In the offseason, it's hard to find things to talk about related to our favorite football team, the Baltimore Ravens. Nothing to do but speculate on what could be when they suit up again in September. I've already laid out a few predictions for our defense, now it's time to wonder what Joe Flacco and company might do in 2012.
Joe Flacco will throw for 4,200 yards and 30 TDs
The media's favorite whipping boy stirred up quite a bit of controversy when he displayed confidence in his skills and told everyone he thinks he is the best QB in the NFL. Every player should have that confidence, but even the most die hard Ravens fans probably realize that he is very good, but not the best in the league. This year Joe will back up his words with the best season of his career. With the Ravens set to face Pro Bowl quarterbacks in 13 of 16 games, we could see more high scoring shootouts than we are used to in Baltimore. The NFL is becoming more of a passing league, and there's no sign of that trend changing. Flacco enters his 5th year, a prime year in the development of an NFL quarterback. Tom Brady and Drew Brees both threw for over 4,000 yards in their 5th year of full playing time for the first time. Ben Roethlisberger did it in his 6th. With another year of experience for Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, and the addition of Jim Caldwell to the offense, it is Joe's time to shine.
(More "bold" predictions after the 'Jump')
Dennis Pitta will make the Pro Bowl
Last year''s glorified flag football game featured Antonio Gates, Jermaine Gresham, and Rob Gronkowski at TE for the AFC. With Gates getting up there in age and Gresham no lock for a return trip to Hawaii, we could see a fresh face represent the AFC. Dennis Pitta proved to be a better player than Ed Dickson, if not a better athlete. I think both will see significant playing time, but Pitta will see more, especially in the red zone. A double digit TD year will be enough for fans to vote Pitta into the Pro Bowl, which of course he will not attend because he'll be preparing for the Super Bowl.
Torrey Smith will have over 1,200 yards and 10 TDs
If I'm gonna predict a huge year for Joe Flacco, Torrey is going to be a huge part of it. The speedy young wideout had an impressive rookie year, and he will build on that in year 2. With more experience will come a better understanding of NFL defenses and his role in our own offense.
Anquan Boldin will be traded
Here's a bold prediction for you. I don't honestly think it will happen, but it makes sense to me. Boldin has never fit the style of offense that Cam Cameron wants to run here, and Ozzie has shown that he is not scared to let go veterans and let younger, more athletic players take their spots. I could see a rare player for player trade with a team like the Giants, who could still be looking to dump Osi Umenyiora. They lost Mario Manningham this offseason and could look to add a proven commodity to give Eli Manning another weapon in a pass heavy offense. This would also allow their younger WRs more time to develop. In another scenario, we could see a mid season deal as the trade deadline has been pushed back and teams will have a better idea of how they want to attack the remainder of their season. If one or two young guys can step up their game, Boldin could become expendable at that point. If the first scenario is unlikely, I'd say this one is next to impossible, because there would be no reason to take away anything from the team at that point, unless it was one of the aforementioned rare player for player deals.
The offensive explosion from Joe Flacco and his two favorite targets in 2012, Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta, will vault the Ravens offense into the top 10 . A tough schedule might make the win/loss record not reflect the growth of the offense, but we will see the Ravens in the playoffs for the 5th consecutive year.