Five challenges for the Baltimore Ravens in 2013
1. QB Joe Flacco is going to cost a lot more against the salary cap going forward, leaving less financial resources available for other players.
2. The Ravens will play a slightly more difficult schedule than divisional rivals next year. For example, while the Steelers go against the Raiders and Titans, the Ravens will get the Texans and Broncos.
3. Selecting last in the draft in 2013 (#32), the Ravens are less likely to add impactful rookies next year. By comparison, the Steelers pick at #17, and the Bengals at #21.
4. Key veterans like Ray Lewis and Matt Birk (and perhaps Ed Reed) will no longer be with the team.
5. Instead of being the hunter, the Ravens will be hunted by both the Steelers and Bengals. And Baltimore will also have to contend with the all-too-common Super Bowl letdown.
But, expect the Ravens to host the Steelers or Patriots in week one of the 2013 season.
Unfortunately, the Curse of the Terrible Towel did not strike the Ravens this year.