The first game of the 2013 NFL season took place in Denver Thursday evening. After a 40 minute delay because of lightning threats, fans were given a show which may forecast who will be playing in February. The most obvious fact exposed is that Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco is overrated and overpaid.
The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions. They shouldn’t have been in that game, and they were declared winners thanks to a ‘non-call’ by officials in the end zone. The San Francisco 49ers outplayed Baltimore, and Colin Kaepernick was the better quarterback.
When Baltimore played Denver last January in the playoffs, Broncos’ coach John Fox gave the playoff game to the Ravens with a display of cowardice. Peyton Manning, possibly the best quarterback in NFL history, was not allowed to throw a pass at the end of the game. The Ravens won in overtime.
Last night began with some sloppy play, which is usually the case in the first games played by all professional teams. However, the Ravens play worsened as the game progressed.
After the Super Bowl, two serious mistakes were made by Baltimore’s management. Quarterback Joe Flacco was given one of the largest contracts in football. It was un-deserved. Then they lost several of their best defensive and offensive players to free agency.
Flacco was far from accurate although the Broncos generally had an ineffective pass rush. Meanwhile, Manning carved up a non-existent defense, tying an all-time record of seven touchdown passes in a single game.
Baltimore was embarrassed by the Broncos, who will only get better with the return of Champ Bailey, and Vonn Miller at mid-season.
Baltimore will play Cleveland in a week-and-a-half. Normally it would be a no-contest for the Ravens. Watching last evening’s performance may change all that.
The AFC North has been dominated by the Ravens and Steelers. Cincinnati has shown moments of brilliance, and have challenged Baltimore and Pittsburgh for the division. Cleveland has been the ‘whipping boy’ in the division. All that may change this season.
Baltimore looks beatable, and Pittsburgh lacks an offensive line, and displays an un-imaginative offense promised by offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Cincinnati and possibly Cleveland may find an opening in the division.
Denver should easily win the AFC West. Oakland, Kansas City, and San Diego do not have the ability to match the Broncos.
The rush to give Flacco an enormous reward for being the winning quarterback in a Super Bowl was a huge mistake. That money could have been better used by keeping key players they let slip away.