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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 15 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Orlando Salida vs. Mikey Garcia (Saturday 9:45pm from New York live on HBO), Sergey Kovalev vs. Gabriel Campillo (Saturday 9pm from Uncasville, CT live on NBC Sports Network); Women’s College Basketball: NC State @ Maryland (Thursday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Maryland @ Georgia Tech (Sunday 3pm from Atlanta live on ESPN2); Soccer: MISL Baltimore Blast @ Syracuse Silver Knights (Friday 7:30pm Sunday 1:30pm from Syracuse, NY live on MISLtv.com); High School Basketball: Perry Hall @ Woodlawn (Wednesday 6:30pm), Perry Hall @ Milford Mill (Friday 7pm)

10. Superstars of 70′s Soul Jam feat. The Stylistics, Peaches and Herb (Saturday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); The Darkness (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head Live), G. Love & Special Sauce (Sunday 8:30pm Rams Head Live); Hollywood Undead (Sunday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Gin Blossoms (Tuesday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage), Eric Benet (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); 2 Chainz (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Ellie Goulding (Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Janelle Monae (Sunday 6pm 9:30 Club); WAR (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere); Morrissey (Wednesday 8pm Strathmore); Smokey Robinson (Friday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Soundgarden (Friday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Tim Reynolds (Sunday 8pm & 10pm Blues Alley); Augustana (Monday 7pm U Street Music Hall)

I’d like to do like 100 more things this week that involve the Gin Blossoms…

I hate admitting how much I enjoy this Ellie Goulding tune…

I’ve been a Janelle Monae fan since the first time I knew there was such a thing as Janelle Monae…

Soundgarden, huh? I’ll sign up for just about anything that involves Chris Cornell singing tunes…

9. Baltimore County Winter Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Monday throughout Baltimore County); Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade (Saturday 12pm MLK Boulevard); “Taken 2″ available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Broken City” and “The Last Stand” out in theaters (Friday)

My favorite part of Taken 2 was when Liam Neeson was talking about Tim Tebow…

On the list for Winter Restaurant Week? The Grill at Harryman House. Where a burger looks like this…

Ummm…yes.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Postcard from Denver: The Greatest Game I’ve Ever Seen

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Postcard from Denver: The Greatest Game I’ve Ever Seen

Posted on 12 January 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

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Our Ravens/Broncos “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Broncos “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 12 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor. This week, Luke Jones joined us as well.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 38-35 double overtime win over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Sunday in a AFC Divisional playoff.

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Pernell McPhee

4. Ray Lewis

3. Ray Rice

2. Jacoby Jones

1. Justin Tucker (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Colts

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Colts

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in an AFC Wild Card playoff game…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Pernell McPhee recovers Andrew Luck fumble after Paul Kruger sack, strip (1st quarter)

4. Anquan Boldin 46 yard catch from Joe Flacco (3rd quarter)

3. Cary Williams intercepts Andrew Luck pass intended for Reggie Wayne, returns 41 yards (4th quarter)

2. Ray Rice 47 yard catch from Joe Flacco (2nd quarter)

1. Bernard Pierce 43 yard run on 3rd & 1 (4th quarter)

 

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-MISL Baltimore Blast @ Chicago Soul (Friday 8:30pm from Hoffman Estates, IL live on MISLtv.com), Baltimore Blast @ Milwaukee Wave (Saturday 7:30pm from Milwaukee live on MISLtv.com); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-John Molina vs. Dannie Williams (Friday 9pm from Santa Fe live on ESPN2); Women’s College Basketball: Miami @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center)

10. Jimmie’s Chicken Shack 20th Anniversary Show (Friday 8:30pm Rams Head Live), Bloc Party (Saturday 9pm Rams Head Live); Kris Allen (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Yellowcard (Friday 5pm 9:30 Club); David Murray Big Band & Macy Gray (Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club (Saturday 7:30pm Creative Alliance); Dropkick Murphys “Signed and Sealed in Blood” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You know someone who is camping out for his spot to check out the JCS anniversary show…

I was never a huge Yellowcard fan, but I know they’re about to hit the road with our boys from All Time Low, so I’m back on the bandwagon. Plus this song always kinda kicked ass…

Say what you want about Macy Gray being a weirdo. Don’t say she isn’t a talented chick.

