2. Matt Birk has been the Ravens' most underrated player this year. A year ago, I felt like I couldn't go a single day without hearing or seeing some Ravens fan complaining about Birk. I got emails about how washed up he was, readers left nasty comments about him at the end of Sun stories, and he was a convenient whipping boy in every game day chat I did. Whether it was his fault or not, Birk was the person most frequently blamed by fans whenever the Ravens had problems running the ball. And this year? I've barely heard, or read, a peep about him from fans. It's as if the majority of you have forgotten all about him. That's probably some decent anecdotal evidence that he's played some pretty good football this year. Linemen tend to be doing a pretty decent job when they're drawing very little attention. I've been watching Birk closely the past six or seven games, just to confirm my suspicions, and I've come to the conclusion that he's playing damn good football. He's not getting blown back by nose tackles and he's had some nice blocks in the running game. I've even seen him get to the second level a few times and get a piece of a linebacker. If you watch a replay of Rice's 51-yard touchdown run, a run that ultimately won the game for Baltimore, you'll see it's Birk who made the block that sprung Rice into the secondary. Andre Gurode has actually been an extremely important signing this season. But it's been as a fill in for Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda. Speculation that Gurode was going to come in and take Birk's job away was a little unfounded, wasn't it?