Late For Work 2/7: Super Bowl LII Odds Are In. Where Do Ravens Stand?

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Super Bowl LII Odds Are In. Where Do Ravens Stand?

We're always looking ahead in sports, so it's no surprise that early odds for Super Bowl LII were released less than 24 hours after the New England Patriots were crowned champions.

Hey, if Bill Belichick can move on quickly, so can we.

The Ravens received 40/1 odds to raise the Lombardi trophy next year, which ranks dead center in the league at No. 16 (tied). Sportsbook Bovada's middle-of-the-pack ranking is reasonable considering Baltimore finished 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs in three of the past four years.

"The odds will change as offseason developments like free agency, the draft, and trades take place. Few people were picking the Falcons to reach the Super Bowl one year ago," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown.

"Until [the Ravens] surround quarterback Joe Flacco with more playmakers, or acquire more cornerbacks who can strengthen their pass coverage, the Ravens will be widely viewed as a team likely to watch the next Super Bowl, not compete in it."

The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the AFC North with the best odds (12/1). Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals' 50/1 odds are ranked No. 19 and the Cleveland Browns' 150/1 odds are tied for the worst in the league (San Francisco 49ers).

In the least surprising news, the Patriots have the best odds (5/1) to win the Super Bowl again next year,* *followed by the Dallas Cowboys (9/1), Green Bay Packers (9/1), Steelers and Falcons (14/1). 

Based off recent history, the Falcons' odds may be a little too high.

Odds to Win Super Bowl LII

  1. New England Patriots 5/1
  1. Detroit Lions 40/1
  1. Dallas Cowboys 9/1
  1. Houston Texans 40/1
  1. Green Bay Packers 9/1
  1. Cincinnati Bengals 50/1
  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12/1
  1. Miami Dolphins 50/1
  1. Atlanta Falcons 14/1
  1. New Orleans Saints 50/1
  1. Denver Broncos 16/1
  1. Philadelphia Eagles 50/1
  1. Minnesota Vikings 16/1
  1. Tennessee Titans 50/1
  1. Oakland Raiders 16/1
  1. Washington Redskins 50/1
  1. Seattle Seahawks 16/1
  1. Buffalo Bills 66/1
  1. Carolina Panthers 25/1
  1. Jacksonville Jaguars 66/1
  1. Indianapolis Colts 25/1
  1. Los Angeles Chargers 66/1
  1. Kansas City Chiefs 25/1
  1. Los Angeles Rams 75/1
  1. New York Giants 25/1
  1. New York Jets 75/1
  1. Arizona Cardinals 33/1
  1. Chicago Bears 100/1
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33/1
  1. Cleveland Browns 150/1
  1. Baltimore Ravens 40/1
  1. San Francisco 49ers 150/1

Ray Lewis Should Be HOF Lock, But Terrell Owens Shows Why It Could Be Tough For Steve Smith 

In 361 days, Ravens' legendary linebacker Ray Lewis should be voted into the Hall of Fame.

His first-ballot nomination has been described as "a lock."

But as Terrell Owens can attest, it may not be so easy for retired Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. when he becomes eligible in five years. Owens was denied a Hall of Fame ticket for the second time despite having more receptions, more receiving yards and nearly twice as many receiving touchdowns as Smith.

Owens wasn't a happy camper over the weekend.

TheMMQB.com's Peter King, who is part of the panel that votes on Hall of Fame players, says he "marginally" supports Owens' induction, but explained why the receiver may never get in.

"[H]e's first in divisiveness and churlishness, and that seems to be what's keeping him out," King wrote. "My guess after leaving the meeting Saturday is that it could be a few years before Owens gets in—if he ever does.

"We are asked to consider only what happens on the field—with one proviso. If something factors into how or whether a player plays, and if something factors into a tangible effect on the team's performance (such as leadership), we can consider it. In other words, we can extend the on-field factors to the locker room and practice field if we think that had a bearing on his team and his own play."

That may ultimately be what separates Smith from Owens. As loud and brash as Smith could be, his attitude didn't prevent him from getting on the field. Andy Reid suspended Owens in his prime, and he hopscotched from team to team because of his behavior, says King.

Still, it won't be easy for Smith as only five modern-era players are inducted each year, and there's a logjam at receiver. Cris Carter, Andre Reed and Tim Brown had long waits, while other receivers like Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Hines Ward are still waiting.

"The logjam of Hall of Fame-caliber receivers will get even deeper, complicating Smith's path to Canton," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "I think it eventually happens, but it might take several years after he becomes eligible before it does."

Could Ryan Mallett Get A Starting Job?

Now that the Super Bowl and the 2016 season are complete, all the head coach and GM vacancies have been filled. The final job was settled when the San Francisco 49ers officially made Kyle Shanahan their head coach with his duties as the Falcons' offensive coordinator complete.

According to multiple reports, Matt Schaub could follow Shanahan to San Francisco and compete for the starting quarterback role. Of course, Baltimore knows Schaub fairly well as he was the backup to Joe Flacco in 2015, and played in two games (winning one) after Flacco went down with a season-ending knee injury.

If Schaub can compete for a starting job, Zrebiec says Ryan Mallett may be able to find another shot too. Mallett is a pending unrestricted free agent after signing with the Ravens in 2015 to replace Schaub.

"Schaub has had a solid career. He's a stand-up guy, and he's said to be a great teammate," Zrebiec wrote. "However, if he's under consideration for a starting job next season, I'd have to think [Mallett] will get a look as well.

"Mallett obviously has some past indiscretions to overcome but he handled himself well, by all accounts, the past two years with the Ravens. I'd imagine the pending free agent will want to go to a place where he has an easier path to the starting job. There are about five or six teams out there who enter the offseason with obvious starting quarterback questions."

Falcons Provide A Lesson In Running Football

Many Ravens fans are enjoying the fact that quarterback Matt Ryan didn't get a Super Bowl ring so that his 2008 draft mate in Baltimore could hold an edge over him.

But if there is a lesson to be learned from that game, it may have nothing to do with Ryan and more to do with play calling.

"[F]ans predictably went to social media to use Sunday's result as validation for Flacco being better than Ryan — a tired debate that needs to end — but I'd hardly pin that loss on the quarterback as much as I would on the offensive play calling of Kyle Shanahan and a defense that couldn't stop a nosebleed in the second half," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.

Jones is likely referring to when Atlanta was up 28-20 and had the ball on first-and-10 at the Patriots' 22 with three minutes, 56 seconds to play. Had the Falcons run the ball three times to run the clock down and kick the field goal, it would have been a two-score game (if the kick was successful) with about three minutes left.

Instead, Shanahan called one run play (for a 1-yard loss), then a pass on second down that ended in a 12-yard sack, and another pass that got flagged for holding on third down that took Atlanta out of field-goal range. The Falcons had to punt, and the Patriots' epic comeback is now in the history books.

Folks in Baltimore took careful note after the Ravens finished the season with the third-least rushing attempts in 2016 compared to the most passing attempts.

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