One of the most constant themes inside the NFL is that the Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl contenders and the upcoming 2015-2016 season will be no different. Baltimore returns with a nice mix of experience and youth on their side, along with some of the best units in the league. Baltimore will be in the running for a Super Bowl appearance, however, so will some of their more familiar adversaries,

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Matt Schaub (8) calls a play on the line of scrimmage against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football preseason game, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson )

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Matt Schaub (8) calls a play on the line of scrimmage against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football preseason game, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson )

including New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and potentially Denver for starters. Ironically, for as much as any observer could tout Baltimore’s strengths, the same could be said for a host of other teams. The preseason hasn’t been the ideal indicator for Baltimore, but their roster is solid across the board and ready for a return to the Super Bowl. But, will they get there? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.

Riley: Baltimore has been one of the most consistent teams in the modern era and has routinely found a way to either be in the Super Bowl or hanging right outside of it. But this season could be a little bit different. The receivers, outside of an aged Steve Smith, are unproven. And, is anybody really convinced that Justin Forsett can re-live his 2014 breakout campaign? The defense returns intact for the most part and will continue to be a solid unit, but in the new age NFL where offenses win games, I don’t know if Baltimore has enough to match the upper echelon scoring teams in the conference.

Green: It’s always the same questions about the Ravens each season and it’s always a deep-season, playoff-ending campaign for them. Baltimore will be in the hunt like they always are and those other “contending” teams that you named, Riley, all have their own flaws as well as strengths. New England has to replace major parts of its secondary. Pittsburgh has suspensions and injuries zapping their roster plus a leaky secondary. Indianapolis’ head coach might be on the hot seat, and Denver’s quarterback is aging rapidly. I like the Ravens with a quarterback in his prime and strong offensive and defensive lines. Remember, they were only a few plays away from winning in their 35-31 loss to eventual champ New England.

Riley: Yes, they were only a few plays away in their playoff defeat. I saw the game; the team with more playmakers won and that’ll be a reoccurring theme this season as well. The Ravens have always been offensively-challenged before Joe Flacco and strong performances from Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin completed the team. But those days are over, and Flacco has to get adjusted to a new cast that’s not as talented. I’m not saying the Ravens won’t have a good year, I just don’t see them making a Super Bowl appearance.

Green: Even in his 30s, I still believe that Steve Smith is a better receiver than Boldin. And despite the inexperience, I think this is one of the most talented receiving corps in Ravens’ history. Six-foot-five-inches tall receiver Marlon Brown will get a chance to show off the skills he displayed as a rookie in 2013 when he caught eight touchdowns. Receiver Kamar Aiken has skills too, as does second-year slot receiver Michael Campanaro.

Mark my words, this Ravens team will do what it always does: make just enough plays on offense and defense to reach the playoffs and unleash who Baltimoreans know as “January Joe.” Flacco earned that nickname from all-pro linebacker Terrell Suggs last year because he always finds a way to show up big time during the playoffs every January. It’s been that way for eight years now. Expect more of the same in 2015.