Tuesday's Mailbag: July 16th, 2013

Ravens' Courtney Upshaw celebrating a sack vs. the Bengals. - Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

Who will be the Ravens' biggest challenge in the AFC? Will the Ravens sign Kerry Rhodes? & more!

Happy Tuesday, Ravens Nation! It has been a busy off-season so far, but now it is starting to slow down. We are only a week or so from the start of training camp, so there will be A LOT of Ravens' news and updates then! We have a fairly large mailbag, so let's open it up!

Q1: I would love for the Ravens to play a London game, would be cool to see them play across the pond, gain a few new fans there. - Baltimore Bench on BB.

Personally, I do not hate the idea of playing in London. It could be great for the Ravens organization, since they may gain a fan or two in London. Of course, the major disadvantage is that it may count as a home game. It is not certain that it would count as one of the eight home games, but there is definitely a chance.

Ravens' Owner Steve Bisciotti said that he doesn't hate the idea of playing overseas, and if it becomes the Ravens turn to do so, he'd accept it. Bisciotti mainly wants the season ticket holders to see eight home games in Baltimore, instead of seven in Charm City, and one in London.

Whatever happens, I could care less if the Ravens play overseas. I am fine with them playing in the USA, less risk and we still get eight home games.

Think about it, though. Wouldn't it be ironic for the Ravens to play in a city that has Big Ben, the same name as the quarterback of the arch-rival Steelers?

Q2: How do you think we'll do against historically tough teams this season? Denver, New England, Houston, and even Bengals seem to pose a threat to some degree. - sttopher315 on BB.

I think we'll do alright against all. Let me break each of those games down in a brief fashion.

Denver Broncos (Week 1) - This one may be one of the toughest games of the season. We will be going into Denver to play the Broncos in the season opener (stupid NFL.) The Broncos have players like Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Von Miller, etc. They look good, but how will they play against the Ravens? In the playoffs last season, the Ravens & Broncos had very similar games, along with somewhat similar teams. Now that the Ravens' defense looks younger and more talented, Flacco is more confident, and the offense is still dominant, the Broncos may be in for a bumpy ride in Week 1.

New England Patriots (Week 16)- The Patriots are already looking bad. The main reason why I say that is because of the receiving game. Gronkowski is hurt, Hernandez was released, Lloyd left, Welker left, etc. The receiving game looks like a joke, and Danny Amendola is VERY injury prone. The Patriots aren't looking like themselves for this upcoming season, so I might call this a fairly easy win for the Ravens.

Houston Texans (Week 3)- The Houston Texans come to Baltimore in Week 3 for a chance to defeat the Ravens again, just like last season. The Texans look like they could be exactly like they were last year, which could spell trouble for the Ravens in this one. The Ravens will have to find ways to get around Watt, ways to defend Foster & Johnson, along with ways to stay motivated as a team. This game may be the only one that the Ravens lose to a playoff team from last year. Also, Ray Lewis will be inducted into the Ravens' Ring-of-Honor during halftime of this game, which could always help the Ravens get motivated and get the win.

Cincinnati Bengals (Weeks 10 & 17)- The Bengals have steadily improved every single season, as they have made the playoffs the past two seasons. Some people are picking them to win the AFC North, but no, not me. The Bengals may have young talent, but the Ravens have more talent. As long as the Ravens can shut down WR A.J. Green, it should be a field day for them, as Green is basically their whole offense. The Bengals do have a decent running game, but it could get even better with the addition of Gio Bernard, the RB out of North Carolina.

Q3: Do you think any of our rookies could be Rookie-of-the-Year? Also, do you see any of them getting into the Pro Bowl? - sttopher315 on BB.

It is very possible, but I kind of doubt it.

The only two I could see being either is Elam & Brown, but I don't know if either of them have the skills to become Rookie-of-the-Year, just because there are some very talented rookies coming in this season.

As for the Pro Bowl, I highly doubt any of our rookies will make the Pro Bowl. It would be amazing to see any of them do it in their first season, but that's a difficult task to complete.

I don't think our rookies will be great enough for either of these, but hopefully I am 100% wrong.

Q4: Do you think we can run a high-powered offense like a Tom Brady, no-huddle offense? - Terrin Wilson

I think we have the capabilities. The only thing I imagine would hinder us from doing this would be the shape and quickness of our guys to be able to finish a play, and then get right back up and have another quick play. It may be difficult for some, but not for all.

If we could master the no-huddle, it would give our offense a large advantage over the opposing defense. With our quick receivers, it may be very easy to go in the no-huddle, confuse the defense, and throw the ball quickly to one of our quicker guys. Of course, this wouldn't work all of the time, but it could work a lot of the time, if we master it and get it down.

Q5: Who do you feel is more of a threat to us in the AFC: Broncos, Texans, or Patriots? - Terrin Wilson

I think that the Houston Texans will be the hardest team for us to compete with in the AFC next season; I think we will probably lose to them in Week 3, which would already put us down in a tiebreaker situation.

The Texans are projected to do well, as I see them as being one of the best teams in the AFC. They have the pieces to be great, and the only reason why the Texans didn't do well in the playoffs, is because they ended up dropping for a 1-seed to a 3-seed after an awful end of the regular season. I do not see the Texans playing like that at the end of this season, so I believe we will have to come out and attempt to have a better record than them, since I believe they are the team to beat.

Q6: Who do you think will be our unsung hero? - Terrin Wilson

I think our unsung hero will be, as I think it was last year, Courtney Upshaw.

Upshaw is most likely going to get less playing time than last season, but I believe he will still be vital in helping us win football games. Upshaw did a lot last season, but never got too much recognition for it. For example, he did force a fumble in the Super Bowl, but not many people tend to remember of acknowledge that he did anything.

