Super Bowl LVIII is just a few hours away from kicking off, and the Baltimore Ravens are kicking themselves that they aren't a part of the contest.
Their 17-10 loss to the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs in the conference championship was a golden opportunity that Baltimore let slip to win their third title in franchise history.
With that chance squandered, just how far are the Ravens from potentially competing in Super Bowl LIX?
The answer to that question will be given over the coming months.
Pro Bowl players like Kevin Zeitler, Justin Madubuike, and Patrick Queen are all free agents. They'll need to fill holes along the offensive line, defensive line, secondary, and receiving room.
That's easier said than done when the team is expected to have just $7 million in cap space.
Despite the concerns that Ravens will have in free agency, there is reason for optimism that the franchise can finally get over the hump.
Two-time NFL MVP Lamar Jackson is still just 27 years old and has plenty of weapons to expect more of the same through the rest of his career. Baltimore's defense also has All-Pros like Roquan Smith, and Kyle Hamilton. Add in a Super Bowl-winning head coach in John Harbaugh, and the Ravens have plenty of things that other contending teams would dream of.
As they are right now, Baltimore can be considered a Super Bowl contender in 2024. Even when free agency hits, the organization should still be able to find ways to stay at the front of the pack in the AFC.
The real question will be what happens when Baltimore takes on the Chiefs. Kansas City has dominated the conference now for six years and hasn't been challenged outside of Baltimore's rivals the Cincinnati Bengals.
If Jackson can improve as a passer next season, and the team can add some weapons around him, though, the Ravens could very well be where Kansas City is right now - preparing for another Super Bowl Sunday on the field.