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Baltimore Ravens

NFL Regular Season Preview: AFC North

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The regular season is getting ready to begin and I will be going by division and in depth with each team to share who I believe will win each division.

Baltimore Ravens: 2015 Record: 5-11

2016 Projected Record: 7-9

Key Additions: Jake Long, Mike Wallace, Eric Weddle, Benjamin Watson

Key Losses: Eugene Monroe, Daryl Smith, Chris Canty

The Ravens are getting back Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman from injury on offense. Now hopefully all of these guys can stay healthy but guys like Forsett and Steve Smith aren’t getting any younger. I like the addition of Mike Wallace because of the deep threat ability alongside Flacco.

I absolutely loved the addition of Benjamin Watson but he unfortunately is likely out for the season with a torn achilles. This would’ve been a huge help at a position that continually saw Dennis Pitta injured and unable to be on the field. They have Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams to fill in at TE but Watson would’ve instantly solved the TE position.

On the defensive end the Ravens are obviously trying to get younger with them cutting the likes of Canty and Daryl Smith. They get guys like Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil back from injury to help their pass rush. I like the move of moving Lardarius Webb to safety because he’s been declining as a CB the past few years. They also added Eric Weddle to the back end of their defense so that’s a great veteran presence and I believe he can still perform at a high level.

The young guys are going to have to step up for the Ravens this year. On offense you need Maxx Williams and Breshad Perriman to play big roles and on defense CJ Mosley is going to have to anchor the defense in the middle. I have the Ravens going 7-9 solely on the fact that I believe their offense will be fine with Flacco at the helm but their defense has too many questions for my liking.

Cincinnati Bengals: 2015 Record: 12-4

2016 Projected Record: 11-5

Key Additions: William Jackson (draft), Tyler Boyd (draft), Brandon Lafell, Karlos Dansby

Key Losses: Reggie Nelson, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones

The Bengals offense when healthy is one of the best in the league but WHEN healthy. The Bengals just always seem to have the worst luck whether it being Andy Dalton, A.J Green, or Tyler Eifert getting hurt at very inconvenient times. Last year the Bengals looked poised to try and make a Super Bowl run until Dalton got hurt.

To no ones’s surprise how did the Bengals replace their losses? Through the draft. The Bengals have drafted very well under Marvin Lewis and this year they drafted Tyler Boyd from the University of Pittsburgh in the 2nd round to hopefully replace Sanu/Jones on offense. They also signed Brandon Lafell who has been with the Patriots the past few years to help Dalton as well.

Defensively the Bengals are always at the top of the league in pretty much every category. The loss of Reggie Nelson is a huge loss but to the Bengals it’s less of a loss than it would be to another team cause Bengals are deep in the secondary with George Iloka and Shawn Williams at safety. At cornerback they drafted William Jackson in the 1st round but he tore his pectoral muscle at rhe beginning of training camp which could cost him his rookie season.

The Bengals still have Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Darquez Dennard at CB so I think they will be fine without Jackson as much as I think he would’ve helped. They also still have Carlos Dunlap, Domata Peko, Geno Atkins, and Michael Johnson on the defensive line so they still hold one of the best pass rushing D-lines in the NFL. I love this Bengals team IF they can stay healthy to go 11-5 as long as their new acquisitions step up like I think they will.

Cleveland Browns: 2015 Record: 3-13

2016 Projected Record: 4-12

Key Additions: Robert Griffin III, Corey Coleman (draft), Emmanuel Ogbah (draft)

Key Losses: Brian Hartline, Barkevious Mingo, Donte Whitner

The Browns added RGIII in the offseason to hopefully show glimpses of his 2012 season to help the offense get on track. They also get Josh Gordon back but he will be suspended for the first 4 games of the season. The Browns also added Corey Coleman through the draft to give RGIII as many viable options as possible.

The biggest question I have for the Browns offensively is their running game. It’s still unknown who will start week 1 between Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. but I don’t have much confidence in their running game either way. Last year we saw certain instances where Duke Johnson showcased his playmaking ability out of the backfield but I don’t know with Crowell taking touches away if he’ll get the touches he should get.

Now defensively is where the huge problem lies for the Browns. Besides Joe Haden you have a bunch of unproven guys on that defense. Now hopefully for the Browns Haden can come back healthy and return to the high level of play he had before last year because Haden struggled a lot last year.

The Browns have also recently traded their 2013 1st round pick in Barkevious Mingo to the Patriots. Now he will probably become an unstoppable force like everyone does when they go to New England but in Cleveland his play was very underwhelming to say the least. In his first 3 years Mingo had only 7 sacks. Yes, 7. Now if Browns fans expect RGIII to save their whole team then I’m sorry to tell you I unfortunately see another disappointing season for the Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 2015 Record: 10-6

2016 Projected Record: 11-5

Key Additions: Lardarius Green, Artie Burns (draft), Ryan Harris

Key Losses: Heath Miller, Yep that’s about it.

