Ravens One Step Closer to the AFC North Title?

It’s a small, but tasty sample … it’s only Week-1, but to win a division opener is sugary, indeed. You might be aware of this, but teams who lose their division openers tend to keep on producing losses within their division. This is so important that historically, division opener losers only have an 11% chance of winning the division. Now that is a seriously reduced probability … Sorry Browns, sorry Bengals but your odds to with the AFC North are going to plummet- check 5Dimes Sportsbook for updated NFL division betting odds in the days to come.

So, it’s a good thing that not only did the Baltimore Ravens open up with a win against division rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, but they did so with boot-to-ant style, crushing the boys from Ohio 20 to nothing.

Big Baltimore ‘D’

Jeremy Hill opened up gashing through the middle for good yardage. This made it look like we were in for an epic division battle, but the Ravens defense snapped into gear getting immediate pressure on Dalton, even putting him to the turf for a sack.

New addition, Danny Woodhead helped Flacco and company march down the field, even making an amazing, spinning, one-handed grab to put the Ravens within easy Justin Tucker field goal range, striking first blood.

Dalton and the gang marched down the field into Ravens’ territory, only to have a 1 and 10 pass deflected by ILB Patrick Onwuasor and picked off by Baltimore new-comer, Brandon Carr, who ran the interception back to mid field. The Bengals managed to get away from that turnover without it resulting in a score … but it was a sign of things to come.

Dalton and the Bengals heroically march down from endzone to endzone in the second quarter and the feeling was that they were at least going to tie the game up at three … if not take a 4-point lead. Not if C.J Mosely has anything to say about it! Dalton passed over the top, targeting Brandon LaFell, but Mosely stretched out and snatched the ball out of the air (in the endzone) made his way back out past the 25, saving the Ravens a score against.

A few plays later we see the pure speed of Jeremy Macklin. Running a nice little post route, he cuts across the center of the field and Flacco finds him … and we’re off to the races. No one can catch him and the Ravens have a 10-point lead.

Did We Say Big Baltimore ‘D’ Yet?

It’s still the 2nd QTR. A minute and thirty-eight seconds left in the half, Dalton tries to go downfield but is hit by Suggs, the ball deflecting off #55’s helmet with Webb in the right place at the right time to snatch up an interception and plow his way down to the 2-yard line. A couple of seconds later and West is plowing his way into the endzone, making it two Baltimore Ravens touchdowns in less than 30 seconds.

Just a minute before the Bengals thought they’d be going into the locker room at halftime with just a 3-point deficit at home … and suddenly they are 17 – Zip!

Interceptions and Fumbles and Field Goals

A long story short, the Defense holds tough and the Bengals don’t get any lucky breaks through the 3rd and 4th Qtrs. The Ravens do a bit of sacking Dalton, making the Bengals punt a few times, picking off Dalton again. Making the Bengals punt … then causing Dalton to fumble. Get another Tucker field goal Some more punts and the Cincinnati Bengals are completely demoralized in their season opener at home.

Victory is sweet. And it tastes even better when it comes in the form of crushing a division rival’s dreams of starting the season strong! Next week another division rival gets to taste the pain. The Browns are getting let out of the dog pound … just to get pecked to pieces by the newly sharpened beaks of the Baltimore Ravens in M&T Bank Stadium.

Ravens vs Bengals NFL Week One Inactives

Ravens:

Crockett Gillmore (TE)
Darren Waller (TE)
Kenneth Dixon (RB)
Tavon Young (CB)
Maurice Canady (CB)
Albert McClellan (LB)
Tim White (WR)
Brandon Boykin (CB)
Jaylen Hill (CB)

Bengals:

Jake Kumerow (WR)
C.J. Uzomah (TE)
Adam Jones (CB)
Shawn Williams (S)
Vontaze Burfict (LB)
Cedric Peerman (RB)
John Ross (WR)
Jeff Driskel (QB)
Tra Carson (RB)
Mason Schreck (TE)
Josh Malone (WR)

Ravens Make Move at QB; Ink Thad Lewis, Waive Dustin Vaughan

With Joe Flacco on the shelf for the moment, the Ravens are still making tweaks to their quarterback position, making a roster move today with signal callers.

The team announced they’ve inked journeyman backup Thad Lewis, in the process waiving QB Dustin Vaughan.

Lewis has knocked around the league, and has played well enough when he’s had a chance to justify being someone’s third-stringer.

The former Duke quarterback has done time with the Rams, Browns twice, Lions, Bills, Texans, Eagles, and 49ers.

He hasn’t actually played in a game since 2013 for Buffalo, and he’s coming back from a torn ACL which ended his time in San Francisco, where he backed up some guy named Colin Kaepernick who can’t get a job.

Lewis has been on seven teams the last seven seasons, so don’t expect much from him while with the Ravens other than holding the placemat for the return of Flacco.

