Posted on 23 September 2015 by WNST Staff
Comments Off on Brad Gagnon on the NFL season thus far
Posted on 22 September 2015 by WNST Staff
Comments Off on Joe Danneman discusses all things Cincinnati Bengals
Posted on 28 December 2014 by Luke Jones
One of the best rivalries in the NFL will be renewed for Wild Card weekend as the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh to take on the AFC North champion Steelers in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.
After prevailing 27-17 over Cincinnati, the Steelers clinched the No. 3 seed in the AFC and will host Baltimore on Saturday night. It will mark the fourth time these bitter rivals have met in postseason history with the Steelers owning a 3-0 record with all three coming at Heinz Field.
The Ravens and Steelers split the regular-season series with Baltimore prevailing 26-6 at home in Week 2 and Pittsburgh earning a blowout 43-23 win in Pittsburgh in Week 9. In that contest, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for six touchdown passes against a vulnerable Ravens secondary that’s struggled throughout the season.
One of the developing stories of the first-round matchup will be the health of Pro Bowl selection Le’Veon Bell, who left Sunday night’s game with a hyperextended right knee and did not return. The Steelers running back will need to recover on a short week in order to play in his team’s first postseason game since 2011.
The game will be televised on NBC with an 8:15 p.m. kickoff.
Posted on 15 December 2014 by Luke Jones
Even after a sloppy performance in their 20-12 win over Jacksonville in Week 15, the Ravens now see the light at the end of the tunnel in securing a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
The Ravens knew last week that a trip to the postseason would be guaranteed with three straight wins to close out the month of December, but they now enter Week 16 with the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with some help. At the conclusion of Week 15, Baltimore holds the No. 6 spot in the AFC playoff race thanks to San Diego’s loss to Denver.
Three scenarios exist that would allow the Ravens to officially punch their ticket to the playoffs in Week 16:
1) A win at Houston + a Pittsburgh loss to Kansas City + a Cincinnati loss to Denver
2) A win at Houston + a Kansas City loss or tie at Pittsburgh + a San Diego loss or tie at San Francisco
3) A tie at Houston + a Kansas City loss at Pittsburgh + a San Diego loss at San Francisco + a Buffalo loss or tie at Oakland
Of course, the Ravens still have visions of winning the AFC North, which will happen if they win their final two games and both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh lose at least one more game.
However, Week 16 could also bring an end to the Ravens’ hopes of a division title if both the Steelers and the Bengals are able to secure wins. If that were to happen, the winner of the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game at Heinz Field the following week would be the AFC North champion.
Both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh clinch postseason berths with wins in Week 16.
Comments Off on Ravens moving closer to clinching playoff spot entering Week 16
Posted on 08 December 2014 by Luke Jones
After securing their biggest win of the season to prevent their playoff hopes from becoming a faint dream, the Ravens now have their path to the postseason staring them directly in the face.
The 28-13 win over the Miami Dolphins puts Baltimore in a position where three consecutive wins to close the regular season will guarantee a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence. The Ravens currently stand seventh in the AFC playoff hunt, but the Week 17 rematch between current No. 4 seed Cincinnati and No. 5 seed Pittsburgh — who owns a better division record than the Ravens — guarantees they would leapfrog one of their AFC North foes should they handle their own business over the final three weeks of December.
“We’re pleased with the fact we’re in the hunt, that we control our own destiny,” head coach John Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. “You can ask for more, but boy, it’s a great accomplishment to be in that position right now. It’s just our job to make the most of it, and our guys are very aware of that. They really are. Our guys are really tuned into the fact that it’s in their hands, and it’s our responsibility to get the job done.”
Of course, the Ravens still have a chance to take the division if they win out and both the Bengals and the Steelers lose at least one game down the stretch. So, how realistic is that outcome?
It’s very difficult envisioning 2-11 Jacksonville giving the Ravens too much trouble in Baltimore this Sunday, but a Week 16 trip to Houston won’t be easy as the Texans are currently in the best shape of the 7-6 teams due to a superior conference record and have won three of their last four games. Should Baltimore get by Houston, a Week 17 meeting with the Browns is never one to overlook, but the game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, giving the Ravens a distinct edge.
