6Magazine 2012 NFL Previews: Baltimore RavensAugust 21, 2012
By: Jordan Marks
Last year’s AFC North Champions are going to be looking to avenge a last second missed field goal in the AFC Championship this upcoming season; but it won’t be easy. The Ravens, whose defense always find a way, will need another year of offensive improvement if they want to contend for the Super Bowl.
The first thing that needs to transpire is the offensive line, who will greatly miss left guard Ben Grubbs, will have to protect Joe Flacco who let his mouth proceed his arm in saying that he was the best quarterback in the NFL. A wise Chad Butler once said that we have to believe we are the best in order to be it, however, Flacco should know better.
In other news, Ray Rice, will be looking for another productive season after signing a 5-year $40 million deal. However as aforementioned, it will be rough without one of the best guards in the NFL. Rice will need the help of Flacco and his receiving core of Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, and Jacolby Jones (Houston’s best move of the off season).
It will be interesting to see if the Ravens offense can hold up this year and improve from last year’s #15 offense (#22 in 2010). The offense should only go upward, but only time will tell.
As for the defense, the Ravens are full of veterans who would seem to be on the downside of the careers, but last year they were still very much the dominant defense we have grown accustomed to see. They will be looking for a good season out of first round draft pick, Courtney Upshaw from Alabama, who is replacing Terrell Suggs. Suggs tore his Achilles this offseason is hoping to be back by November, but that is greatly optimistic.
It will be interesting to see how this group of veterans bans together to remain one of the top defenses in the NFL. Ray Lewis always has a way of firing guys up and having them ready to play.
I predict the Ravens still finishing a top the AFC North, but not by a large margin. The course of the season will tell whether they are poised to make a late season Super Bowl run; and maybe, just maybe, Billy Cundiff can redeem himself and help the franchise be on top once again.