came into M&T Bank and handed the Ravens a shocking upset loss.

Week 16 -- Ravens defeat New York Giants, 7-3

Record: 10-5

Recap: Matthew Judon showed why he was worth the franchise tag right from the very first play, exploding into the backfield for a three-yard loss for New York. He ended with two more sacks as the Ravens defense utterly dominated the Giants in this low-scoring affair.

Week 17 -- Ravens defeat Cincinnati Bengals, 30-13

Record: 11-5 (4-2 AFC North)

Recap: The Ravens clinch the AFC North with an easy victory over their division rivals. This was a game where the Ravens asserted themselves as the clearly dominant team in the division, winning their third straight title. The Bengals had a nice draft in 2020 but they are still a ways away from competing with a team like the Ravens.

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Report: Ravens add Kenjon Barner to crowded running back room

Report: Ravens add Kenjon Barner to crowded running back room

The Ravens running back room has suddenly become a tad more crowded.

Baltimore has reportedly signed seven-year veteran Kenjon Barner, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The addition of Barner likely has little to do with Baltimore's plan on offense, as Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins are expected to carry the bulk of the Ravens' rushing attack.

Barner, a former star at the University of Oregon, spent the past year with the Atlanta Falcons as the team's primary returner. For Baltimore, bringing in a guy like Barner makes sense, as one of the team's primary return men from a year ago, De'Anthony Thomas, decided to opt-out of the 2020 season.

The signing of Barner is a low-risk, high-reward one for Baltimore. Rookie James Proche is also expected to be in the mix in the return game.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh: ‘I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now’

Ravens coach John Harbaugh: ‘I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now’

Ravens coach John Harbaugh hasn’t been shy on his feelings about the NFL’s coronavirus protocols. He said in June, and repeated Friday, they’re impossible to follow to a T. 

But he’s also very confident in the ability of NFL teams to create a safe and productive environment during a global pandemic. 

Harbaugh said that compared to the rest of the country, most players are safer at facilities with their teams than at their homes.

“I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now, an NBA basketball bubble,” Harbaugh said. “We’re pretty darn safe. If you want to rank them, we’re all in the top five across the country. We’re right up there with anybody. We get tested every day and we are wearing masks everywhere.”

The Ravens, by all accounts, have done well making sure their facility in Owings Mills is not only following protocols for players and coaches, but also making sure it’s as easy a transition as possible. 

Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen said last week that players are constantly being reminded to wear their masks, wash their hands and keep distance from one another.

“All you can do is the best you can do and mitigate it to a great extent,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’ve done a really good job of that so far, there are no guarantees going forward. We’ve got to stay vigilant like we’ve done.”

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The Ravens have had just two players opt out of the upcoming season — wide receiver/kick returner De’Anthony Thomas and tackle Andre Smith — but it was certainly a conversation for a lot of players in the locker room. 

Most notably, defensive lineman Calais Campbell.

“I definitely considered (opting out). You have to,” Campbell said. “You can’t play football with this going on and not think about the risk you’re going to put on yourself and your family. Going through that process, I realized talking to the doctors and just setting up the protocols and other things we have to do to keep each other safe, I felt like the risks were mitigated the best we can.”

Campbell, who was acquired from the Jaguars in a trade in March, is set to turn 34-years-old on Sept. 1 and has asthma. 

The five-time Pro Bowl selection would have been one of the most notable names in the league to voluntarily opt out of the 2020 season. But with the protocols in place, he felt safer about his participation. 

One topic of discussion for the Ravens and their protocols, too, has been the option of quarantining a specific group of players to prevent a spread. 

Likely, those players would be at positions of extreme value — like quarterback — or players where backups aren’t readily available — like kicker. It just so happens that the Ravens have two of the league’s best players at those positions in Lamar Jackson and Justin Tucker. 

But as Harbaugh said, each move comes with a consequence, and that includes the “safer” option of quarantining the entire league.

“For instance, if you were going to quarantine the NFL for six months, yeah, if you were a doctor, you’d say, ‘Yeah, we want the best chance to keep everyone safe and healthy,’” Harbaugh said. “That would be great, but I kind of want to see my wife at some point in time in the next six months, and she doesn’t have coronavirus. So you’ve got to live with a certain amount of risk in order to live your life. We don’t want to forfeit all these guys' lives and they’re not willing to do it.”

Which means, for now, the players at the facility have assumed a level of risk for the upcoming season.

With the Ravens’ protocols in place, however, it’s all about minimizing those risks as much as possible.

“I put a lot of thought into it on my own, too, with my own underlying issues,” Campbell said. “I’m pretty confident in my ability to follow the rules.”

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