Throughout the Baltimore Raven’s NFL history, they have been a strong defensive force. In 2010 it may be Baltimore’s offense that gets them deep into the NFL Playoffs. While the Baltimore Ravens key defensive veterans, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed grow another year older, quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice have another year of experience heading into the 2010 NFL season.
Joe Flacco Developing Into Offensive Leader for Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco was an unknown two years ago and while he isn’t the best quarterback in the NFL, Flacco is better than average. Towards the end of the season last year, Flacco was hobbled by ankle and hip injuries that slowed him down and affected his ability to move in the pocket. Flacco already is not the most mobile QB already and slowed by injuries, Flacco’s effectiveness was limited.
Flacco gets some added help with new receivers coming into the fold, Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth. Boldin may have lost a step over the years but he will still be a reliable target for Flacco. Meanwhile, Stallworth returning to the NFL after a year suspension for a DUI manslaughter charge, will have to earn his way onto the team. If Stallwoth does make the Baltimore Ravens roster he will be a deep threat if his legs are still strong.
Ray Rice has Become a Stud Out of the Baltimore Backfield
Ray Rice has developed into a dominant force out of the Baltimore Ravens backfield and a running back that many secondary defenders fear. Rice is a strong runner that can also make moves and make the defenders miss. Rice carried the ball 254 times last year and is also a threat to catch the ball after he releases a block or Baltimore occasionally lines him up as a slot receiver so they bring him across on a slant.
Willis McGahee is a great change of pace back for Rice. McGahee is a little less physical than Rice but is not afraid of contact either. McGahee has a history of injuries but it has not slowed down his performance. McGahee piles up yardage after Rice pounds the ball down the defense’s throat.
Baltimore Ravens Receivers Give Flacco More Options
Joe Flacco has a plethora of receivers to choose from this season, led by veteran Anquan Boldin who may not be what he once was but still qualifies as a number one receiver. Boldin joins Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, two receivers that were already developing into solid reliable pass catchers for Flacco. Clayton may be the receiver that sees less action in the 2010 NFL season but he will be rotated in often.
Todd Heap is still the reliable hard nosed tight end he has always been but the years of punishing hits may be catching up with him. This may be why Baltimore Ravens GM, Ozzie Newsome’s NFL Draft picks included two tight ends this year. Dennis Pitta is a sure handed tight end out of Penn State and Ed Dickson may be a project.
Baltimore Ravens Defense May be Older but Don’t Underestimate Them
The Baltimore Ravens have plenty of talent on defense and defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison likes to confuse offenses by bouncing back and forth between the 3-4 defense and the 4-3 defense. Ray Lewis may be getting older but hs has the spirit of a man in his 20’s. Lewis is still the unquestioned leader of the Baltimore Ravens defense.
Outside linebacker Sergio Kindle, the Baltimore Ravens first NFL Draft pick in the 2010 draft, won’t be reporting to camp on the first day. Kindle was injured, falling down a flight of stairs receiving head injuries. Kindle was expecting to learn under the tutelage of Ray Lewis and he will face a setback of a few weeks.
Another key defensive player that will miss the first six weeks of the season will be Ed Reed. It may be a good thing for Reed to miss the beginning of the season. The older Reed will benefit from the early time off later in the season and the NFL Playoffs. Reed is a critical member of the defense with his superior ball hawking skills.
Las Vegas Gives Baltimore Ravens 10-1 Chance to Win Super Bowl
The Las Vegas Hilton and Superbook has placed the Baltimore Ravens at 10-1 to win the Super Bowl and the favorites to win the AFC North at 5-7. The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook also made the Baltimore Ravens over/under win total at 10 wins. Baltimore should be able to win 10-11 NFL games in the 2010 season.
The keys to the Baltimore Ravens winning 10 or 11 NFL games will be Joe Flacco’s development throughout the 2010 NFL season and if the defense has not grown to old to dominate the AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers two game series may be two of the best NFL games of the year.
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Las Vegas Hilton Superbook Over/Under totals and Picks.
Odds to win the 2011 Super Bowl.