Voice of the People

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Coming off wild-card weekend, here is what's on the mind of ESPN.com readers this week:

On the Baltimore Ravens...

Peter from Baltimore writes: Hey James, I just wanted to mention that there are many Ed Reed Haters viewing your blog that are quick to say that "all" of Ed's interceptions are "gift throws" or "jump balls" from the Quarterback. Obviously they only watched the Dallas game and 1/2 of his INTS from the Miami playoff game because a majority of his picks come from jumping a route based on his superior situation recognition and anticipation. Still...it seems to me that all QBs make bad throws against EVERY team in the NFL - my question for these people is why has Ed Reed done SUBSTANTIALLY better than every other safety in the NFL at not only being in the right spot to make the plays, but returning almost EVERY ONE TO THE HOUSE!? If it's soooo easy, why aren't we talking about Troy Polamalu or Bob Sanders for Defensive Player of the Millennium!?

Marcus from Baltimore writes: James love the ravens coverage, but I have one huge beef with you over the posts from different fans. It seems every week you have a steeler fan disparging the Ravens when they have their own section to whine in. If they want to talk about troy or how the ravens haven't beat anybody let them do it in the ladies room with the black and gold door.

Joe from San Antonio writes: James, wow...lots of reaction from my last opinion. Maybe I should have just said that the Steelers beat the Ravens H2H both times this year, and all Raven fans want to whine about is the officiating when they lose a close game. They did it against the Patriots last year, and they did it again against the Steelers. If there was such an officiating "conspiracy" keeping Baltimore from winning, they never would have got their one and only (and probably the one they will ever win) Super Bowl in 2000. They cannot offensively keep up with teams like San Diego and Indy in the AFC. And they couldn't beat the Giants in the NFC. When Rex Ryan leaves for his first (and well deserved) head coaching job, I think Ravens fans are in for a real shock on the defensive side of the ball. That is all that's keeping them from being Cleveland or Cincinnati.

On the Pittsburgh Steelers...

Terry from Boulder, CO writes: James, this is a response to Kei from Salisbury who claimed the Steelers didn't have a tougher schedule than the Ravens. The truth is, the Steelers had the toughest schedule based on this year's records out of any playoff team In fact, I think only Cincy, Cleveland and one other team I'm forgetting had a higher opponents winning percentage. And for fairness, I think Baltimore was right behind Pittsburgh. But Baltimore only went 2-5 against teams in the playoffs (wins against Miami and Philly) and the Steelers went 3-4 (beating Baltimore twice and San Diego). I still say the Steelers had the toughest schedule (everyone can agree playing San Diego and at New England is much harder than playing Oakland and at Miami), but at this point isn't it obvious these are two VERY close teams? And does it really matter right now who had the tougher schedule? Can't we just hope they meet again in the AFC Championship Game and let that be the end of it?

Ken Robinson from Fishers, Inc writes: Though half the division is still playing this year, in looking ahead to next year, there is no reason to believe that both Pittsburgh and Baltimore would not be playing in January 2010. The AFC North had a brutal schedule this year. And, both teams performed well against that tough schedule. And, both teams should play at this level, or even better, next year. We get the AFC West and the NFC North next year. There is no reason why both teams should get at least six wins from those eight games. Add another 5 wins a piece from within the division, and at least a split of the other two games, we are looking at both teams with potential 12+ win seasons next year. The difference between the two could be location of some of the games. Pittsburgh gets Chicago and Miami on the road, while Baltimore gets San Diego and New England on the road. And, the Ravens "waste" a home game when they have to play Detroit (if there is a team you'd like to have on the road to keep home-field against someone else, it is the Lions). But, each of these teams can be 12-14 game winners next year given the schedule, even with some stumbles.

Evan from Pittsburgh writes: Hey James, I'm a new follower to your blog and I have to say that I am a bit embarrassed by some of the comments made by Steelers fans about the Ravens team AND vice versa. These two teams have become intense rivals because both teams are very good of late and both teams match up incredibly well against each other. Both teams have similar playing styles and levels of talent on both sides of the ball and whenever they meet, either team could win. As an avid win or lose Steelers fan, let me say that I have immense respect for the Ravens and do not look forward to playing them for the third time for the AFC championship! But then again, how many Ravens fans deep in their hearts are really so ready to see the Steelers a third time? Let's be honest! We hate each other because we're so scared of each other's team! And doesn't that mean the fans actually respect both teams immensely? Oh, and Steelers fans who think the rookie Flacco can't cut it, well, I recall another rookie QB (yes, Big Ben of course) in the not so distant past who was thrust into a similar situation...

On the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns...

Brandon from Philadelphia writes: Can you please tell me how the bengals are going to allow Bratowski to return next season. It was just last year that Palmer alluded to the offense being stale and I realize he was hurt, but it seems to me that Bratowski just can't cut it anymore. Is there a chance they drop him before or after the draft if they haven't yet?

Dawn from Shaker Heights Ohio writes: As a Browns fan, I hate to see Romeo fired, but I know it had to happen for my team to succeed. But why does Marvin Lewis get a pass? Isn't he like four games better than Romeo during the same four year span? Besides Carson being injured this year, they weren't great last year and was.500 the year before that.