Bengals News

2013 NFL Preview: AFC North

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Reasons to be Cautious:

Joe Flacco – Flacco gambled big time and won. Baltimore now has a $20 million QB that has never thrown for 4,000 yards or 25 TDS and has a career completion percentage of just 60.5% – in fact, Flacco’s completion percentage has not been over 60% since 2010. In his 5 years in the league, Flacco has averaged 20 TDs, 11 INTs, 3,625 yards and an 86.2 rating. Not exactly $20 million stats. Flacco can look brilliant one series and clueless the next. While I do not understand the QBR stat, I do know that 50.0 is deemed average, and in 2012, Flacco had 8 games under 50.0, 6 games under 25.1, 3 games under 8.0 and 2 games under 1.0! Maybe he turned over a new leaf, I just don’t think he did.

Receivers – Torrey Smith is a good deep threat, but he has yet to show that he is an all-around WR. With the loss of Boldin (their best all-around WR) and Pitta (Flacco’s safety blanket), the Ravens are left to lean on Jacoby Jones…he of 406 yards in 2012.

Loss of Leadership – Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were no longer the players they once were, but what they gave this team from a leadership standpoint cannot be measured. Who picks that up? Flacco? Suggs? Not sure, but I know there will be a drop from Lewis and Reed.

History – No team has gone to, or won, back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2004 and 2005 Patriots.

Overall:

The Ravens were not a great team in 2012, they just caught fire (and luck) at the right time. This is a team that wasn’t far from not even making the 2012 playoffs: lost to the 4-12 Eagles, beat the 2-14 Chiefs 9-6, lost to the 7-9 Chargers and were beat by 30 by the Texans. To top it off, they lost more in the offseason than they gained. The Ravens will likely find themselves battling for 2nd place in the division and for a playoff spot.

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