While clearing out their lockers the Ravens players reflect on what went wrong in the Titans' game.
The Friday before Championship Weekend, Ravens fans had expected to be well into tailgate preparations for Baltimore hosting its first AFC Championship Game since 1970. But after Saturday’s stunning loss to the Tennessee Titans, they’re left trying to change flight plans and watching the final four teams from their couches.
A Super Bowl win was obviously the expected result, but fans may turn to another team as they wait for the Ravens to attempt a championship run next season.
Here’s a look at each remaining team in the playoffs and why Ravens fans should root for them:
But take this into account: Wouldn’t the Titans pulling off another upset and advancing to the Super Bowl make the Ravens’ loss look a little better? Tennessee continuing its magical ride might lessen the sting of last weekend’s defeat.
Kansas City Chiefs
A Ravens-Chiefs AFC Championship Game. Two of the league’s brightest stars at quarterback. John Harbaugh matching wits with Andy Reid, his mentor. All those storylines are shelved for at least another year after the Ravens’ flameout.
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The clear rooting interest here is backing former Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. After signing a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, Suggs was released midseason and claimed off waivers in December by Kansas City. Suggs won’t play a starring role on the Chiefs defense, but it’d be great to see a Ravens legend get another ring in what may be his final season.
Green Bay doesn’t have many ties to the Ravens, but there are a few former Ravens and local players worth viewing.
Former Ravens linebacker Za’Darius Smith had an All-Pro-worthy year, registering 13½ sacks in his first season with the Packers. For fans of Terps football, former Maryland safety Darnell Savage has been an impact player on defense in his rookie season. Baltimore native and former Calvert Hall standout Adrian Amos is Savage’s safety mate in the defensive backfield.
Not to mention, if the Chiefs roll past the Titans and the Packers knock off the 49ers, we’ll see a quarterback duel in the Super Bowl featuring two of State Farm’s top pitchmen. Their next commercial writes itself if they meet in Miami.
San Francisco 49ers
The Ravens were one of just three teams, and the only team in the AFC, to beat the 49ers, eking out a 20-17 home win in December. Fans could take solace in beating the NFC’s top seed and a good pick to win the Super Bowl.
They may also find similarities to the Ravens in the 49ers’ style of play — a dominant running game matched with an aggressive, physical defense. Former Ravens fullback Kyle Juszczyk also serves as a focal point of San Francisco’s offense.