Talked with my son, who lives in Baltimore, this morning and he says the weather matches the gloom in Crabtown about 12 hours after the Ravens lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It is overcast with light rain and fog. I suspect some Ravens fans are in a fog this morning after the game. Lee Evans' drop/strip of the game winning TD and then Billy Cundiff's miss from 32 yards on a field goal attempt that would have sent the game to OT will go down as the worst moments in Raven's team history.
Joe Flacco played like the elite quarterback everyone said he wasn't. He misfired on a few early throws but after that Fu Manchu Joe was right on. May have tried to get a little to cute on the interception in the 4th quarter but on the next play Tom Brady threw a pick on a fantastic play by Bernard Pollard and Jimmy Smith. Overall Joe outplayed the greatest QB in the history of the world. Maybe he will get some credit.
The future for the Ravens is not as bleak as many think. Yes Ed Reed will probably retire, and maybe Center Matt Birk, but a lot of the core performers on the Ravens will be back. The receiving corps will only get better with a full off-season to work with Flacco. Look for Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson to become a bigger part of the offense. Ray Rice and Vonta Leech aren't going anywhere. I do think that Cam Cameron is done. His vanilla play calling will be a thing of the past. I also think you will see the further development of Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith as cornerbacks.
There are no guarantees, going into a season, but I think the Ravens will be a playoff contender in 2012.
My early thoughts on the Super Bowl is the Giants will surprise the experts and beat the Patriots. Eli Manning is playing very well and the New England defense will not be able to stop the Giants running and passing game. I also think the Ravens showed everyone how to handle Brady. Get him off his spot and you ruin his timing. I think the Giants terrific rush will give New England lots of trouble. I like New York 27-17 over the Patriots.