Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/18/14

The Baltimore Ravens took an improbable route to the Super Bowl in January before defeating the San Francisco 49ers to claim the Lombardi Trophy, but that accomplishment hasn't pushed them any closer to being the AFC's darling team in 2013. The Broncos and the Patriots remain as the top teams in the conference, and that's the way they'll likely stay for the foreseeable future. Since winning the Super Bowl, the Ravens have lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. The addition of Elvis Dumervil stops the bleeding, but it's not enough to make up for the losses of such stars as Anquan Boldin, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. The Patriots haven't helped themselves out this offseason either. The loss of Wes Welker was appalling to many, including quarterback Tom Brady, but despite the loss, the Patriots will still be the shoo in favorite in a weak division. The same can be said for the Broncos. While they lost Dumervil to an AFC rival, the addition of Wes Welker gives Peyton Manning another toy to play with. The Broncos' loss to the Ravens in last season's playoffs was a fluke that would have been avoided with a well-timed jump in the secondary. Make no mistake about it, the Broncos were and still are a better team than the Ravens. The AFC seems to be divided into two tiers at the top. The too front runners are still the Patriots and Broncos, and the Ravens and Texans are chasing. While the Ravens may hold bragging rights going into the 2013 season, there's far too much competition, even in their own division, to say that they have a great shot of repeating, much less getting back to the big game itself. [follow]

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