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6/09/2006 12:15:00 PM

Overrated Ravens

DeMarcus Ware
Ravens coach Brian Billick, left, Steve McNair, center, and general manager Ozzie Newsome are all smiles now, but wait until the season starts.

Ravens fans are busy looking into cheap flights to Miami for Super Bowl XLI when they should be purchasing Amtrak tickets to New York for next year's draft. The arrival of Steve McNair has Baltimore buzzing, but there are too many potential problems to even pencil the Ravens into the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl.

Here are five reasons Baltimore won't have a winning season:

1. Injuries: This is the only team on which the perennially banged-up McNair is healthier than his teammates. Stars Jamal Lewis, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have all battled injuries, and there's no guarantee they'll return to 100 percent.

2. Age: McNair is 33. Ray Lewis, 31. Derrick Mason, 32. Jonathan Ogden will turn 32 this offseason, as will Mike Flynn. Trevor Pryce will turn 31 in August. Every one of those guys is on the downside of his career.

3. AFC North: The Super Bowl champion Steelers kept their nucleus in tact, the division-winning Bengals are young and hungry, and the recent news has been positive for QB Carson Palmer. And the Browns spent a ton in free agency, making them more competitive.

4. Road Woes: They haven't won away from home since Nov. 14, 2004, at the Jets. And they have some killer out-of-division trips planned for this year -- at Denver, at Kansas City, at Tampa Bay.

5. Team Dissension: The love-fest we've seen this week in Baltimore seems forced. Ray Lewis showed his true nature this offseason with bitter comments about everything wrong with the Ravens. And although coach Brian Billick seems happy now, wait until things get tough and owner Steve Bisciotti starts riding him again.

The Ravens will be home in January. Take it to the bank. Take it to the M&T Bank Stadium if you want. But that's just my opinion. I want to hear from you on how good the addition of McNair will make Baltimore this season.

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