Powered by 2 Immortals, the Ravens Look Like the Best of the AFC

Aaron McKinneyCorrespondent IIIOctober 4, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  (L-R) Ed Reed #20 and Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens warm up against the New England Patriots during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Seriously, who thought Ray Lewis would still be making a difference as a top flight middle linebacker after 15 years? Not me.

How about Ed Reed still managing to find the right place on the field at every crucial point of EVERY game? He's not as old as Lewis, but it's still highly impressive.

Yes, Haloti Ngata is the motor this defense is built around, but make no mistake, Lewis and Reed are still the spark plugs.

Ray Lewis was his usual self, putting on a show and motivating his team before the game. He's been doing this since he got to the NFL.

By the way, just to show how old Ray is, he has the pleasure of being the first pure Raven. He was drafted in the first round as the team moved from Cleveland to Baltimore.And after his usual pregame psyche-up of the team followed by his usual dance, he was a rock for the entire game.

On the other hand, Ed Reed did what he usually did. He found himself forcing a turnover or scoring. In this case he forced a fumble on a safety blitz. This is rather unusual because it was on a sack, something he did for only the second time in eight years.

I've heard Ronnie Lott talk and I'd never try to say Reed will take your head off, but I've never seen a player who has a knack for finding the ball on defense or the end zone once he has the ball better than he does. As well as the defense is playing, Ed Reed and especially Ray Lewis can still see their chances at another championship trickling away as they creep through their 30s.

Now, the Ravens beat the Steelers a few weeks ago and did it rather easily. It's actually starting to look as though the Steelers may not be quite right this year, but as far as the rivalry goes between these teams, they bring their A-game for each other even in a down year.

Following the Steeler game, in which they forced 7 turnovers—more than they had points—they had a total letdown against the Titans and laid a big egg. So after a letdown what can you expect against a tough Jets team? The Ravens gave an A+ in effort. 


Yes, Joe Flacco looked awful, but it was the Jets and he appears to be turning the corner this year.  He brought it when he really needed to, against the Steelers, and now this team believes they can beat a team that has been the bane of their existence.

On the other hand, Ray Rice was on fire. He ran the ball 25 times and although he didn't have a great effort, 25 carries will keep any team's defense honest.

He also caught 2 passes, one of which was a 52 yard gain. His explosiveness will be extremely valuable as the season carries on. That will also help Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Ed Dickson, and Lee Evans when he returns. Flacco will have no shortage of weapons. 

The defense was solid, as the Jets have plenty of flaws right now. But it all centers around Ngata and as long as he's eating up blockers Lewis will continue to experience a bit of a renaissance at his position.

Also, Terrell Suggs is getting his rush on and hopefully the Ravens can get some production from Sergio Kindle opposite Suggs soon here. Also, as I said before, Ed Reed is Ed Reed. The rest of the defense will be fine and support the stars well enough to continue as a top flight unit. 

I think the Ravens will win eight or nine more games, which would at least give them a Wild Card position. If the Steelers continue to look like age is catching up to them, the Ravens may be a shoe-in for the AFC North crown.

With the progression of this offense and stellar defense they have all the ingredients to be a very successful playoff team. And, once in the playoffs, they can stop anybody, even the offensive juggernaut Patriots. At this moment I have to call the Ravens my favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Let's just remember, its been four games, but I'll put all my eggs in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed's basket.