Ravens fans might not want to hear it, but the big winners coming out of the Tom Brady suspension handed down on Monday might be the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers play at New England in the Thursday night Week 1 opener, and now the Patriots starting quarterback in that game is likely to be Jimmy Garappolo, who will be making his first NFL start.
Winning in Foxborough is never easy, but the Steelers path to 1-0 just got a lot easier.
Granted, Brady's agent has already said Brady will appeal the suspenison, but if Brady is on the shelf for one quarter of the season, it could have a major impact on the AFC playoff picture.
Other potential winners from Brady's suspension:
* The Buffalo Bills. The Patriots play at Buffalo in Week 2, and even if Brady's suspension is cut in half on appeal, he would be on the sideline for that game, too. The Bills went 9-7 and like to think they've closed the gap on the Patriots, who have won the AFC East every year since 2009.
* The rest of the AFC East. The Patriots have owned the division, winning every year but one since 2003. That one year (2008) was also the one year in that stretch in which Brady missed any games. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1, and the Patriots still went 11-5 with Matt Cassel starting the final 15 games. After facing the Steelers and Bills, the Patriots host Jacksonville and then travel to Dallas after a Week 4 bye. How deep a hole, if any, will the Patriots be in by then?
* NBC. Wait, how does NBC win when Brady will miss that season opener against Pittsburgh? Because eyeballs will be glued to that game anyway since it's the nationally-televised season opener and people will be curious to see Life After Brady. Then, assuming the four-game suspension is upheld, Brady will return on a Sunday night (on NBC) against the Indianapolis Colts, the team that got the DeflateGate ball rolling in the first place. Ratings will be through the roof.
* The Ravens and every other potential AFC playoff team. The Ravens have played well in Foxborough in the playoffs, but don't think for a minute the Ravens wouldn't rather face the Patriots in the playoffs at M&T Bank Stadium. In three of the past four years, the Patriots have hosted the AFC Championship Game. But a 2-2 or 1-3 start without Brady makes it more likely the Patriots would have to hit the road for the playoffs.
Then again, maybe the demise of the Patriots has been greatly exaggerated. Last year, the Patriots started 2-2, including a divisional loss to Miami and an embarrassing 41-14 loss at Kansas City. They proceeded to win seven straight games and, ultimately, the Super Bowl.