The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Super Bowl Champions and I believe they’ll be a contender again in 2013. The Ravens’ offseason is cause for optimism in Charm City.
There was much cause for concern according to the irrational faction of Raven fans (Too many unfortunately), but I was never worried for a second. Ozzie Newsome is like the Tom Hanks of General Managers, hit after hit after hit. Although there are occasional misses here and there, Kyle Boller and Joe vs. The Volcano just to name a few.
Back to the subject at hand, the Ravens lost a lot of players in the offseason. Danelle Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Anquan Boldin, Bernard Pollard, in addition to future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Most people don’t realize that the Ravens were pretty pedestrian last season; they lucked out in a few regular season games and got hot in the playoffs, much like the New York Giants in 2011.
The Ravens made a conscience effort to improve a pretty bad run defense from last season. Veteran pick ups Chris Canty and Marcus Spears will help in that area, in addition to draft picks Arthur Brown and Brandon Williams. The acquisition of Elvis Dumervil along with a healthy Terrell Suggs should be a nice boost to the pass rush. The Ravens top corner Ladarius Webb will be back and hopefully back to his shutdown corner form. Michael Huff will never be as good as Reed, but he can tackle, something Reed wasn’t effective at for the last few years. Rookie Matt Elam is younger and more versatile then Pollard
There are still some questions on offense, but the Ravens still have a lot of playmakers that can put points on the board. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson just to name a few.
I mentioned in my Ravens Training Camp Preview that I believe the Ravens are still the best team in the division. To sum it, I basically said the Cincinnati Bengals are still unproven and the Pittsburgh Steelers are on a little downslide.
The Denver Broncos are the favorites in the weak AFC, as well they should be, but after that it gets a little hairy. The New England Patriots are now without a lot of weapons and the Ravens have had their number for the past couple of years anyway. The Houston Texans will be a strong competitor, but they have to have a lead, once they’re down 14-17 points it’s pretty much over.
Is there any reason to think that the Ravens can’t earn one of the top two seeds in the AFC? I don’t think so. My BOLD prediction: Ravens will be the number two seed in the AFC.