As for the Bengals, a road trip to Cleveland on Sunday and a Monday night home game against Denver in Week 16 will be dangerous to navigate before their regular-season finale in Pittsburgh. The Steelers travel to Atlanta — who will be coming off a short week following a Monday night road game — this Sunday and host Kansas City in Week 16 before welcoming the Bengals to Heinz Field for the season finale. Pittsburgh would win the division by winning its final three games.
It’s nearly impossible trying to predict the fate of these three AFC North teams who have been up and down at various times this season, but the Ravens’ ability to take care of business in Miami makes their objective clear.
Win out and they’re in the playoffs.
Another loss and they again find themselves looking around to see how others are faring.
Posted on 02 December 2014 by Luke Jones
Even as the Ravens and their fans continue to seethe over a surprising 34-33 loss to the San Diego Chargers in Week 13, head coach John Harbaugh took a more pragmatic approach when addressing reporters on Monday afternoon.
The loss certainly didn’t help, but defeats suffered by several other AFC teams left six teams with a 7-5 record as we enter the final quarter of the regular season. It won’t be easy for Baltimore as it tries to survive with the NFL’s 31st-ranked pass defense, but a reasonable schedule down the stretch leaves the Ravens in good shape if — and that’s a big if — they handle their own business.
“We wake up this morning, we look at the standings and we are right in the thick of it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going to go down to the wire. And we have a huge game down in Miami this week, and it’ll be a lot on the line. They’ll be ready, and they’re good. We’ll have a great opportunity to make a move.”
There’s no understating how important Sunday’s game against the Dolphins will be as it represents another head-to-head tiebreaker scenario after the Ravens dropped one to San Diego this past week. A win pushes Baltimore to 8-5 and knocks Miami down a peg in the standings while a defeat all but guarantees the need to win out and to hope for assistance from other teams in the playoff race.
The Ravens still hold out hope for a chance to win the AFC North, but Cincinnati currently leads by 1 1/2 games over the other three teams in the division. With the Bengals playing the Steelers twice and the Browns once in the final month, the division race is far from over, but Cincinnati has firm control of its path as we enter Week 14.
Below is a look at the current wild-card field — with numbers indicating each team’s current place in the conference — as we determine who the contenders and the pretenders are:
5. SAN DIEGO (8-4) – CONTENDER
Conference record: 6-3
Remaining schedule: New England, Denver, at San Francisco, at Kansas City
Skinny: How big was Sunday’s win in Baltimore for Mike McCoy’s team? All you have to do is take a look at the Chargers’ remaining schedule and realize you wouldn’t have liked their chances at all had they fallen to 7-5. Instead, they own a one-game lead over the 7-5 teams in the AFC and remain in excellent shape if they can go 2-2 in their final four. A year ago at this time, the Chargers were 5-7 and looked all but dead before running the table — including wins over Denver and Kansas City — and receiving lots of help to sneak into the postseason. They’ll need another good finish, but they have some margin for error this year.
6. MIAMI (7-5) – CONTENDER
Conference record: 6-3
Remaining schedule: Baltimore, at New England, Minnesota, New York Jets
Skinny: It wasn’t pretty, but the Dolphins’ Monday night win over the Jets kept them in prime position to secure a playoff spot with a strong finish in the final month. A Week 15 trip to Foxborough won’t be easy, but their final two home games are very winnable against two teams with a combined seven wins. Anything can happen considering the Ravens and the Dolphins both lost their final two games in 2013, but it certainly looks like Sunday’s game in Miami could go a long way in determining who secures a wild-card spot in the AFC playoff race.
7. KANSAS CITY (7-5) – PRETENDER
Conference record: 5-4
Remaining schedule: at Arizona, Oakland, at Pittsburgh, San Diego
Skinny: The Chiefs were feeling really good about themselves a few weeks ago, but consecutive losses to woeful Oakland and powerful Denver have brought them back to the rest of the pack. Kansas City can’t throw the ball and the run defense has been gashed in recent weeks, which doesn’t make for a good combination entering the season’s final month. With three games remaining on the schedule against teams with winning records — two of them on the road — it’s hard to envision the Chiefs playing well enough down the stretch to secure one of the two wild-card spots.
8. BUFFALO (7-5) – PRETENDER
Conference record: 4-5
Remaining schedule: at Denver, Green Bay, at Oakland, at New England
Skinny: The Bills continue to hang tough in the AFC playoff race after a nice win over the Browns on Sunday. However, remaining games against the Broncos, the Packers, and the Patriots should end any serious discussion about Buffalo qualifying for the postseason. With their other game being a cross-country trip to Oakland, the Bills might be fortunate just to win one more game in the final month of the regular season. It’d be interesting to see what the Bills could do with a real quarterback even if veteran Kyle Orton has done a respectable job since taking over for E.J. Manuel. Injuries at running back haven’t helped, either.