You may remember Dropkick Murphys as the band that put a Christmas tune on their album that was coming out in January. BRILLIANCE.

9. Jim Gaffigan (Saturday 7pm & 9:30pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); George Lopez (Saturday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Christian Finnegan (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Dredd“, “Frankenweenie” & “Archer Season 3” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Zero Dark Thirty“, “Gangster Squad” & “Promised Land” out in theaters (Friday); Baltimore County Winter Restaurant Week (Friday-Monday throughout Baltimore County)

Want to move into “best friend” territory with me? Get me Archer Season 3. NOW.

On the list of spots participating in BCWRW? Costas Inn. Oysters Rockefeller for all!!!

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Our Ravens/Colts “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Colts “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 24-9 win over Indianapolis Colts in an AFC Wild Card playoff Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Ray Lewis

4. Haloti Ngata

3. Vonta Leach

2. Bernard Pierce

1. Anquan Boldin (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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Your Monday Reality Check: Ravens should absolutely play to win in Cincinnati

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Your Monday Reality Check: Ravens should absolutely play to win in Cincinnati

Posted on 24 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’m amazed by how many people I had to explain it to Sunday night. I honestly had to give up after a little while.

The stupidity of the statement “I’d rather the Baltimore Ravens be the four seed because the path looks easier to me” is unbelievable.

I was impressed by a number of things I saw from the Baltimore Ravens Sunday (weren’t we all?), but one that probably went unnoticed by many was how head coach John Harbaugh addressed the question of how the team would handle next week’s game.

“The thing we’re going to do for sure is we’re going to try to win the game” Harbaugh explained. “We’re also going to try to make sure we’re as healthy as we can be going into the playoffs so I think we’ll merge those two considerations.”

Bingo. The Baltimore Ravens absolutely MUST try to win their Week 17 date with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

By virtue of their 33-14 win over the New York Giants Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens clinched the AFC North title and a home playoff game. They are guaranteed to play on Wild Card weekend of the NFL Playoffs, but they are not yet locked into the four seed. The Ravens could still clinch the three seed in the AFC Playoffs with a win over the Bengals and a New England Patriots loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The difference in the third seed and fourth seed isn’t necessarily significant, but it has the potential to be. Getting the third seed could be the difference in whether the Ravens are able to host the AFC Championship Game.

It seems like an unlikely scenario, but it’s not impossible. Should the Ravens and Patriots end up as the third and fourth seeds but each win their first two playoff games, they would meet in the AFC title game. If the Pats are the three seed and the Ravens the four, the Pats would host the game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. I vaguely remember such a game happening there before.

But if the Ravens were to finish as the three seed and the Patriots the fourth seed, the game would then be played in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium, the place where the Baltimore Ravens have won 15 of their last 17 games (including playoffs).

Which scenario would you prefer?

I got this question Sunday night. “This seems so unlikely. When was the last time something like this even happened?”

The person who asked was right. It IS an unlikely scenario. But if the Ravens are to return to the AFC Championship Game at all, they will HAVE to knock off one of the top two seeds. The Pats would then only need to win a game either in Houston or Denver, neither of which seems like an impossible scenario.

And if you’ll allow your memory to serve you right, you’ll be reminded that the Ravens were a second half collapse away from having this scenario play out in January 2011. The New York Jets stunned the Patriots in Foxborough, so had the Ravens avoided blowing a fourteen point halftime lead to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, they would have hosted the AFC Championship Game as a five seed.

Some people argued to me “Glenn, I think the road is easier as a four seed because I’d rather play Indianapolis and Houston than Cincinnati and Denver.”

