- Ray Lewis’ will to win and desire to carry the young guys to their first Super Bowl.
- The other stars on defense, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata, have all done their part over the years and will be hungry to win their first Super Bowl.
- Ray Rice, who has shown his ability to show up when the lights are the brightest, gives this team consistency and versatility in the offense. Rice is able to beat you between the tackles, spread you out, and catch the ball when needed.
- Lastly, their coach John Harbaugh, who is vastly underrated. Harbaugh is 44-20 in his career during the regular season and 5-3 in the playoffs. He had big shoes to fill replacing a Super Bowl winning coach and has done it without missing the playoffs. Also, all 3 losses in the playoffs were against teams that eventually represented the AFC in the Super Bowl.
- At times their offense is very stagnant and lacks identity and consistency. In the last game, the offense really did not do much and was lucky to capitalize on a short field caused by a huge fumble by the Texans’ return man.
- Lack of unity between the defense and the offense. The defense does not trust the offense to come through in key moments and feels the pressure to carry the team on their own, which may lead to more risk taking than necessary.
- No receiver depth and a lack in what seems to be essential in today’s offense, the tight end position.
- Unproven road record this year. They are 4-4 on the road with losses to teams that were by far less talented than the Ravens.
Keys to success:
- Offensive line needs to live up to their hype and give Flacco enough time to make plays and also create holes for Ray Rice to force the other team to make tackles in the open field.
- Defense needs to continue be consistent and force turnovers to give their offense good field position.
- Ravens need to hold the Patriots to under 30 because it will be hard to keep up in a shootout.
- Ray Lewis will need to play a large role in pass defense. The remaining teams all have strong receiving weapons that will challenge them in the middle of the field.
Reasons why they will win it all:
Defense wins championships; at least history has taught us that. Ray Lewis is the only one left that played 11 years ago in the Super Bowl, but he knows his window of opportunity is closing and it’s now or never for a team that has had a celebrated defense for over a decade. Ed Reed has performed at his best in the post season with 8 interceptions in 10 career playoff games. I think Joe Flacco is underrated and Ray Rice is special. And do not forget the experience and ability Anquan Boldin brings. Ravens have the best chance in matching up against tight end sets and have the ability to stop the run without letting their pass defense break down. Foster ran for over 100 last week, but the Texans have the best running game in the league and were held well under 200 yards in the passing game. Finally, I think John Harbaugh is the last reason why one should have faith in the Ravens. John isn’t going to wow you with complicated schemes or win the press over with a bigger than life personality, but he gets it done. The media has fallen in love with his younger brother Jim who has turned a losing team into a consistent winner in the 49ers, but don’t forget that it was the Ravens who dominated the 49ers in the Thanksgiving Harbaugh bowl. John believes in his team and trusts them to make the right decisions. Now he just needs to trust his own gut and not second-guess any of the choices he makes the rest of the way.