After taking a day off from the previews, we continue our look at the AFC North. Today, we turn our attention to the Baltimore Ravens.
It's hard to come up with how to describe the 2007 season for the Ravens. The season was painful for any Ravens fan. The 2007 season made that magical year of 2000 seem like it was all ancient history.
The 2000 Ravens were built on two key aspects; a solid running game led by Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes in the second chair, and a dominating defense led by Ray Lewis, Chris McAlister and Duane Starks snatching up interceptions from the corners and Rob Burnett taking down quarterbacks at will.
The Ravens in 2000 proved that defense does indeed win championships. No defense in NFL history has had the success that the Ravens had in 2000.
The 2007 Ravens had those same elements from the 2000 team, but did not have the same success. Consider this, the 2000 Ravens defense only gave up 165 points. In 2007, the Ravens defense gave up 384 points, that's more points than the offense scored during the 2000 season. It's almost nauseating!
The only bright point was Willis McGahee, who had a strong season in 2007, running for 1200 yards and seven touchdowns.
However, when you think of the Ravens, it's always defense that comes to mind. I think defense when I think Baltimore Ravens football. Only Lewis and McAlister remain from that 2000 defense. I don't know if the Ravens defense will return to that dominating form or not. It's hard to say at this point. They have the talent to get it done, but is that passion still there? I certainly hope so.
The Ravens open up the 2008 season at home when they face the division rival, Cincinnati Bengals. At home, the Ravens will face Philly, Washington and Jacksonville. On the road, the Ravens will play Indy, Miami and Houston.
Time for those burnin' questions (yearbook style):
- The starting quarterback in 2008 will be: Tryleith BolFlacco (See what I did there?)
- Number of games Kyle Boller starts before he gets benched: 1.5
- Number of games Troy Smith starts before he's benched: 10 or 11
- Rushing yards for McGahee: 1100 (and 8 touchdowns)
- Random Raven Fun Fact: Kyle Boller is the all-time Ravens passing leader with over 7000 yards (That's almost 4 miles if my math is correct)
- Number of tackles for Ray Lewis: About 90
- One word to describe defense: Not the same one from 2000 (Okay, so it's five words too many)
- Coolest names (Top 3): Haloti Ngata, Dawan Landry and Le'Ron McClain (Joe Flacco gets honorable mention)
- 80s song to best describe team: Never Say Goodbye- Bon Jovi
- In 2008, the Ravens will: Finish the season 6-10