Baltimore Ravens Season Preview History
2011 Playoff Preview: Baltimore Ravens
Regular Season Record: 12-4
Seed: 5, AFC
2010 Team Leaders: Passing: Joe Flacco (3622 YDS, 9th AFC); Rushing: Ray Rice (1220 YDS, 6th AFC); Receiving: Anquan Boldin (837 YDS, 12th AFC)
For a five seed, the Ravens are pretty stacked. The running back combo of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee buoyed Joe Flacco as he got acclimated with newly acquired wide receiver Anquan Boldin. While their offense took a while to gel, their defense was stout from the beginning. DL Haloti Ngata held it down until Ed Reed came back mid-season to lead the league with 10 interceptions, even though he missed six games. Both anchor what look to be one of the best defenses in the playoffs, and the key to Baltimore advancing far into February.
2011 BALTIMORE RAVENS PREVIEW:
The Baltimore Ravens have been to the playoffs for three consecutive years, and have seemingly been on the cusp of taking that next step and getting to the Super Bowl. This season may be the year, however, as quarterback Joe Flacco has one more year experience under his belt, and the Ravens typically tenacious defense will be back in full force.
The Ravens will have plenty of talent on offense to surround Flacco. Though criticized for not having a killer instinct, Flacco has one of the strongest arms in the league and is flanked by Anquan Boldin, who is certainly a reliable target, and the newly acquired Lee Evans. Running back Ray Rice emerged as a go-to player last season, and will be solid with Ricky Williams now giving him breathers.
Although the Ravens defense is very reliable, it will be their defense that gets them to the next level. Up front, Baltimore is led by linemen Terrence Cody and Haloti Ngata, both of whom strike fear into the heart of opposing quarterbacks. Ray Lewis still patrols the middle of the field and remains a force, as does safety Ed Reed–who is perhaps the best defensive back in the NFL when he is healthy. 2010 Baltimore Ravens Football Preview:
Although Flacco has not put up spectacular numbers since he entered the league, he has been a terrific game manager. He has a number of talented players joining him on offense, including running back Ray Rice, who had a break out season last year in running for over 1,300 yards. Veteran running back Willis McGahee will also be an important part of the offense, and the Ravens have added receiver Anquan Boldin, who will provide Flacco with a reliable target that he has been lacking his first couple seasons.
As has been the case the last decade, the focus of the Baltimore game plan will be on defense. Although the group will certainly be solid, there are more questions than in years past. Ray Lewis, who has been the team's leader, is beginning to age, and the health of pro-bowl safety Ed Reed is up in the air following offseason surgery.
The AFC North will be one of the most difficult divisions in the league this year, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals looking strong heading into training camp. If the Ravens can make it through a tough schedule, they can get pretty far.
2009 Baltimore Ravens Football Preview:
The Baltimore Ravens found their quarterback of the future in former Delaware star Joe Flacco, and he rewarded the team's faith in him by leading them to the AFC Championship Game. So the Ravens enter 2009 with an answer at QB and on defense since they re-signed defensive leader Ray Lewis. The defense should be the strength of the team again in '09 with Lewis, Ed Reed and a handful of other Pro Bowl candidates. If Baltimore can keep their offense humming, then the 2009 season might not end like 2008 did - one game shy of the Super Bowl.
2008 Baltimore Ravens Football Preview:
The Baltimore Ravens are set to be one of the mot unpredictable teams in the NFL this season. It will be fascinating to see what off-season moves the franchise goes with, whether they put their confidence behind Heisman winning Ohio State quarterback troy Smith, whether they look for a new QB in the draft or in free agency, or whether they continue their game plan of playing Kyle Boller and injured Steve McNair next season. The team has been a perennial defensive powerhouse led by Ray Lewis and company, but have yet to find any sort of groove on offense. This next season will be a turning point for the franchise and fans at M&T Band Stadium are going to be ready for the team to put it all on the line.