I have absolutely no idea why there is a sudden fear of the Cincinnati Bengals amongst Ravens fans. The difference between the Bengals and Colts is minimal at best. Bengals QB Andy Dalton has thrown for three touchdowns and five interceptions over the course of the last three weeks, is 0-3 in his career against the Ravens and thus far in his NFL career has not defeated a team that has clinched a postseason berth (although that could change next week if the Washington Redskins or New York Giants get in).

The Houston argument is more compelling. Despite the fact that the Ravens suffered a 43-13 shellacking earlier this season in Houston, it’s easy to understand why fans would believe that task more likely to be accomplished than a Ravens win in Denver. What’s forgotten in this scenario is that the Texans have not yet clinched the top seed in the AFC. They will need to do something they’ve never done in franchise history-win in Indianapolis-next Sunday in order to nail down the top spot, and RB Arian Foster’s availability could be an issue after he left Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings with an irregular heartbeat.

Should the Texans lose (as well as the Patriots) and the Broncos win, the Broncos would be the one seed and the Texans would be the two seed. Which scenario is better for the Ravens at that point?

The NFL did the Ravens no favors in scheduling, as their tilt with the Bengals will kick off at 1pm Sunday, while the Patriots won’t kick off until some three hours later. The Ravens will not have the benefit of knowing what the Patriots are doing to decide if there’s a point where they want to pull their starters.

Instead, they’ll simply have to channel former NFL coach Herm Edwards and “play to win the game.”

That doesn’t mean they should go crazy.

The Ravens are smart enough to know that the Patriots are unlikely to lose to the Dolphins and will most likely open the postseason by hosting the Colts in a playoff game for the second time in franchise history. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

As Harbaugh said, merging the two considerations is very plausible.

It would make total sense for the Ravens to consider giving oft-injured DT Haloti Ngata another week off (he rested for the team’s blowout win over the Oakland Raiders in November) and even LB Terrell Suggs (who has played the last two weeks after suffering a torn biceps tendon) the day off. Harbaugh also confirmed LB Ray Lewis wouldn’t be a consideration to return from Injured Reserve until the postseason. It wouldn’t be stunning to see S Bernard Pollard miss a third straight game either, and if WR Anquan Boldin’s shoulder is of significant concern it would be understandable to see him miss the finale as well.

But there is absolutely no reason for the Ravens to spend Sunday’s game with Tyrod Taylor handing the ball off to Anthony Allen all afternoon while Joe Flacco and Ray Rice watch in sweats. It’s one thing to be prudent. It’s quite another to just plain give up.

With something to play for still, there’s no reason the Ravens should do the latter. Judging by John Harbaugh’s comments, I’ll assume they won’t.

-G

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AFC Week 16 playoff picture

Posted on 19 December 2012 by Luke Jones

The task for the Ravens is clear against the New York Giants, even if it remains a difficult challenge with their recent struggles and three-game losing streak.

Win and they’re AFC North champions for the second straight season. A loss keeps their division hopes up in the air, regardless of what happens earlier Sunday between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Both the Bengals and the Steelers have a chance to win the division while the Ravens simply need one win in their final two weeks of the regular season to guarantee the division title.

Via the three-way head-to-head tiebreaker, Pittsburgh would win the AFC North if the Ravens lose their final two games and the Steelers win their last two. The Bengals are the AFC North champions if they beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore in their final two games (with the Ravens falling in Week 16, of course).

The Ravens could still win the AFC North without winning another game should the Bengals lose to the Steelers on Sunday and Pittsburgh fall to Cleveland in the final week of the season.

