With the NFL preseason winding down and the regular season around the corner, the annual “Super Bowl question” is already being asked.
While some pundits look down on the preseason for its injuries, expenses and fluff, rabid football fans praise it as a chance to see which teams look good and which ones look horrid. With one week left in the preseason, the AFRO sports desk sparked its own Super Bowl debate. Naturally, Perry Green, an all-for-one Baltimore Ravens writer, picked none other than the Ravens as champs, while Stephen D. Riley went in a different direction:
Green: The hurry-up offense the Ravens have experimented with this preseason has me excited. Quarterback Joe Flacco looks like the epitome of cool and the offense looks like it’s ready to explode onto the scene this year. The Ravens defense is never cause for concern, no matter how many players they lose, and we all know Baltimore was a dropped pass and a missed field goal away from reaching the Super Bowl last year. It’s obvious who the favorite to win it all should be this year, in my opinion.
Riley: Last season, once the New York Giants shocked the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in the second round, I knew the Giants would win it all no matter who they faced. Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the reigning league MVP, is the top quarterback in the league. With him, an explosive offense, an opportunistic defense and the best home-field advantage in the league, I look for the Packers to bring home another trophy next February.
Green: Some home-field advantage that turned out to be for Green Bay if the Giants shocked them at home, right? Rodgers didn’t look all that good this preseason and it looks like the league’s defenses have caught on to him and the Packers’ offense. Plus I’m not sold on their defense being good enough to carry them should Rodgers falter. Those same reasons are why the Giants took them out. From top to bottom, Baltimore has no glaring weaknesses and their own home-field advantage (9-0 at M&T Bank Stadium last season, including the playoffs) isn’t too shabby either.
Riley: Every year it seems we’re told how great the Baltimore Ravens are going to be, but it never materializes into any postseason success. I trust quarterbacks who have been there and performed like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. You can trust Flacco if you like, but as we’ve seen since he came into the league, it won’t get you anywhere.
Green: There’s a process to everything. All that’s happened since Flacco arrived in Baltimore has prepared the team for a chance at overcoming the odds now. Everything is lined up for them to storm through the season and playoffs on their way to a championship. It would be a great way for Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to go out, and it seems as if those two are finally ready to pass the torch to Flacco and running back Ray Rice as Baltimore’s new stars. Flacco and Rice already helped lead the Ravens to four straight playoff appearances and two trips to the AFC Championship Game during their first four years in the league. Imagine what they’ll do now that they’re entering their prime. Things are going to get real scary for the Ravens’ opponents this year.