Anyone who thinks the Baltimore Ravens are only the 7th best team in the NFL should have to take a urinalysis test.
Fox Sports released NFL power rankings yesterday. Yes it’s early. Yes a lot can change between now and September but the Ravens were picked a rather disrespectful 7th below the Broncos, Saints and Seahawks. We can argue about the Colts, Patriots and Chargers (1st thru 3rd) later but there’s absolutely no doubt the Ravens belong a solid 4th.
Adalius Thomas is gone. Okay. Admittedly, that’s big. But as the Ravens have shown year in and year out, it’s not the player, it’s the defensive schemes. Suggs, Lewis, Scott ALL BACk. They shored up the offensive line somewhat and upgraded the running back position with McGahee. McNair has another year in the system as do guys like Clayton. This team is STACKED. Period.
The Saints had a nice run last year but Brees is injury prone and I’m still not sold on the defense. Don’t expect them to shine again.
Denver? Uh-uh. They’re good. Jay Cutler will prove to be a reliable starter but a potential MVP? "Hey Schrager (the writer of the article), you dating him?" Bringing in Travis Henry might help a running game that slipped a bit at times last year and there’s been some defensive upgrades as well but, no sir, the Broncos aren’t the Ravens.
Now for the Seahawks. The level of competition in the NFC is so inferior it’s difficult to get a read on this team. Lots of question marks. Can Hasselbeck and Alexander stay healthy? Will we see the ’05 defense or the not nearly as good ’06 defense? With teams like the 49ers and Arizona ready to take up a step up, the Seahawks may not even find themselves in the playoffs.
Right now, with the exception of Indianapolis who still belongs on top, the Ravens are right there with San Diego and New England. You wanna call them 4th? Fine. It shows no imagination but, okay.
I’m going to be brutally honest here. I don’t bleed Ravens purple the way some of the hosts do. I’m from New York originally. I root for the Giants (yes the Super Bowl loss STILL hurts although I knew we had no shot) but I’ve always liked what the Ravens stand for. The defense has played at a superlative level for so long it’s ridiculous. Lately, I’ve had some opportunities to learn exactly why. I respect the talent, I respect the team and I respect the coaching.
So why doesn’t Peter Schrager and Fox Sports see it the same way?
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Warning… It’s RATED R!