Upshaw has been one of my favorite players on the defense since he was drafted by the Ravens in the 2012.

Also, not many people remember that he was a rookie last season. Upshaw is looking to look better in his sophomore season, and I think he will. Unfortunately, I don't think many people will look at him, since the defense has guys like Terrell Suggs, Matt Elam, Haloti Ngata, Lardarius Webb, Arthur Brown, Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, etc.

Q7: What games do you think we will have trouble with? - Terrin Wilson

Looking at the schedule, I will say whether I think it will be a win or a loss. If it's a loss, I will briefly say why I think we'll lose.

Week 1: Denver Broncos - Win

Week 2: Cleveland Browns- Win

Week 3: Houston Texans- Loss -- As I've mentioned multiple times in this article, I believe that the Houston Texans will be too much for us, especially in the running/receiving game.

Week 4: Buffalo Bills- Win

Week 5: Miami Dolphins- Loss -- I think the Dolphins have gotten better, but they are not as good as many people perceive them to be. I think the only reason we get this loss is because we're on the road in Miami, and they'll want to take us out.

Week 6: Green Bay Packers- Win

Week 7: Pittsburgh Steelers- Win

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: Cleveland Browns- Win

Week 10: Cincinnati Bengals- Loss -- I think that the Bengals will be hot on our trail in the AFC North, and I think they will finally get the better of us with all of our starters playing.

Week 11: Chicago Bears- Win

Week 12: New York Jets- Win

Week 13: Pittsburgh Steelers- Win

Week 14: Minnesota Vikings- Loss -- The Vikings are looking good so far this off-season, especially with the additions of Desmond Bishop & Greg Jennings.

Week 15: Detroit Lions- Loss -- The Lions may be coming in last in the NFC North, but I think they will play us hard when we come to the Motor City. Calvin Johnson & Reggie Bush aren't two guys to mess with.

Week 16: New England Patriots- Win

Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals- Loss -- By this time, I think we will have already won the AFC North, maybe with that win against the Pats in Week 16. We will sit our starters, and the Bengals will crush our backups. This will be the same end of the season as last year, won the 15th & then lost to the Bengals in the 16th.

The ones I chose us losing will obviously be the ones we have trouble with. We may have trouble with others, but I think we'll get through our struggles in any other games.

Q8: If Ozzie were to trade for a veteran wide receiver, like he did with Lee Evans & Anquan Boldin, who would he get and how many draft picks do you think he would be willing to give up? - Klaus Henriksen

This is an interesting question.

I'd go with somebody like Roddy White. White is a fantastic WR. He can catch the ball and run routes very efficiently, and he definitely helps make the Atlanta Falcons a much better team.

The Ravens may not like White due to his attitude and cockiness at times, but I think they would see around that for football.

If Ozzie were to trade away draft picks, I'd say the most he'd be willing to give up would be two draft picks. White is 31-years old, and Ozzie loves planning for the future. It would be in Ozzie's best interest to keep those draft picks, which I'm sure he would do. I couldn't see him giving up more than two for a guy like White, unless he absolutely has to. Even then I'm not sure if he'd do it.

Q9: Which player do you see outplay their contract, and either wants/deserves a better contract, or leaves us as a free agent like Ellerbe/Kruger? - Klaus Henriksen

I could see Corey Graham being a guy like Paul Kruger or Dannell Ellerbe.

After next season, Graham will be a free agent, which means he will have the chance to demand for more money. I believe that he will have a pretty great season this year, even better than last, and he'll want more money. We won't be able to give it to him, so we'll have to let him walk.

I hope I am wrong about Graham, since I really like him, but he's one of the guys I could see being too good for his contract.

Q10: Which free agents do you see us targeting in 2014? - Eric Jacob

Besides our own, I don't believe we'll be attempting to get many free agents. We will have big name contracts due up, including Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs, both of which we'll have to work out.

At the moment, it is also hard to say since we do not know everyone that will be on the market, nor do we know who all will stay with the Ravens.

If the Ravens are to pick up anyone in 2014, I imagine it will be an under-the-radar free agent, one that not many people know about.

Q11: When it is all said and done, where do you think Vonta Leach ends up? - Eric Jacob

There have been rumors saying that he could come back to the Ravens, he could go to the Giants, or he could go to the Dolphins.

I believe that he will land in warm, sunny Miami. Leach and the Dolphins both want Leach to be a Dolphin, but the team and the Pro-Bowl FB haven't been in many talks. Leach wants a two or three year-deal, while the Dolphins want to sign him to just a one-year-deal.

Leach seems more interested in the Dolphins than any other teams, so I believe that he will be signing with them within the next week or so.

Q12: Do you think the Ravens might sign free agent, Cardinals safety, Kerry Rhodes? - Chris Chrystal

It wouldn't be a bad idea to sign Rhodes. Last year, Rhodes didn't do too badly in the 15 games that he participated in. Rhodes is a 30 year-old safety that is looking for a new home.

Rhodes could fit well on this team, just because of the lack of safeties that we have. It wouldn't hurt anything if the Ravens brought in Rhodes.

According to multiple reports, Kerry Rhodes is in on-going discussions with four different teams, all being unnamed. If the Ravens are one of these teams, I'd be perfectly fine with it.

Well, I think that is the end of this week's segment of Tuesday's Mailbag! I hope everyone had a terrific time reading it, as I know I had a terrific time writing it! I enjoyed the abundance of questions this week! Keep it up! Remember, you can send me questions by tweeting them to me @Frezeal33, emailing them to me at Victorgrayh10@gmail.com, OR by putting them in the comments below! Everyone have a safe and happy Tuesday, and I'll see you all next week!

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