The dreaded Super Bowl slump is something no championship winning team really wants to talk about.
However, as many fans know, it is a valid and a real issue that occurs. Many teams have gotten to the big game, only to have a lackluster follow-up season.
Some teams even fail to make the playoffs the next year.
There are three main reasons I believe the Ravens will not have a good 2013 season.
Agree or disagree with this, but I think even the most dedicated Ravens fans will agree the roster changes are going to play a major factor in how their team does this year.
First, the heart of their defense has retired. Ray Lewis will no longer be motivating and leading his team to victories. Most fans, and certainly his old teammates will sorely miss seeing No. 52 suit up.
Lewis played for the Ravens since 1996 and has enough awards and highlights to fill most people's small apartment. He was often shown motivating his teammates before their games and was always attempting to keep his defensive brothers hyped up and prepared to make one more big play. His retirement was probably due, but he will surely be missed.
Second, the Ravens did not think paying Ed Reed the money he expected was a good business decision. Whether you agree or disagree with that decision, from a strictly business stand point, it does make sense. Reed is getting older, and he was expensive.
I am not sure it is the choice I would have made if I ran the Ravens organization, as I believe you show loyalty to those who show loyalty to you. That being said, Reed could have taken less money to stay I suppose.
Regardless of what you think about his departure, his presence will be missed. Reed played for the Ravens since 2002 and has often been considered one of the best free safeties to ever play the position. His toughness and ability will not soon be forgotten in Baltimore, and Houston should be glad they picked him up. Reed signing with another team and Lewis retiring will put the Ravens' defense in unfamiliar territory this season, and I believe the team as a whole will suffer for it.
Third of my three reasons, would be letting one of their best offensive weapons go. Anquan Boldin was acquired by the Ravens in 2010, and was instrumental in getting the team to and through the playoffs.
The Ravens asked Boldin to take a pay cut this season, which he promptly refused and Baltimore shipped him off to the Super Bowl runner-up 49ers for a 6th round draft pick. I think they could have gotten more for Boldin, but that doesn't change the fact that Boldin's presence will be yet another hold in a team that seems to have gotten weaker overall in their roster so far.
I do not believe the Ravens will be making the trip to the Super Bowl this year. I do not believe Joe Flacco is worth what he is being paid, and I do not believe the Ravens made the right choices regarding Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin.
That being said, I also did not believe the Ravens would beat the Broncos in the playoffs last year, or make it to and much less win the Super Bowl. So, perhaps they will prove me wrong again this year.