The Steelers offense is going to be one of the best in the NFL barring injuries. Yes, Le’Veon Bell is suspended for the first 3 games and Martavis Bryant is suspended for the whole year but guess what, they still have Antonio Brown who’s not bad at all. As long as Ben Roethlisberger is healthy this offense will be hard to stop.

The running game is also a great part of the Steelers offense. Le’Veon Bell is out for the first 3 games but the Steelers have DeAngelo Williams to step in for those 3 games for Bell. Last year Williams was 10th in the league in yards with 907 and tied the league lead in TDs with 11 while Le’Veon Bell started the first 6 games for the Steelers.

Defense is where all the Steelers weaknesses lie and more specifically it’s the secondary that’s been the problem. They drafted Artie Burns in the 1st round to hopefully help their secondary in the future. Their secondary currently stands with William Gay & Ross Cockrell at the corners with Mike Mitchell & Robert Golden at the safety spots. That’s not a very good secondary at all.

Now the Steelers are hoping that their pass rush can make up for their weak secondary. Last year they drafted Bud Dupree in the 1st round to help that. He only started for 5 games and ended the season with 26 tackles and 4 sacks. Now the huge disappointment has been Jarvis Jones who has started 26 games in the last 3 seasons and has only come away with 5 sacks. Luckily they still have James Harrison who rotates in and is a very viable pass rusher when needed plus he is someone I wouldn’t mess with. The Steelers offense is elite while their secondary will cost them some games so I have them at 11-5.

Final Prediction: I believe Steelers win the AFC North at 11-5 with the Bengals making the wild card also at 11-5.

 

The next division I will be taking a look at is the AFC South.

 

I'm a huge sports fan but my favorite sport is football. I'm a Los Angeles Rams fan in football, Cleveland Cavaliers fan in basketball, & New York Yankees fan in baseball. I love writing & talking about sports & hearing others opinions on sports related topics!

Baltimore Ravens

Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested

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Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was arrested early on Friday morning following a car crash about a mile from the Ravens’ team facility, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.

Per the report: Officers responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a tree on the 10000 block of Dolfield Road at about 6:48 a.m. Friday morning, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.

Collins, 24, was arrested, however charges were not made public at the time of this writing.

Ravens vice president of public relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun that the team has spoken with law enforcement and is aware of the situation involving Collins.

Collins is coming off a down year with Baltimore after a breakout campaign in 2017. Collins managed only 411 yards rushing in 2018 and was placed on injured reserve back in December, ending his season early.

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Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football

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Former NFL running back Ray Rice, who had been working to try and get a second chance in the NFL over the past couple of years, is no longer pursuing a comeback.

“I’ll be the first one to say it; I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football” Rice said, during an interview on CBS This Morning.

“The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most.”

Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014 when a video surfaces showing Rice punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice while the two were alone in an elevator.

Rice was never picked up by another team following the conclusion of his suspension, and his release from the Baltimore Ravens.

Rice said that he sees “similarities” between his situation and the one of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was recently cut loose by the team when a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hallway.

“Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other— I actually got my second chance” Rice said of Hunt, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.

“During my darkest moments, and I used to ask myself, ‘How could she even be—want to support me?’ … That’s understandable. But I think what’s misunderstood about us is that the friends we were before the incident. That’s why, like I said, when I look at Kareem Hunt, I wanna know what his life was like. I want to know what happened in life. I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for survivors of domestic violence.”

 

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Baltimore Ravens

Ravens Trying To Entice Fans With Lower Concession Prices

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The Baltimore Ravens are attempting to win back fans and their latest plan is making a big step toward doing just that as the team announced on Tuesday that they will reduce concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium in 2018.

The Ravens have been on a mission to bring back fans who were angered by some players’ national anthem protests coupled with their 3-year playoff drought.

A series of moves have demonstrated their efforts. The team invited fans to ask questions at a media pre-draft news conference held a question-and-answer session with fans at the team facility with owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome, and also have had team president Dick Cass meet and talk to fan clubs.

While the team has sold out every game during their 20-year history at M&T Bank Stadium, empty seats grew in numbers as the 2017 season wore on, and the no-shows are very obvious.

The organization is taking this initiative very seriously.

“It’s something I would really like to take a hard look at, and at least, come up with select items that we can do,” Bisciotti said back in February of this year.

“If it means us … I can’t make Aramark do that with me, but I can make them go along as long as it’s my share of the profits that I’m waiving. Yeah, I’d like to take a look at that. I think we could probably do that.”

There is an official news conference scheduled for Thursday where the Ravens will officially announce price reductions on concessions.

 

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