Joyner: Are the Ravens underrated?

ESPN's KC Joyner makes the argument that the Baltimore Ravens are underrated, pointing out that the defending Super Bowl champions are receiving little respect this offseason. It's an Insider articleInsider, so you'll need a subscription to view the entire piece. But here's an excerpt of what Joyner had to say:

According to the online sportsbook Bovada, the Ravens are currently listed as having 30-1 odds to win the Super Bowl this year. That ranks them tied with the New York Giants for ninth place in that category, but what is even more disrespectful is three of the teams Baltimore defeated during its postseason championship run (San Francisco, Denver and New England) are listed as having better odds. What's worse, even the New Orleans Saints, a team that finished 7-9 last year and missed the postseason, are currently listed as having better Super Bowl odds than Baltimore.

This should be expected when you're dealing with the outsider perspective. Most focus on the fact that the Ravens don't have nine players who started the Super Bowl, including such big names as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin. This is a dramatic change when you consider no other defending Super Bowl champion has lost more than five starters, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

But the Ravens feel confident in their chances of making another championship run. Baltimore has upgraded the pass rush with Elvis Dumervil and the run defense with Chris Canty and Marcus Spears. The Ravens were able to retain quarterback Joe Flacco and bring back their top cornerback in Lardarius Webb, who only played six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

You can make the case that the Ravens are better than last year's Super Bowl team. They just have to convince others of it.