Like the Raiders, the Ravens are underrated for different reasons than the rest of the teams on this list (Baltimore is the only team on this list to make the playoffs last season). While the other teams on this list are not being acknowledged or flying under the radar, many people think that because of offseason moves, the Ravens are going to regress and struggle this season.
Two of the reasons they will regress are because of the departures of Rex Ryan and Bart Scott. Simply put, the Ravens have lost defensive coordinators better than Rex Ryan and they have lost defensive players better than Bart Scott.
And every time, people say that the team is going to struggle and every year, the defense remains strong.
Bart Scott is just a product of playing alongside Ray Lewis. Like Ed Hartwell, Jamie Sharper (the best of this bunch), and to a degree, Adalius Thomas before him, Scott is helped greatly by playing next to Ray and like the others, he will likely not be the same guy in New York when expected to be the leader and best player on the linebacking corps.
The Ravens have had a great defense before Rex Ryan was the coordinator and they will continue to have a great defense after he leaves. In 2002, the team's defensive coordinator, Marvin Lewis, left. People said that the defense would struggle without Lewis who led made the Ravens the number 1 ranked defense in the league (something Rex Ryan never did by the way). Yet, since he left, the Ravens defense has still been great.
Second-year quarterback Joe Flacco has made tremendous improvements in the offseason in being more of a quarterback and not a game manger, and he should be helped with weapons in Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Ray Rice, and Todd Heap.
Baltimore also had one of the best and most versatile backfields in 2008 with Le'Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice. This season, McClain is set to play more fullback, Rice is going to be more of a feature back, and rookie Cedric Peerman might make an impact in the running game.