Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens come in at number 4 in the Top 32 preseason NFL Power Rankings Countdown. Can the Ravens overcome the loss of talent?
Fan on Fire: Top 32 NFL Power Rankings
4. Baltimore Ravens – (10-6)
Top Five Returning Players:
1. Joe Flacco, QB - Flacco got on a hot streak late last season after head coach John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replaced him with Jim Caldwell. Once in the playoffs Flacco hot streak intensified as he went into Denver and outplayed Peyton Manning, and then to New England and outplayed Tom Brady. Flacco then led the Ravens to a victory in the Super Bowl.
2. Terrell Suggs, OLB - Suggs missed a good part of last season due to injury, but when he’s healthy he’s one of the top pass rushers in the NFL and a former defensive player of the year.
3. Haloti Ngata, DE - One of the most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL and a five time all-pro.
4. Ray Rice, RB - One of the most versatile running backs in the NFL, is equally good as a runner and a receiver.
5. Marshall Yanda, G - Has developed into one of the best offensive linemen in the league.
Top Newcomer: Elvis Dumervil, OLB - The Denver Broncos wanted to reduce Dumervil’s cap hit, but Dumervil and the team failed to come to an agreement in time, and as a result Dumervil was released. He then signed with the Baltimore Ravens, and his presence as a top pass rusher should help soften the blow from the Ravens losing their top pass rusher from last season Paul Kruger.
Biggest loss from last season: Ray Lewis, ILB - Lewis is one of the greatest middle Linebackers of all-time, and was the unquestioned leader of the Baltimore Ravens for nearly two decades. Although Lewis had slowed down some late in his career, his leadership and presence in the locker room will be sorely missed by the Ravens.
Player who might surprise: Arthur Brown, ILB - Both inside linebackers for the Ravens last season are no longer with the team. Ray Lewis retired and Danell Ellerbe signed as a free agent with the Dolphins. So the Ravens drafted Arthur Brown in the second round of the draft, and he will most certainly step in as a starter on the inside. Brown will have plenty of chances to make impact.
What needs to happen to improve on Ranking:
1. Joe Flacco needs to continue to play at the level he ended the season at. He had been somewhat up and down for most of last season, but at the end he hit his stride. With all the Ravens lost after the season, they need Flacco to continue to play at an elite level.
2. New leaders need to step up for the team. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are both future hall of famers, and no one will really ever be able to replace what either of them gave to the team. But a leadership vacuum was created when they left and other players need to step up to continue the tradition they set.
3. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones need to step up as the top receivers after number one WR Anquan Boldin was traded by the Ravens to the 49ers in the off season.
What could make this ranking worse: This ranking could become worse if Joe Flacco can’t continue the elite level of play he showed during the playoffs last season.
Biggest off-season developments:
1. Future hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis retired from the Ravens after seventeen seasons with the team.
2. Future hall of fame safety Ed Reed left the Ravens after eleven seasons and signed as a free agent with the Houston Texans.
2013 Prediction: 10-6 - The Ravens have had five straight winning seasons under John Harbaugh as head coach, and I expect that to continue. Even with all of the talent the Ravens lost in the off-season, GM Ozzie Newsome has done a good job of added more to the team. QB Joe Flacco has emerged as one of the best in the league and the stability there should help offset the losses and help the Ravens continue as one of the NFL’s top teams.
- NFL Season Preview: Baltimore Ravens Edition (iclutchgene.wordpress.com)
- Joe Flacco: Don’t Bet Against Him (commonsensefootball.com)
- Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil Look to Lead Ravens Defense (baltimorebeatdown.com)
- Baltimore Ravens: 5 burning questions (isportsweb.com)