By Week Seven last year the Baltimore Ravens were essentially out of the division race, facing a 1-6 record, and being struck by injuries left and right. This year is giving many people that same feeling, but aside from injuries, many things are different about this team.
Baltimore is 3-3, second in the division, and only one game back from the division leading Pittsburgh Steelers at 4-2. Last year the Ravens were fourth in the division and six games back after Week Seven.
There is no division stud in the AFC North this year, so far. Ben Roethlisberger just suffered a torn meniscus, and will miss the next two to six weeks. The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-4, a far cry from starting the season 8-0 last year. The Cleveland Browns are 0-6 with nothing to look forward to except next year’s draft.
Baltimore has made a knack of playing tight games down to the wire, as 20 out of their last 22 games have been decided by one possession. All six games this year have been decided by one possession or less. Just like last year as well, the injury bug has taken a toll on both the offense and defense. The difference between this year and last year, the 2016 Ravens were winning games when they were healthy. They simply need to heal. By the end of Week Six, they were down their No. 1 WR, their top corner, ILB, pass rusher, and three starting offensive linemen.
Injuries happen to every team in the NFL, and no one feels bad for Baltimore. Great teams in the NFL survive stretches like this in a season because of their quality depth. The Ravens are proving they need their starters now to be competitive.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It proves that Baltimore has built a solid foundation of core players who can win games. The only downfall is banking on the team to stay healthy.
Baltimore needs to straighten up sooner rather than later, beginning with Week Seven’s game. The AFC North has been one of the best divisions in the NFL the past few years, but not this year. Now is the time for Baltimore to take hold of a division they haven’t won since 2012.
The Ravens have a very winnable game coming up against a New York Jets squad that is seemingly out of answers. The two weeks after that are the Bye Week and a home game against the Steelers, who may be without Roethlisberger. Come out of these next two games on top, and Baltimore will be leading the division again.
Building momentum at the right time can bring life to a team with low morale. Last year, the 1-5 Kansas City Chiefs went on a 10-0 run to finish out the season and make the post-season. In 2012, Baltimore lost four of its last five games, yet heated up in the play offs to finish with a Super Bowl Victory.
Baltimore needs gain momentum now because the second half of their schedule is much tougher than the first. Getting healthy now can help the Ravens gain momentum to carry through the rest of the year.
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
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.
Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football
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.”
Ravens Trying To Entice Fans With Lower Concession Prices
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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