#5 Seed – Baltimore Ravens
Second Round Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers
Best Case Playoffs Scenario: The defense continues to wear the pants in the relationship but the offense shows that it can play too. Joe Flacco plays error free football and utilizes the many talents of running back Ray Rice. Meanwhile, Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason bail Flacco out of bad situations.
Worst Case Playoffs Scenario: The Ravens run out of gas in the secondary and 21st ranked pass defense doesn’t hold up against Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, or Mark Sanchez. Joe Flacco doesn’t get out of game manager mode and coughs up the football one time too many. Also, Ray Rice’s YPC doesn’t eclipse his regular season average of 3.97.
Raven Player of Note: Anquan Boldin. The former Cardinal posted his lowest reception and yardage totals since 2004. He doesn’t seem to fit the Ravens offense. While he was in Arizona, he played with a fast-break offense opposite Larry Fitzgerald. The Ravens possess a slow-tempo attack with the ancient Derrick Mason. Baltimore needs to get much more out of the passing game and Boldin, in particular.
Bizarre Note Regarding Baltimore, Maryland: My car was broken into only once. That was in Baltimore while visiting friends on a whim. In a tribute to bad karma, someone probably just threw a brick through my driver side window.
A Reason Why The Ravens Should Be Worried: Due to their style of football, the Ravens play in a ton of close games. During the regular season, Baltimore played in 12 of 16 games that were decided by seven points or less. While that may help them on the road, that also means Flacco has to put on his big boy pants against Roethlisberger and potentially Brady. While T-Sizzle may hate them both, they own five Super Bowl rings to Flacco’s zero. Late in the fourth quarter on the road down by four, do you believe Flacco is going to drive it 80 yards for a score? I don’t.
Bad Moment In Ravens Postseason History: If I’m ever fortunate enough to have children, I will sit my son and/or daughter down to speak with them about the 2006 postseason.
It was during that postseason that three teams blew golden opportunities at winning a Super Bowl. Baltimore, San Diego, and New England all made season-killing errors in playoff losses.
Two of the aforementioned squads (Baltimore and New England) allowed Peyton Manning to complete one of the worst postseason runs ever by a Super Bowl-winning quarterback (3 TDs-7 INTs).
Indy’s only road game during that run was in Baltimore during the divisional round.
Manning finished 15 of 30 for 170 yards with two interceptions. Somehow, the Colts won 15-6.