NFL Baltimore Ravens

5 Reasons Why the Baltimore Ravens Aren’t Serious Contenders

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5 Reasons Why the Baltimore Ravens Aren't Serious Contenders

Charles LeClaire- USA TODAY Sports

"The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl Champions!" Wow doesn't that seem like a long time ago? In one of the more surprising wins in a Super Bowl, the Ravens were able to shock the San Francisco 49ers and give Ray Lewis the greatest of all sendoffs to end his career.

Times have certainly changed for the defending Super Bowl Champions. Numerous players on the defense have either retired or gone on to new teams. Joe Flacco was paid an enormous amount of money to stay on with the Ravens for the next six years, and wide receiver Anquan Boldin made an offseason switch to the San Francisco 49ers, thus, leaving the Ravens in one heck of a pickle going into the 2013-14 season.

Baltimore is currently second in the AFC North, with a record of 7-6, as they are two games behind the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens have an interesting showdown this coming Monday night against the Detroit Lions, a team that is desperately in need of a victory to wrap-up their division. If Baltimore can pull out the victory, it would more than likely wrap-up their chance of claiming the No. 6 spot in the AFC Playoffs. The only other team capable of taking that spot from the Ravens, are the Miami Dolphins. Miami faces an almost impossible game this week, as they will try to knock-off Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. If the Dolphins can pull the upset, it will spell trouble for the Ravens playoff hopes.

Historically, it has been almost impossible for a Super Bowl winning team to repeat the next year, or sometimes even make the playoffs. The Ravens have a few good players, but with how their season has gone thus far, it is obvious they aren't serious contenders for the Super Bowl this season.

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5. The Defense Really Misses Ray Lewis and Ed Reed

Ray Lewis
Evan Habeeb- USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Defense has gone from "most feared" to "mediocre at best". Currently, the team is ranked eighth in the league in points allowed, with 261. Baltimore has given up over 3,000 passing yards this season and over 1,300 rushing yards. The teams pass defense definitely misses the presence of Ed Reed at safety.

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4. Ray Rice Has Been Terrible

Mitch Stringer- USA TODAY Sports

Ray Rice has struggled all season long with making big plays and scoring touchdowns. After being favored as one of the top running backs coming into the 2013 season, Rice has only accumulated 549 rushing yards and only four touchdowns. After finishing the 2012 season with 1,143 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, Rice had cleared the path for a long and successful career. Unfortunately, that has not been the case thus far. If the Ravens want any chance of making a deep run in the playoffs, they will need a running game to keep the defense off of Joe Flacco.

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3. Joe Flacco's Play At QB

Mitch Stringer- USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Joe Flacco, he has played absolutely horrible this season. He has already surpassed his single-season record of 12 interceptions with 17 and there are still three games left. It is safe to say that he was not worth the six-year $120 million deal. There is hope for the Ravens to make a playoff push, but it will have to come off the arm of Flacco, especially with how poorly Ray Rice has run the ball this season. Flacco has thrown for 3,238 yards and 18 touchdowns so far this season, but he has thrown too many costly interceptions, which have hurt his Quarterback Rating and overall trust from coach Harbaugh.

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2. Jacoby Jones Isn't Anquon Boldon

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It is pretty obvious that Jacoby Jones is not Anquan Boldin nor will he ever be -- not now, not ever. Jones has expected to step up his level of play this season with Boldin's untimely departure from the team. Unfortunately, fans are still waiting for that to happen. Jones has tallied just 29 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns. On the flip-slide, over in San Francisco, Boldin has 67 catches, for 915 yards and five touchdowns. Baltimore was going for speed over consistency and it ended-up biting them in the butt.

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1. Lack of Production In Big Games

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have lost too many games this season to teams that had no edge on them. Their loses against Buffalo and Cleveland were just sad and would make your grandmother cry. When you look at some of the games they have won, it can be argued that they should not have even won most of those games.

Last week against the Vikings was one such example of this horrible display. Minnesota was banged-up and vulnerable, but Baltimore did not put them away early like they should have. Instead, five touchdowns would have to be scored in the last two minutes of the game in order for the Ravens to claim the win. The Chicago and Pittsburgh games are other such examples of what could have and should have ended much differently. Baltimore can all but kiss their playoff hopes goodbye, they are far too inconsistent to repeat as Super Bowl champions this season and for many seasons to come.