Ravens Reach Deal with Former Raiders OL Austin Howard

The Ravens made their biggest offseason addition to the offensive line Friday when they reached an agreement with former Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Austin Howard, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports via Jason Hensley of ESPN.com.

Howard, 30, is expected to compete with James Hurst at the starting right tackle spot. Baltimore hadn’t signed an experienced lineman since losing Rick Wagner, a three-year starter who signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency.

The addition of Howard would provide much-needed experience to a thinning offensive line. Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda had been the only lineman who started more than 13 games in the NFL. Baltimore lost two linemen — John Urschel (retirement) and Nico Siragusa (knee) — for the season since training camp began eight days ago.

Ravens Chat with Ray Lewis About Colin Kaepernick; Keeping the Door Open About Signing Him

USA Today Sports

The Ravens’ top executives have spoken to current and former players, including Ray Lewis, and both fans and sponsors as they continue to mull whether to sign polarizing free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Speaking alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a fan forum before the Ravens’ open practice Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium, team officials acknowledged the team has had direct discussions with Kaepnerick, but they still haven’t made a decision whether they will sign him or not, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports.

“I hope we do what is best for the team and balance that with what is best for our fans,” Bisciotti said in response to a question from a fan about how signing Kaepernick could ‘damage your brand.’ “Your opinions matter to us. … We’re very sensitive to it, and we’re monitoring it, and we’re trying to figure out what’s the right tact. So pray for us.”

The Ravens have been inundated with phone calls at their Owings Mills headquarters since Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters following the team’s first full-squad workout on Thursday that the team was considering signing Kaepernick to help a currently shaky quarterback situation.

Bisciotti said the organization is “very sensitive” to the opinion of fans, but that wont completely dictate the Ravens’ decision. Ultimately, both Bisciotti and Cass said it’s a football decision, made by the team’s braintrust which also includes general manager Ozzie Newsome, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta and Harbaugh.

“It’s been discussed between Dick and and John, and we’ve talked a lot with our current players and a lot of our former players,” Bisciotti said. “I talked to Ray Lewis this morning. I know Ozzie had a long conversation with Ben Watson. … It’s not racial lines. It’s not existing players versus former players. I care about the fan base, but I have to absorb the opinions of the players that have been there.”

Terrell Suggs on Ray Lewis, Feeling Better, and How Long He Plans on Playing

Terrell Suggs suddenly is the grizzled vet on a team that is trying to get young and stay competitive at the same time. They came close last year to winning the division if not for a last second letdown in Pittsburgh on Christmas Day to the Steelers.

Now Suggs, who is going to be 35 a month into the season, is thinking about his career and his mortality on the football field, and in a recent interview spoke to Michael Silver about eventually walking away, but about feeling better than he has in recent years when he’s been battling injury.

Here’s a quick part of the interview.

Suggs, however, says he’s not filling the void left by the departures of future Hall of Famers Lewis (who retired after the Super Bowl XLVII victory over the 49ers) and safety Ed Reed (who spent 2013 with the Texans and Jets before calling it quits).

“It can’t be filled,” Suggs says. “You can’t just call them greats; those are football gods. You’ll never get another one of them. You can get imitations, you can get people that are similar to them, but they were so unique. Their off-the-field intensity matched their on-the-field intensity. That void can’t be filled. I just try to be Sizzle.”

Whether 2017 will be Suggs’ final season in Baltimore — or final season, period — remains to be seen.

“I don’t know how long I’ll play,” he says. “I don’t want to cap it. But I also don’t want to be naïve and be like, ‘Yo, I’m gonna play ’till I’m 40’… and be out there trying to f—- pass rush.

“I do know this — everybody that comes here from other teams, they tell me, ‘Sizz, you’ve been on one team for 15 years. Not only is that impressive, but that’s rare. It’s crazy that you’ve never had to pack up your family and move.’ I’m getting a notion of how important that is. It’s nice to know.”

Ravens Ink Former NY Giants TE Larry Donnell

Riddled with injuries at the tight end position, the Ravens have taken a flyer on former Giants TE Larry Donnell according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Donnell spent the last four seasons with the Giants and turned in his strongest season in 2014 when he caught 63 passes for 623 yards and six touchdowns. He suffered a neck injury which limited him to eight games the following season and then fell far behind Will Tye for targets in 2016. The Giants released him in February and he garnered little interest as a free agent other than a workout with the Colts. The 28-year-old Donnell presents a mammoth target at 6’6″ and 265 pounds but has poor hands and is a liability as a blocker.

The Ravens rely on the tight end in their passing game as much if not more than any other team in the NFL and need warm bodies to shore up the position. Dennis Pitta is likely gone for good with another fractured hip, 2016 free agent acquisition is coming off an Achilles tear, second-year TE Maxx Williams is still recuperating from knee surgery, and Darren Waller is facing a year-long suspension. The latest blow is a potentially significant knee injury suffered by Crockett Gilmore during Friday’s practice. There is definitely some opportunity here for Donnell but we would be surprised if he makes the final roster.

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