Here are the AFC’s Week 16 scenarios for the Ravens as well as the rest of the conference:

**Clinched playoff spots: New England (AFC East champion); Denver (AFC West champion); Houston (AFC South champion); Baltimore (playoff spot)

BALTIMORE (vs. New York Giants)

The Ravens clinch the AFC North with:

1. BAL win OR

2. BAL tie + CIN loss or tie

HOUSTON (vs. Minnesota)

The Texans clinch a first-round bye with:

1. HOU win or tie OR

2. NE loss or tie OR

3) DEN loss

The Texans clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with:

1. HOU win OR

2. HOU tie + DEN loss or tie OR

3. NE loss or tie + DEN loss

DENVER (vs. Cleveland)

The Broncos clinch a first-round bye with:

1. DEN win + NE loss or tie OR

2. DEN tie + NE loss

INDIANAPOLIS (at Kansas City)

The Colts clinch a playoff spot with:

1. IND win or tie OR

2. IND clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over CIN OR

3. PIT loss or tie

CINCINNATI (at Pittsburgh)

The Bengals clinch a playoff spot with:

1. CIN win

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Monday Reality Check: I Get Why You’re Saying You’d Prefer Blowouts

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Your Monday Reality Check: I Get Why You’re Saying You’d Prefer Blowouts

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

It didn’t take long.

“The thing is-I’d prefer them to be getting blown out than losing the way they’re losing.”

I can’t remember who it was, and I apologize if it was you. It wasn’t long into “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” Sunday night on WNST that I got the first one. And it wasn’t the only time I heard/read it Sunday. I got it in a few emails and social media messages.

It wasn’t the most infuriating thing I heard Sunday night. In fact, it wasn’t really infuriating at all.

I get it. Honestly, I get it.

I mean, I hope all of us who were greatly bothered by seeing the Baltimore Ravens suffer a second consecutive loss Sunday (this time in overtime at the Washington Redskins) are understanding that 1-the team’s season is FAR from over and 2-no organization with a 9-4 record in a NFL season can EVER be vastly concerned about the following season or any seasons to come.

The only thing the organization can be concerned about is winning their next game, a visit from the Denver Broncos in the case of the Baltimore Ravens.

While you’re questioning the future of the Offensive Coordinator, the quarterback, who stays and goes on the defensive side of the ball and who could be cut to free room under the salary cap; the organization is ONLY concerned about how to break a lengthy losing streak against Peyton Manning and how a maligned Offensive Line can contain Von Miller.

They’ve thought about some of those same things, but they’ll worry about them after the season.

Some of you are struggling with the notion that the season hasn’t ended for the Baltimore Ravens in the course of the last eight days. It was rain falling today in Charm City, but it felt like it was the sky.

If the Ravens HAD been blown out in their last two games and hadn’t managed to pull off a few miracles (a missed Dan Bailey field goal lifting them past the Dallas Cowboys, the impossible 4th & 29 conversion in San Diego) or hold on in some of the uglier games in recent franchise history (wins at Kansas City and Pittsburgh that came without a single offensive touchdown), the Baltimore Ravens would sit at 5-8 and feel much more comfortable about declaring both the season over and welcoming panic within the building at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Instead, they have all but clinched a fifth consecutive postseason appearance and are in no ways guaranteed to not be able to make a run towards a second consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance.

When you tell me you’d prefer blowouts, I understand what you’re really saying. You’re REALLY saying you don’t think the Ravens are going to make that type of run and you’d prefer to see the organization start answering more difficult questions now than have to wait another four or five weeks.

It’s understandable. The most likely scenario for the Ravens is that they’ll enter the playoffs as the AFC North champion (they need only one more win in any game the rest of the way to lock it up) but having lost anywhere from two to four (or I guess even all five) of their final five games. It’s reasonable to assume they won’t enter the postseason playing a particularly consistent level of football.

It’s easier for us to discuss long term questions like “should Cam Cameron be fired?”, “how much is Joe Flacco worth?”, “what do you do with Michael Oher?”, “has Jimmy Smith made enough progress to feel comfortable letting Cary Williams walk?”, “is there any future for Ed Reed here?” and “would cutting Anquan Boldin provide the cap room the organization needs?”

