And just like that, the final chapter of the NFL’s 2019 season has come to a close. The Kansas City Chiefs are World Champions, courtesy of a comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers by the score of 31-20.
Full disclosure – I rooted for the 49ers. Why? Several reasons but the most compelling of which (at least for me) were: 1) I just couldn’t support a team that employs Tyreek Hill and to a lesser extent, Frank Clark; and 2) I bet on the 49ers.
But when the game ended and I could see the pure joy in the eyes of Andy Reid, a good man and great ambassador for the NFL – one who has endured many agonizing moments of defeat in critical games, it was almost impossible not to smile and share his moment from afar. It was Andy’s time. This moment of glory that had eluded the 61-year-old Reid throughout his career, stood still in time amid confetti-drenched surrealism.
So now we turn our attention towards the Ravens 2020 season and in doing so, many teams will weigh their rosters against that of the new World Champions. After all it is a copycat league.
Soon, the augmentation of the Ravens will begin. Attrition will creep in and when all is said and done, nearly 25% of the players you cheered for in 2019 will be on another team’s roster or worse – they’ll be unemployed.
It’s the nature of the NFL beast.
For the Ravens the focus of change is rather obvious. They’ll need to add personnel that can get after the passer. They need a linebacker who can pursue and make tackles outside the box. A big-bodied wide receiver that can make contested catches should be on the offseason menu and reinforcements to the interior offensive line are also in order.
This metamorphosis begins with the upcoming NFL Combines (Feb. 23), followed by the new league year and free agency (March 18) and the NFL Draft (April 23). Here at RSR we’ll be taking you though all of the offseason business of football beginning with a deep dive into the NFL Draft. We will provided extremely Ravens-centric optics versus the grotesquely overdone first-round mock drafts. We are as of this writing, in the process of setting up RavensDraftCentral.com, which will be integrated with RSR.
Of course, Brian McFarland will keep you informed of all salary cap updates and key dates to focus upon. If you are part of the Twitterverse, he’s a highly recommended follow @RavensSalaryCap. The Twitter handle for soon-to-be created Ravens Draft Central is @RavensDraftPick.
Typically, the schedule comes out the week leading up to the draft, so look for that around mid-April. This season, besides the typical visits by AFC North teams, the Ravens will host the Chiefs, Jaguars, Titans, Cowboys and Giants. They will travel to their AFC rivals plus the Patriots, Colts, Texans, Eagles and Redskins.
Back to the Chiefs for a moment, they open as the league’s favorite with 6:1 odds to win Super Bowl 55. You can check out the list of sports betting sites at sportingpedia.com for all of your wagering interests.
Wondering how the oddsmakers see the Ravens in 2020. Baltimore has the second-best odds for the moment to win SB LV at 7:1 followed by the 49ers at 8:1 and then the Saints at 11:1.
It will be an interesting ride through the winter, spring, OTA’s, training camp, preseason and eventually the 2020 regular season. We’ll be with you every step of the way. To help you get ready for next season, we’ve got some exciting plans at RSR. In addition to the soon-to-be-launched Ravens Draft Central, we will also be providing some new platforms for podcasts that should interest all Ravens fans, plus we’ll be bringing you a brand new RussellStreetReport.com.
Exciting times lie ahead but to get there, I have a lot of behind the scenes work to do and consequently, I’ll be taking a hiatus from this column for a while. Please follow me on Twitter at @RSRLombardi for updates and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Russell Street Report. We’ll be posting a few videos each week to keep you locked in on the Ravens.
Until next time I wish you the best during the balance of this winter and a great start to the spring which shockingly, is only 46 days away.
Oh, and one last thought to leave you with…
Next year’s big game is Super Bowl LV.
Let’s call it “Lamar’s Vengeance”.
Here’s to Ravens 2020.