The trendy Super Bowl pick in the NFL this season seems to be the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens have been known since their inception in the NFL as a defensive-minded team. Many can argue that the only reason the Ravens have had any success is because of their defense over the last decade.
They even won the Super Bowl in 2000 because they had one of the best defenses in NFL history. I mean, if a team wins the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer at QB, the defense has to be amazing, right?
With the Ravens spending the last three years upgrading the offense to match the fire power of the defense, it only tends to reason that the Ravens should be a force to be reckoned with in 2010.
They now have their franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco, the power running game of Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain, and added Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth to the threat of Derrick Mason in the passing game. This looks to be an offense that is capable of leading the team.
And now they are going to have to.
The Ravens' defensive issues started last season, and all due to injury.
All-World free safety Ed Reed has had multiple injuries that have threatened his career. Though he plans on playing in 2010, he describes himself right now as 30-35 percent healthy. Reed has already been placed on the PUP list, and unless he is ready to go by Week One, then he will have to sit out the first six games of the season.
Along with Ed Reed on the PUP list are Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington. Webb and Washington both suffered torn ACLs towards the end of the 2009 season, which is the main reason the Ravens could not make it to the Super Bowl last year.
Add to that a new injury, the torn ACL of top Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, and it leaves the Super Bowl favorites VERY thin at the cornerback position.
The Ravens spent their first two picks of the 2010 NFL Draft on defensive players: Sergio Kindle, who now has a fractured skull and might not be able to play in 2010, and Terrance "Mount" Cody, who would not be able to cover an NFL receiver in a closet.
The only other players the Ravens have added to their secondary this offseason were Ken Hamlin and Walt Harris.
Hamlin is a cast-off from the Dallas Cowboys, and may not even earn a starting spot on the roster. Many people believe Tom Zbikowski will take the place of Ed Reed until he returns.
Walt Harris has played his best games, but he is going to have to be counted on to be a major contributor with the many injuries in the Ravens secondary.
The only way the Ravens will be able to make a run to the Super Bowl, as strange as this sounds, is going to be with the offense leading the way. The defense this year is going to have to just go along for the ride, like the offense did for so many years.