If the Ravens want to win the Super Bowl, these six players will have to step up big time.
Did you expect anyone else to be at the top of this list? Flacco wants a long term deal and thinks he is an elite quarterback. He has all the potential in the world but has not put it together yet. After all the injuries on defense this team has suffered, the passing of Art Model, and the knowledge of Ray Lewis’s retirement, Joe Flacco has a tremendous opportunity infront of him to become a leader on this team and earn a big contract.
Call me crazy, but the triceps injury Lewis suffered against the Cowboys might be a blessing in disguise. Lewis has lost a step but he is still playing well. His decline was more evident as the season went on so a break might be a good thing. He will have fresh legs and will be extremely motivated.
Reed, like Lewis has lost a step but Reed has a way of making big time plays in big time games. He has had a lot of success against Tom Brady and Peyton Manning who he might face later in the playoffs. I have a feeling that Reed is going to intercept Luck multiple times this Sunday.
Ray Rice will be running very hard for Ray Lewis. The two are very close and Rice will be motivated to play well for Ray. Rice is one of the best all purpose backs in the NFL and at times, can be unstoppable.
Michael Oher/Kelechi Osemele
They will face a tough test against Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney but Oher and Osemele have performed at a high level at times throughout the season. Expect to see a game plan much like the game against the Giants; a lot of quick passes to set up longer passes to Torrey Smith.
The Raves have suffered a myriad of injuries in the defensive side of the ball. Smith, a former first round pick has the potential to become a shut down cornerback but injuries have hampered his development. When Smith was healthy at the end of last season, he played very well, especially against Andre Johnson in the playoffs. He has played on special teams for the last few games and has seen limited playing time not because of his performance but because the Ravens might be trying to get him back slowly. Smith’s addition to this list may be surprising but if he plays, he must play at a high level.
Honorable mention: Tandon Doss
What? Tandon Doss? Doss could be a player that breaks out in some way to give this team that extra piece. Over the past few weeks, Doss has seen more playing time and while he has not made much of an impact on offense, the Ravens love his potential. Doss has great hands and his strength has the ability to be a great slot receiver. Watch out for Doss, his addition to this list is pretty bold but Doss can make an impact.