Don Banks and Peter King of Sports Illustrated have released their predictions for the NFL playoffs and the consensus is that the Ravens will be one and done.
King predicted that the Ravens would edge Kansas City 23-20 with a big game from Ray Rice.
Remember last season’s wild-card rout by Baltimore in New England? Rice rushed for 159 yards and was the best player on the field, better that day than two of the top 20 players of all time (Ray Lewis, Tom Brady). He carried the Ravens that day, and I’ll be stunned if the Ravens don’t ask him to do exactly the same thing to silence the 70,000 red-wearers in Missouri on Sunday.
I’ve been asking to see Rice get established all year. Despite Baltimore’s receiving corps, I still think that Ray Rice is the key to success for Baltimore’s offense. I hope that King is right and that Rice slashes through the Chiefs defense all day on Sunday.
Don Banks gave his thoughts on the Ravens in his playoff power rankings and while he picked the Ravens to win the Super Bowl during training camp, he’s not so optimistic anymore.
Baltimore just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to put teams away, rarely doing much more on offense than what it takes to win. The Ravens’ biggest margin of victory this season against a team that finished with a winning record was its seven-point win over Tampa Bay in late November. Maybe they were saving themselves for the playoffs and are about to play their first complete game this Sunday in Kansas City. Or maybe winning the tough, close ones is who these Ravens really are.
I don’t buy that the Ravens have been saving themselves, I think that they are a team who has failed establish an identity against their opponents. I hope that they will embrace their strengths in the playoffs because I feel that despite their 12-4 record, they have underperformed as a whole this season.
How do you think the Ravens will fare in the playoffs?