AFC North Preview:Baltimore Ravens
The first team I will be previewing in the AFC North will be the Baltimore Ravens. I will highlight the key players on both sides of the ball who I feel will need to have great seasons for the Ravens to be successfull. Baltimore Ravens: Offensive Coordinator: Cam Cameron QB(Quarterback): Joe Flacco Flacco showed great improvements last season. He threw for 3613 passing yards in his second season for the Ravens and threw for 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He is getting better overall at reading the defenses. He also has a very solid arm and can strech defenses down the field. This season I expect him to take another step forward if the Ravens want to make the Super Bowl. Plus he has gotten some nice offseason additions to help him out at the wide receiver position with the team adding Anquan Boldin and recently signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh who was released by the Seahawks. RB(Running Back): Ray Rice One of the top five running backs in the NFL today and he is only in his second year in the NFL. Last season he rushed for 1339 rushing yards with 7 rushing touchdowns and also had 702 receiving yards with 1 receiving touchdown. Ray Rice has great speed and agility that makes him very elusive. He is also very hard to take down and can easly break off a long run. I expect him to have another solid season for the Ravens. WR(Wide Receiver): Anquan Boldin This is by far the biggest offseason move the Ravens have made, adding a big time wide receiver threat which they have lacked in past seasons. Ravens never had that big time receiver to throw the ball to. I expect Boldin to have 1000-1100 receiving yards receiving with around 6-9 touchdowns. WR(Wide Receiver): Derrick Mason Mason who is 36 years old, was considering retirement this offseason but decided not to. He has a new two year deal and also he has had three straight 1000 receiving yard seasons so why not continue. He still has something left in the tank and can help this team out a lot. Especially now with Boldin and Houshmandzadeh who will be the third receiver. Expect Mason to have another solid season but now with Boldin and Houshmandzadeh aboard expect his receiving yards to drop and his targets. He will still play a big part in the offense. TE(Tight End): Todd Heap Todd Heap will have to step up his game this season. He has been battling injuries the past few season and some people think he maybe slowing down. He is only 30 years old and I feel he still has a lot to offer to the Ravens. Last season he had 593 receiving yards with 6 touchdowns. I feel he needs 5-8 touchdowns this season and needs to stay healthy to help this team. The more weapons Flacco has on the offensive side the more dangerous this team will be. Defensive Coordinator: Greg Mattison LILB(Left Inside Linebacker): Ray Lewis Ray Lewis who is now 35 years old, is still overall is one of the best Left Inside Linebackers in the NFL. This guy is the leader on the defense for the Ravens and is such an intense player and brings it every single week to the field and is a hard nosed tackler. He is great at reading the quarterbacks and what they are doing. He had 133 tackles last season. I expect him to have a great year this season. ROLB(Right Outside Linebacker): Terrell Suggs Last season was a injury plagued season for Terrell Suggs where he just wasn't himself. He had 4.5 sacks in 13 games played. I expect him to get back to 8 sacks plus what he use to get normally every season when he came into the league. He just needs to be healthy this year for the Ravens and there defense will be in the top 10 like they allways are. FS(Free Safety): Ed Reed Ed Reed is one of the best Free Safeties of all-time. He was considering retirement this offseason cause he was tired of dealing with the hip and neck problems he has been having. He is the leader for the other Free Safeties and Cornerbacks on the team, those guys look to him for advice. He will be unavailable for the first 6 weeks and will be able to return back in Week 7. Not having him is a big loss, hopefully the other guys can step up until he comes back. Overall I think with the additions the Ravens have made, and there young core with Rice and Flacco getting better every year that this team will finish 1st in the AFC North. I think they will finish with a record of 11 wins and 5 losses.