TAMPA - The Baltimore Ravens ' Super Bowl defense begins on Thursday night when they travel south to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . The Super Bowl champs said goodbye to two pillars of the franchise this summer in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed , so it will be interesting to see who steps up to fill the leadership void on that side of the ball. Offensively, Joe Flacco is back, and he is rich.
The Bucs enter 2013 with something to prove. They looked like a playoff team at times, but their league-worst pass defense let them down at key moments, and they finished the season at 7-9 and on the outside looking in. The team addressed its need in the secondary by trading for star cornerback Darrelle Revis and drafting Johnthan Banks in the second round, but it remains to be seen whether this is the year the Bucs turn the corner.
Meet the Buccaneers
The Bucs probably swung the biggest trade of the offseason, acquiring cornerback Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets . Considering how bad Tampa's secondary was last year, it was a great move. Revis won't play in the preseason, but the team expects him to be ready to go in Week 1.
The Bucs used four of their six draft picks on defense, but did draft quarterback Mike Glennon , adding an interesting new element to the question of whether Josh Freeman is the long-term answer. He threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2012, but threw 17 interceptions to go along with that production. There aren't any questions as to who will be running the ball for Tampa Bay though, as Doug Martin rushed for over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie last year.
Meet the Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens had a decent year last year by most people's standards. All they did was win the Super Bowl. They've had an eventful offseason too, with the retirement of Ray Lewis and a major reshuffling on defense. Gone are Lewis, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger , Dannell Ellerbe , and Bernard Pollard . In come Elvis Dumervil , Marcus Spears , Michael Huff , and high draft picks Matt Elam and Arthur Brown . Oh, and Joe Flacco signed a six year, $120 million contract that made him the highest paid player in the NFL.