Ray Lewis is a very tough autograph. These specific cards were obtained years ago through a private signing in Miami, Florida. If you went up to Ray these days coming out of the stadium or walking through the airport Lewis wouldn’t sign. (Maybe if you’re a young kid. Maybe though). These are extremely difficult to find as this future Hall of Famer has been advised to keep his autographs to a minimum.
Over the past 16 seasons Lewis has been a constant in the Raven’s defense, compiling impressive stats and leading the team to a super-bowl victory versus the Giants in 2001. I am very proud to say I was there and to this day I remember the roar of the crowd as Lewis did his infamous dance coning out of the tunnel. Recognized as one of the best defensive players of the modern era and in NFL history, Lewis is a natural playmaker that intimidates opposing offenses with his ability to control the middle of the field. Although a bit older, Lewis makes up for his loss of a step, with his instincts, extreme physicality, and wreck less style. At 6’1” 250 lbs, Lewis’s size is not prototypical these days, but his experience adds to his arsenal of tricks, and his ability to stay relevant over the years. The team functions off of Lewis as he is a warrior on and off the field. Lewis often is in the right spot at the perfect time. Despite Lewis’s productive history the time for the Raven’s is now, and this teams chances may be running out due to the aging defense. Throughout his career Lewis has played in over 222 games, accounted for over 1999 tackles, 1514 solo tackles, 40.5 sacks, and an impressive 31 picks with 3 going for touchdowns.
The Raven’s secondary is also in lieu as Ed Reed has lost a step, however similar to that of Lewis remains a threat due to his ability to make huge plays. This season Reed accounted for 52 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 3 interceptions. Last week Reed had 6 tackles, and 1 pick to beat Houston 20-13.
Offensively, I’ve seen the Ravens sputter this year time to time, so this weekend they must bring their A game in order to compete with Brady and his arsenal of receivers. The jury is still out over Flacco as he threw 20 TD’s and 12 INT’s on the season with a completion percentage of 57.6%. Compared to the elite QB’s such as Brady and Rodgers this number is alarming. Against Houston, Flacco was solid, completing 14 passes on 27 attempts for 2 TD’s and 1 int. Good play must continue if the Ravens have any shot of a title this year. The Ravens must avoid performances like that against the Titans in week 3 (L 13-26), Jaguars in week 5 (L 7-12), the Seahawks in week 9 (L 17-22) and the Chargers in Week 13 (L 14-34). In all of these games combined Flacco went (88-156 56.4% for 815 yards with 5 td’s and 6int).
Ray Rice had an outstanding year averaging 4.7 yards a carry, rushing for 1,364 yards and scoring 12 different times. When the Raven’s lost Rice was neutralized as he only rushed for 156 yards over the 4 losses. In the passing game Rice additionally impressed, catching a ridiculous 76 balls and compiling another 704 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air. After 4 years in the league Rice has established himself as a super productive back that should be entering the prime of his career in the coming years.