The Ravens were given a Sunday to watch rather than play this week while other teams gave football fans many close and exciting games. Baltimore was given help from the Washington Redskins and New York Jets in the AFC North. Washington tied the Cincinnati Bengals and the Jets defeated the Browns 31-28.
Outside the AFC North the Ravens couldn’t gain any traction in the AFC Conference standings by sitting out. It seems the most likely way to the post-season for Baltimore this year is through the North.
The Bengals took a slight lead over Baltimore with their tie yesterday, and the Browns fell another game lower after dropping eight straight. The Ravens can jump to first place with a win at home this upcoming Sunday.
Here are my thoughts about the Ravens’ Bye Week.
What I Liked
- Having Justin Tucker. After watching other kickers play yesterday, my appreciation for Justin Tucker felt even stronger. Of the five kicks attempted in the Redskins-Bengals matchup, only two were successful and the game ended in a tie. Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, a kicker known for his reliability, converted only 1/3 attempts. The Raiders nearly lost a game in which they gained 626 yards that ran into the final minutes of overtime. Justin Tucker is 18/18 this season, with four attempts coming over 50 yards. Baltimore is happy to have signed this rare talent to an extension this offseason.
- Not Stressing. Depending on the year, the Bye Week can be something to look forward to or be annoyed with. This year, following the four-game losing streak, the Bye was welcomed in Baltimore. The Ravens needed to rest. They were injured, reverting to bad fundamentals, and most importantly, losing games they could be winning. Baltimore needed to get focused, develop a new game plan on offense, and get their starters back from injury. Being able to watch an entire day of football and not worry about the Ravens’ outcome was a nice break from the losing streak.
- The AFC North Division. The reason I like the division is because it is worse than usual, which is good for Baltimore. Cleveland was up early on New York, looking like the better team. That would have been very disappointing for Baltimore had Cleveland gotten its first win against the team that beat them the week before. In Week One, Pittsburgh trounced the same Redskins squad that beat Baltimore. Yesterday, the Redskins tied the Bengals, making the Raven’s loss not sting as much. Last year both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were better teams than Baltimore, especially as the season went on. Even though the Ravens are dealing with injuries again this year, they are better than in 2015 and still in the division race.
What I Didn’t Like
- AFC West Teams Winning. The AFC West, which has become one of the league’s best divisions, had three winners yesterday. All four teams have been competitive this year, and its possible both wild card teams come from this division. Oakland, Denver, and Kansas City all have better records than Baltimore. Whenever these teams win, it makes it harder on the Ravens. This division may keep the Ravens out of a wild card spot entirely. The AFC East is becoming a tough division as well. Luckily for Baltimore, the Patriots still own the division, and they have a win against the 4-4 Buffalo Bills.
- AFC Beating NFC. Whenever an NFC team faces an AFC team, Baltimore benefits from an NFC win. Yesterday the AFC went 2-0-1 against their NFC opponents. Although the Ravens couldn’t have suffered a loss yesterday, a loss from Oakland, Houston, or Cincinnati would’ve been great for Baltimore. The tie in London by the Bengals could ultimately end up helpful in the division race.
- It could’ve been better, but it could’ve been worse. Ultimately, the Ravens got the rest they needed and should be healthier and ready for a dogfight against Pittsburgh. Every fan deals with waiting for their team to play after the Bye Week, and luckily for Baltimore fans the wait is almost over now.
Week Nine Preview
- Both the Ravens and the Steelers are coming off a week of rest heading into one of their two annual battles. Sometimes teams feel at a disadvantage because their opponent is coming off a Bye. Neither team has that problem this week. The status of Ben Roethlisberger is unknown at this point. Baltimore is 6-1 against Pittsburgh without Roethlisberger. Both teams are heading into this matchup with key injuries. The Depth of certain positions will be an important factor for the winner of this game.
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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