By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Baltimore Ravens are without a doubt the hottest team in the NFL right now. Coming off an absolute beatdown of the Rams in Los Angeles on Monday Night Football, the Ravens look simply unstoppable.
So, as you might expect, confidence is riding high in the Baltimore locker room … to the point where veteran safety Earl Thomas is already making Super plans for February.
Thomas was asked Wednesday if Baltimore’s upcoming game against the San Francisco 49ers might be a Super Bowl preview. Thomas was unconvinced that the Niners will make it to the final game of the season, but he expressed no doubt about his own team’s chances.
“Super Bowl preview … you think the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl?” an unconvinced Thomas asked the reporter. “Uh, it could be. Let’s see. We’ll just go out there and try to play the best football we can possibly do. And when the Super Bowl comes, whoever we play, they’re gonna be in trouble.”
(The question comes at the 1:55 mark of this video.)
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 27, 2019
Again, with the Ravens on a seven-game winning streak, with Lamar Jackson separating himself as the MVP favorite, with a win against the reigning champs in their back pocket, and with their early-season two-game losing streak feeling like ancient history at this point, there’s more than enough reason for Thomas and his teammates to feel like a Super Bowl is a realistic goal.
It’s also sometimes not the greatest idea to make such proclamations in late November. Who could forget when Mike Tomlin — two years ago to the date — made headlines for essentially guaranteeing that his Steelers would be meeting the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game later that season. The Steelers, though, never made it that far, as they were upset at home by Jacksonville in the divisional round.
Rex Ryan made a career out of promising Super Bowl wins for the Jets; those wins, obviously, never happened. Anthony Smith made his mark on Patriots history by guaranteeing a win over the undefeated Patriots in 2007; he was targeted several times by Tom Brady, both in the passing game and in the crazed-maniac-screaming-on-the-field game. Matt Hasslebeck’s overtime coin flip proclamation in Green Bay still stands as one of the more memorable moments in modern NFL history. And on and on and on. Though the Patriots are known for saying nothing, Tom Brady let slip an infamous question about whether or not Plaxico Burress would be playing defense; the Patriots then lost Super Bowl XLII, scoring just 14 points.
Thomas may end up being correct with his assessment, but it’s nevertheless a bold course for the 30-year-old safety to take with at least seven games to go — including two must-win playoff games — before Super Bowl LIV kicks off in Miami.