NFL Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens: 5 Reasons Why Your Favorite Team Will Lose in Week 1

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Baltimore Ravens: 5 Reasons Why Your Favorite Team Will Lose in Week 1

Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens begin the 2013 season as the defending champion that has suffered the most roster turnover since the start of the Super Bowl Era. They will also be the first defending champion in the last 10 years to play the Thursday night NFL Kickoff game on the road.

They open the season with a high energy game against the Denver Broncos in Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos are a team that is hungry for revenge after the Ravens defeated them last year in double overtime in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

In Baltimore there is a saying “In Ozzie we trust.” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has put together many rosters that have celebrated success including two Super Bowl rings since the team came to Baltimore. However, to my eyes, looking at the Ravens roster Newsome has assembled this year, it looks more like hubris than genius.

The losses this team has suffered through free agency, retirement, injury and front office negligence has seriously stacked the deck against the Ravens as they go up against an offensive juggernaut bent on their total destruction.

Since the Broncos will host the NFL Kickoff game, the entire town of Denver has been festooned with Ravens photographs and memorabilia. To Broncos fans it is exactly the kind of thumb in the eye that should transform a hostile environment into a cacophony of spite and rage.

Here are the top 5 reasons why I predict the Baltimore Ravens will lose.

Eric Beuning is a Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @ericbeuning or add him to your network on Google.

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5. The Loss of Anquan Boldin

Ravens Lose
Kirby Lee USA TODAY Sports

During the offseason Ozzie Newsome shipped Anquan Boldin off to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a meaningless sixth round pick. Boldin brought to the team a style of physical play that wore down opposing defensive backs while he roamed all three levels of the defensive backfield getting open when Joe Flacco needed him most.

Losing his soft hands hurts in any game, but his punishing, physical style of play is exactly what the Ravens need to beat up and slow down the Broncos' already dinged up corners.

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4. The Loss of Dennis Pitta

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Evan Habeeb USA TODAY Sports

When Newsome shipped Boldin off it was with confidence that Dennis Pitta would be able to replace Boldin’s production as a possession receiver running hot routes in traffic. When Pitta ripped his hip into a heap of hamburger, not only was it a thumb in Newsome’s eye but it left Joe Flacco with only the aged Brandon Stokley to exploit the short passing game after the Broncos lost Von Miller.

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3. The Inconsistent Play of Joe Flacco

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Kim Klement USA TODAY Sports

I know Joe Flacco is still the reigning Super Bowl MVP. I understand he just cashed in a big contract and someday he’ll probably star in his own Viagra commercial sporting a hunky handlebar mustache. All of that doesn’t make up for the fact that he has never been consistent through the course of his career. One massive Jacoby Jones catch does not a clutch quarterback make.

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2. The Loss of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis

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Robert Deutsch USA TODAY Sports

Ed Reed and Ray Lewis on the surface were imposing and inspirational elements of the old Ravens defense. However, the thing that often gets underplayed was the communication and intuition they used to glue the defense together. Going against Peyton Manning in a game of mental chess without Ed Reed adjusting the coverage while Ray Lewis calls the base plays is sure to open up opportunities Manning will be primed to exploit.

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1. The Offense of Peyton Manning

Ravens Lose
Steven Bisig USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week I took a look at all the weapons arrayed around Peyton Manning. Not only does he captain one of the most talented receiving corps in the league with a dynamic running game to audible into, but he prefers to attack with the no-huddle offense.

The speed of the no-huddle is designed to exhaust an opposing defense. Even if they were playing at sea level in midseason shape, the Ravens players would most likely have their hands on their hip by the start of the 4th quarter. Consider that the Ravens' first stringers haven’t played four quarters all preseason and the fact what they will be at altitude, gasping the thin air while they try to guess how Manning will carve them up next.

Simply put, the Ravens are a team with too many missing pieces to handle a team like the Broncos this early in the season.

Eric Beuning is a Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @ericbeuning or add him to your network on Google.