NFL Prediction (07/08/13)

By Paul Bessire

Each day over the next two weeks we will reveal a Prediction of the Day, where we share an interesting player or team prediction leading into the 2013 NFL season. Rams vs. FalconsTampa Bay's defense, Broncos/49ers.

Prediction: The Baltimore Ravens will not repeat as Super Bowl champions. 

Why it is likely:

Gone are the starting inside linebackers, Joe Flacco’s most trusted receiver and a former All-Pro safety. This is almost a lock, though it has far more to do with probability than it does with the much discussed offseason losses of the team. As reigning division winners, Baltimore has to play Denver and Houston in addition to taking on New England and Green Bay plus six tough games in the AFC North. The only two games in which Baltimore has a greater than 65% chance to win are at home against Cleveland and the Jets. Just getting to nine wins (our projection is 8.8) and making the playoffs will be tough. That would almost guarantee a Wild Card game and, at best a 1-in-12 chance to win it all.

Possible obstacles:

Given what Joe Flacco and a makeshift offensive line that remains intact were able to do down the stretch as well as the addition-by-subtraction nature of replacing Ed Reed and Ray Lewis at this point in their careers, Baltimore should still be among the league’s 8-to-10 best teams. If Flacco and the offense can sustain the magic of last postseason throughout the year, things could be special yet again for the Ravens.

Final thought:

Talks of doom and gloom for this team after this offseason are exaggerated. However, the Ravens still have just a 3.2% chance to win the Super Bowl and just a 56.2% chance to make the postseason at all.