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2013 Balitimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has never missed the playoffs. Last season was Flacco's most memorable season yet as he brought the Lombardi Trophy home to the city of Baltimore and captured Super Bowl XLVII MVP honors as well. The Ravens got off to a hot start last season, starting 9-2 overall (5-5-1 against the spread). Surprisingly, Baltimore faltered late in the year, going 1-4 in its last five games (1-4 ATS). Despite this late-season collapse, the Ravens still managed to finish with a 10-6 record, win the AFC North Division, and clinch the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
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Baltimore kicked off postseason play hosting the surprising and also inspiring Indianapolis Colts. The feel-good story of the Colts quickly came to an end, however, as the Ravens played veteran, smash-mouth football and defeated the Colts, 24-9. Next up for Baltimore was future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning and the top-seeded Denver Broncos. The Ravens shocked Denver in a double overtime thriller, winning 38-35 in one of the most dramatic NFL playoff games in recent memory. From there, it didn't get any easier for Baltimore as Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots awaited the team in Foxboro. The battle-tested Ravens quickly silenced their critics and quieted the Patriots fans as they beat them handily 28-13 to win the AFC Championship Game and advance to Super Bowl XLVII, one of the most anticipated games of all-time as head coach John Harbaugh would be across the field from bother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers. The big game lived up to every ounce of the hype, with Baltimore going on to win its second Super Bowl title, 34-31.
Since that championship win in February, the Ravens have had a very busy offseason. First and foremost, they inked franchise QB Flacco to what was the richest deal in NFL history at the time before Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers re-signed with the Packers, a six- year contract worth over $120 million. On the defensive side of the ball, they lost linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement, safety Ed Reed to the Houston Texans and defensive end Paul Kruger to the Cleveland Browns. They also lost veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers in a move that was made to clear up salary cap space. Baltimore also made some big additions that should not go unnoticed with S Michael Huff and Pro Bowl DE Elvis Dumervil joining the team to help replace Reed and Kruger. With a solid rookie draft class also coming in, led by S Matt Elam from Florida and LB Arthur Brown from Kansas State, the Ravens are looking to get younger at several key positions and trying to simply reload rather than rebuild.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have Baltimore set at O/U 8.5 wins for this upcoming season. The Ravens have their signal-caller locked up for the long-term, they still have one of the best running backs in the league in Ray Rice, and their defense could be surprisingly good despite losing some future Hall of Famers. That could all add up to double-digit wins yet again.
Recommended Play: OVER 8.5
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