Ray Lewis and Ed Reed: Is This the Last Stand for the Ravens?

Jeffrey SchmidtCorrespondent IIIAugust 15, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 07: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens yells incouragement to Ed Reed #20 against the San Francisco 49ers before an NFL game on October 7, 2007 at Monster Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens have always been built on the foundation of defense. 

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have been two of the main catalysts for Baltimore's success, and it looks as if both may be calling it quits in the near future. 

Since being drafted, Reed and Lewis have been two of the most feared players in the game today.

Ray Lewis was drafted 26th overall by the Ravens in their inaugural draft, while Ed Reed joined the club in 2002 after being drafted 24th overall; both players were drafted out of Miami. The Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV, and won it mainly on the play of Lewis, who won the game's MVP. 

Both players have accumulated just about every accolade there is. They have been named to several Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams, and in 2010, they were named to the 2000s NFL All-Decade team.

With all that being said, an intriguing question still remains for both players: what else is left to prove to the NFL world? The answer to that question would have to be the honor of holding up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.

When Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com asked Ray Lewis about how long can he keep up his frenetic pace, the response was highly intriguing.

"My son will be a junior this year. I only play this game for another ring. If we can win it this year, and I'm being brutally honest with you, if we win it this year, I'm gone to then spend as much time as I can with him," Lewis said. "I'm gone to be with my son. And I feel like now we have enough pieces in place to make a good run at the Super Bowl."

Ed Reed has yet to specify when he will retire, but it seems that he would consider going out on top with his teammate Ray Lewis. The Ravens are more balanced then they have ever been, and with a Pro Bowl-type season out of Joe Flacco, the skies the limit for this franchise.

Ray Lewis seems to be more motivated to win now than ever before (if that's even possible), and it's hard to bet against this Ravens team; even In a conference that has the SteelersNew England PatriotsNew York JetsIndianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers.

I am going to bet against this team, however. I have them losing to the Jets in the conference championship game which means Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will be back for their real "last stand."

Even with my prediction of both guys coming back, this year's Ravens team has to look at this season as Super Bowl or bust.