But the only real questions at the moment are more along the lines of “what will the team do if they’re missing Marshal Yanda for a significant amount of time?”, “can Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe and Terrell Suggs return in time to face Denver?” and “should Corey Graham still start after Smith returns?”

None of those questions sound like they’ll make the type of difference necessary to see the Ravens look like Super Bowl contenders again.

That’s where the organization is after 14 weeks of the 2012 NFL season.

I know you don’t REALLY mean you’d rather see the Ravens getting blown out right now, but I understand why it feels that way.

-G

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For the Baltimore Ravens, this Season is About Timely Plays, Not Big Ones

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For the Baltimore Ravens, this Season is About Timely Plays, Not Big Ones

Posted on 14 July 2012 by andrewtomlinson

Losing Terrell Suggs is obviously a huge loss for the Baltimore Ravens defense, but the team does not need to look to replace him to get back to the AFC Championship Game, instead they simply need to play well in big spots.

There is no way a team can play at the same level or achieve the same things when it loses its top player. Whether it be offense or defense, losing a key member to a unit hurts on the field, in the locker room and in the huddle, but it does not mean all is lost for the Ravens. They are not anywhere close to being perfect defensively and there are a lot of holes and question marks, but the team just needs to pick its spots to perform well.

Racking up the sacks, turnovers, 90-yard runs and bomb passes for touchdowns are sexy and certainly make a team fun to watch, but they aren’t necessary to win the game. For a team to succeed in the NFL, they simply have to prevent the opposing team from getting into the end zone just enough so they can get into the end zone more. This may sound like a condescending lesson on the football basics, but so often people forget it is about stopping the other team from scoring, not lighting up a stat sheet.

Suggs is a huge member of the defensive core, is a leader and provides pressure off the edge on practically every down. He is a nice weapon to have, but it isn’t like he is the only weapon the Ravens have. His loss will be missed but with Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody in the middle joined by Pernell McPhee and Courtney Upshaw coming off the end, the Ravens should be able to stop the opposition from gaining first downs and driving down the field.

What the group is going to need to learn is that stopping the running back short by a yard on third and three, gets the same result as blowing him up in the backfield does. Sure, it may change the net field position you gain after a punt by a few yards, but then it is up to Joe Flacco and the offense to maintain the same consistency.

Which brings up another point of, what do the Ravens do if they don’t have Ray Rice too?

Rice is incredibly important to this team. He is their home run threat, the five-tool player — can you tell I have been watching a lot of baseball? — and a can’t miss guy when it comes to predicting performance. Yet he isn’t an integral part of the team’s success and if he holds out for part of the season for a new contract, the Ravens can still win. Again, just like the defense, the offense comes down to consistency. It isn’t about scoring the fastest or in the fewest plays, it is instead about scoring often and more than the other team.

Big plays are needed and at times you need to go deep, but the Ravens should not get away from just taking the little gains. Three plays of at least four yards gets you a first down and if you can string together a lot of four yard plays, before you know it you are in the end zone. For the offense, this may be key if only because that is how they will have to play in the postseason.

Too often team’s get caught up in the big plays and explosive shows of force, but in the playoffs those big plays seem to disappear. As a result, it is the teams who can methodically move down the field who often come out on top. The Ravens were not that team against the Patriots last year and need to instead pick their spots to go for it all on both offense and defense.

With potentially several key play makers missing on defense and at least one or two questions on offense, the Ravens are going to need to pick when they want go for the big sack, interception or pass. They have the ability to make the plays, but it isn’t like years past where a missed play on first down can be rectified by a big play on second or third. This team is going to have to make sure it plays within its limitations and understand they are not super human.

If they can play smart football, which by all accounts they will based on the leadership and coaching staff they have, the Ravens will be one of the best teams in football again this year. It is not inconceivable to think they can capture the North and make it back to the AFC Championship Game. That said, the team may look a little different than years past and instead of being a threat to make big plays on every down, fans may have to hold on and wait for the plays to happen at the right time.

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