Ray Lewis will make his final home appearance when he and the Baltimore Ravens take on the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. And while the Ravens won the AFC North, they enter the playoffs on a bit of a sour note, having lost to the Bengals (who were eliminated by the Houston Texans for the second year in a row). While saying goodbye to one of the game’s all-time greats would be saddening, this article will look to shed light on how to end Lewis’ great career a little prematurely.
To send Lewis off into the sunset, teams will have to aggressively attack the Ravens defense, especially with the running game. Despite the team predicating much of its success over the last 10-15 years on the defense, injuries took their toll on the unit this season. The defense was average, nothing more, and nothing less. They ranked middle of the pack in most defensive statistics, and played through injuries to Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Lardarius Webb as well as a decline in play from Ed Reed. The defense is no longer the strength of this team. So if opposing teams want to beat the Ravens, they’ll have to be aggressive against this aging defense.
By pushing the defense hard, teams will be keeping the aging squad on the field for prolonged periods of time, but will also force the Ravens offense, which is plenty erratic, to keep up and put points on the board. Quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice are the focal points of the team now, and will have to rise to the occasion should they fall behind. But how Flacco handles the playoff pressure of mounting a comeback is a rather sizeable question mark.869770