LAST SEASON: The Ravens got hot at the right time and won the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2000 club routed the Giants at Raymond James Stadium. Joe Flacco, looking like a modern-day Joe Montana, threw 11 touchdown passes without an interception in the postseason and earned a fat, $120-million contract.
DEPARTURES: Baltimore lost eight starters off its championship club. The defense was hit particularly hard, as LB Ray Lewis retired and S Ed Reed (Houston), CB Cary Williams (Philadelphia) and LBs Paul Kruger (Cleveland) and Dannell Ellerbe (Miami) departed as free agents. WR Anquan Boldin was traded to the 49ers, and TE Dennis Pitta is out for the season with a fractured hip.
ADDITIONS: The Ravens pounced on OLB Elvis Dumervil, one of the league’s premier pass rushers, and also added S Michael Huff and veteran DE Chris Canty. There is returning talent with DT Haloti Ngata and OLB Terrell Suggs. S Matt Elam and LB Arthur Brown have a chance to start as rookies.
OUTLOOK: No team has repeated since the 2004 Patriots, and Flacco will have to be even better this fall for Baltimore to avoid a Super Bowl hangover. With GM Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens don’t figure to be down for long.