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The Baltimore Ravens are often regarded as among the best teams in the NFL. So why is it that I am picking them to fall short in 2011?
First of all, I would agree that they are a good team. A great team in fact. But in the NFL there is a huge turnover rate every season, and I can envision the Ravens missing the playoffs this season.
Joe Flacco has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of his quarterback play, but is still inconsistent and makes poor decisions too frequently. Additionally, his only playmaker now at receiver is Anquan Boldin. Todd Heap and Derrick Mason were allowed to walk and join other teams. I do not consider Lee Evans to be the playmaker he once was, so from a passing offense standpoint, this team is in trouble.
And furthermore, while the cliché police may arrest me for saying this as it is said every year, it may finally be the time when this Ravens defense wears down due to age. Ray Lewis is 36 years old, and Ed Reed is 32. Even if their play continues at a high level, losing either would be catastrophic to the defense, and at their age, injuries are more frequent.
This Ravens team is good, but they seem less talented on paper than last season. With the Pittsburgh Steelers not slowing down much, and the Cleveland Browns possibly improved if Colt McCoy can play well in 2011, the Ravens would not surprise me if they missed the postseason.