While I'm still taking heat for picking the Ravens to finish third in the AFC North in my predictions, I wanted to pass along a differing opinion. Former NFL general manager Bill Polian, who is now an ESPN analyst, is picking the Ravens to win the Super Bowl by defeating the Falcons.
This Super Bowl matchup would create an intriguing storyline at quarterback with Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, who were both drafted in the first round in 2008. Ryan has thrown for more yards and touchdowns, but Flacco has won more games in the playoffs. A Super Bowl would settle the debate on whether Flacco or Ryan is the better quarterback.
Here's what Polian had to say about his prediction:
The injury to Terrell Suggs may have deprived the Ravens of the label of AFC favorites, but they can withstand the loss. In their defense, they can scheme rush as long as they have cover corners -- which they do -- and their young linebackers will grow over the course of the season. In a one-game situation, it's a flip of the coin between these two teams. But if this game is serving as Ray Lewis' farewell party, I think Baltimore gets the emotional edge.
ESPN's Ron Jaworski also had the Ravens in the Super Bowl but he has Baltimore losing to Green Bay. Jaworski believes the Ravens will reach the Super Bowl on the strength of Flacco and running back Ray Rice and not their defense.
In terms of the AFC North champion, Polian and Mel Kiper Jr. picked the Ravens while Herm Edwards went with the Bengals. Kiper did select the Bengals as one of his dark horses, saying it wouldn't surprise him if Cincinnati won 11 games.