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Ravens have avoided nightmare that Falcons could not - losing a Super Bowl

Ravens have avoided nightmare that Falcons could not - losing a Super Bowl

After watching the Falcons lose Super Bowl LI in crushing fashion, the Ravens should cherish their two Super Bowl titles even more.

The Ravens won both Super Bowls they appeared in. They dominated the Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV, with linebacker Ray Lewis winning the MVP.

They outlasted the 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII four years ago, with quarterback Joe Flacco capping his sparkling playoff performance by winning the MVP.

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Both times on the NFL’s biggest stage, the Ravens delivered. They have never faced the feeling the Falcons had Monday morning – losing a Super Bowl, and dealing with the sobering aftermath.

Recent history suggests it will be difficult for the Falcons to get over this. The last 22 straight Super Bowl losers have failed to reach the Super Bowl the following season.

The 1993 Bills were the last team to get back to the Super Bowl after losing it the previous season.  It didn’t help them. After getting blown out (52-17) by the Cowboys in Super Bowl 27, the Bills lost to the Cowboys again (30-13) in Super Bowl 28.

It’s not like the Falcons can hit the reset button and get ready for another game next week. The season is over, and the finality of a Super Bowl loss stings like no other.

After losing Super Bowl 50, the Panthers didn’t even make it back to the playoffs in 2016. The Falcons have a talented nucleus led by quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones, but being victimized by the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history will be a daunting challenge for their organization to overcome.

The Patriots were the last team to win back-to-back Super Bowls, beating the Eagles 12 seasons ago in Super Bowl 39. That’s the next challenge for quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick – trying to repeat as Super Bowl champs - again.

That’s a much better feeling than what the Falcons face. Losing a Super Bowl, especially the way the Falcons went down, is devastating. At least when the Ravens and their fans think about the Super Bowl, their memories are far more pleasant.

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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