Which NFL team is most likely to be able to break into the playoffs this season?
article by Adam Schefter for ESPN.comThe NFL has been without its top receiver since Michael Crabtree tore his ACL last season.
The next season, Josh Gordon was sidelined for a good portion of the year after tearing his Achilles tendon.
Now, the Ravens have a number of young receivers in Jeremy Maclin and Joe Flacco who could make a big impact.
In this case, the biggest question marks are Flacco and Maclin.
Maclin, 26, and Flacco, 32, are both considered elite players, and both have the ability to be productive in the passing game.
The Ravens could use some help in the pass game.
But both are also under contract through next season.
With no marquee player coming back, it will be difficult for the Ravens to make an impact this season.
Flacco has missed six games with a hamstring injury.
Maclin is due a $3 million salary for the first two games of the season.
The Ravens have no clear starting quarterback and have no real plan in place for him to return.
But Maclin has shown flashes of promise.
He had career highs in catches (43) and touchdowns (seven) last season and caught eight passes for 134 yards in Baltimore’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
He was also on pace for his best game of the preseason against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But injuries limited his production in Week 1.
He returned in Week 4, but didn’t play again until Week 7.
Flacco has had two surgeries in his career and his hip is still not 100 percent healthy.
If Maclin can return to full health, he could become a star.
But Flacco’s injury history makes him a risky target for the offensive line, which will need to find a replacement for Maclin at receiver.
The defense will have to do a better job of protecting Flacco.
The Dolphins could be a threat to make a deep playoff run this season, especially with the addition of defensive tackle Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Byron Maxwell.
The Dolphins finished 10-6 last season but have a tough schedule.
Miami also faces the Pittsburgh Panthers in the AFC Championship Game.
The Panthers are one of the top teams in the league.