9. BALTIMORE (7-5) – CONTENDER
Conference record: 3-5
Remaining schedule: at Miami, Jacksonville, at Houston, Cleveland
Skinny: Sunday’s loss to San Diego was brutal as it gives the Ravens little wiggle room the rest of the way as they really need to beat the Dolphins on the road. The remaining schedule is reasonable, but how do you trust a secondary that continues to be toasted by any opposing passing games with a pulse? Even a road trip against the Texans is concerning with talented receivers Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins waiting. A lousy 3-5 conference mark doesn’t help matters for the Ravens, but we’ll see what Harbaugh’s team is made of in the next three weeks. The running game and the offense will need to come up huge.
10. PITTSBURGH (7-5) – CONTENDER
Conference record: 6-3
Remaining schedule: at Cincinnati, at Atlanta, Kansas City, Cincinnati
Skinny: The Steelers continue to be one of the most bipolar teams in the NFL as they stubbed their toe Sunday against New Orleans, who was coming off three straight losses. When at their best, the Steelers have one of the most balanced offenses in the league, but the defense doesn’t scare anyone and could easily be exploited down the stretch. The biggest factors working in the Steelers’ favor are a 6-3 conference record and two games with the Bengals, which could catapult them into the AFC North lead. Given how unpredictable they’ve been, the Steelers could win out or lose out and no one should be surprised with either outcome.
11. CLEVELAND (7-5) – PRETENDER
Conference record: 4-5
Remaining schedule: Indianapolis, Cincinnati, at Carolina, at Baltimore
Skinny: Quarterback Brian Hoyer has really struggled in recent weeks, but a change at quarterback isn’t exactly what you’re looking for while in the playoff hunt and that’s exactly where the Browns find themselves. Maybe rookie Johnny Manziel is the spark to light the fire for Cleveland down the stretch, but nothing else about the Browns’ final month of the schedule makes you think they’re going to do enough to sneak into the playoffs. They’ll need to beat either the Colts or the Bengals at home to give themselves any decent chance at all in the final two weeks.
12. HOUSTON (6-6) – PRETENDER
Conference record: 5-3
Remaining schedule: at Jacksonville, at Indianapolis, Baltimore, Jacksonville
Skinny: Why even include the Texans on the list considering they have the worst record of the bunch? Two of four remaining games coming against Jacksonville certainly helps, and a home game against the Ravens looks more and more reasonable given Baltimore’s pass defense woes. Of course, Houston isn’t a real contender, but no one thought the Chargers were at this time last year, either. If you’re looking for that deep sleeper to finish strong — three out of four wouldn’t be out of the question — and take advantage of a slew of other teams being mediocre down the stretch, Houston is your team. A good conference record also helps.
Posted on 31 July 2014 by WNST Staff
Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV). The Super Bowl odds are from the day after the Super Bowl, the day after the draft, and today before the first set of games before the pre-season.
Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same…the colors are from one date to the next)
Odds on 2/3/14 Odds on 5/12/14 Current Odds Notes
San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots 14/1 15/2
Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears 25/1 20/1
New Orleans Saints 18/1 20/1 14/1
Philadelphia Eagles 25/1 22/1
Detroit Lions 33/1 50/1
Atlanta Falcons 25/1 40/1
New York Giants
San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs
St. Louis Rams 40/1 50/1
Washington Redskins 40/1 50/1 50/1
New York Jets 50/1 66/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 50/1 50/1
Buffalo Bills 75/1 75/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 100/1 100/1
Odds to win the 2015 AFC Conference
Denver Broncos 9/4
New England Patriots 3/1
Indianapolis Colts 6/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 12/1
Cincinnati Bengals 16/1
Baltimore Ravens 18/1
San Diego Chargers 18/1
Kansas City Chiefs 22/1
Houston Texans 28/1
New York Jets 28/1
Cleveland Browns 33/1
Buffalo Bills 40/1
Tennessee Titans 40/1
Oakland Raiders 50/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 100/1
Odds to win the 2015 NFC Conference
Seattle Seahawks 17/4
San Francisco 49ers 9/2
Green Bay Packers 6/1
Chicago Bears 15/2
New Orleans Saints 15/2
Philadelphia Eagles 14/1
Detroit Lions 18/1
Arizona Cardinals 22/1
Atlanta Falcons 22/1
Carolina Panthers 22/1
New York Giants 25/1
St. Louis Rams 25/1
Washington Redskins 25/1
Dallas Cowboys 28/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33/1
Minnesota Vikings 40/1
Odds to Win the 2014 NFC East (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
Philadelphia Eagles 3/2
New York Giants 11/4
Washington Redskins 4/1
Dallas Cowboys 13/4
Odds to Win the 2014 NFC North (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
Green Bay Packers 4/5
Chicago Bears 11/4
Detroit Lions 17/4
Minnesota Vikings 12/1
Odds to Win the 2014 NFC South (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
New Orleans Saints 7/5
Atlanta Falcons 11/4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5/1
Odds to Win the 2014 NFC West (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
Seattle Seahawks 11/10
San Francisco 49ers 7/5
Arizona Cardinals 7/1
St. Louis Rams 9/1
Odds to Win the 2014 AFC East (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
New England Patriots 1/2
New York Jets 15/2
Buffalo Bills 15/2
Odds to Win the 2014 AFC North (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
Pittsburgh Steelers 2/1
Cincinnati Bengals 2/1
Baltimore Ravens 5/2
Cleveland Browns 5/1
Odds to Win the 2014 AFC South (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
Indianapolis Colts 5/6
Houston Texans 9/4
Tennessee Titans 4/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 20/1
Odds to Win the 2014 AFC West (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)
Odds on 5/28/14 Current Odds
Denver Broncos 4/11
San Diego Chargers 11/2
Kansas City Chiefs 5/1
Oakland Raiders 18/1
Comments Off on Bovada makes Ravens third choice to win AFC North
Posted on 11 July 2014 by Nick Dorsey
The longtime Texan star is entering the 12th season of his career and Andre Johnson wants out of Houston. Johnson is 33 years old and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting just a bit brighter. After going through a 2-14 season while hauling in passes from Case Keenum on a consistent basis, Johnson deserves an opportunity to be dealt to a contender.
Houston is not far out from contending for the AFC South division title and a shot back into the AFC playoff race, but they are missing the most crucial piece of a franchise. Johnson was patient enough to see if general manager Rick Smith would add a potential franchise quarterback through the draft, but Smith waited around to the fourth round to draft former Pitt QB Tom Savage.
With a quarterback battle ahead in training camp featuring Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage, Johnson has a right to be displeased with his situation. A player that has accounted for 221 receptions and 3,005 receiving yards the past two seasons deserves better than the weak QB depth he is presented with at this point in his career.
There are four teams rumored to be interested in the former Hurricane standouts services according to sources around the league. Two of the rumored teams standout as the perfect fit for the six-time pro-bowler.
After an off-season that featured an arms race between two AFC powerhouses, New England might not be done yet making big moves. Everyone saw the struggles Tom Brady had to endure last year with inconsistency at the wide receiver position. New England would be the number one ideal fit for Johnson at this time.
Tom Brady is desperate for a number one receiver and getting a dependable target like Johnson would certainly tickle his fancy. With the uncertainty of Amendola and Gronk’s health, bringing in Johnson would ease Brady’s comfort since Johnson hasn’t missed a game during the last two seasons.
This transaction is a possibility with the familiarity between new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and Bill Belichick. The Patriots front office has pulled off trades for aging wide outs before such as Randy Moss and Chad Johnson, so this situation is not unrealistic.
There were all kinds of rumors during the off-season about O’Briens interest in acquiring Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. With New England selecting Jimmy Garoppolo early in the 2014 NFL draft, Mallett is an asset that could be dealt. The Texans need another potential starting quarterback to at least compete in training camp and O’Brien has coached the former Razorback.
With the potential interest in Mallett, the Patriots front office could make this trade a possibility. New England would most likely have to give up a draft pick or two to go along with Mallett to get Johnson in a Pats uniform. This trade would certainly be worth the price because it would make New England the front-runner to represent the AFC in next year’s Super Bowl.
The other destination that could be a reality is the Carolina Panthers. After losing Steve Smith and other parts of the wide receiver corps, Carolina is lacking a true number one target.
The Panthers selected former Seminole Kelvin Benjamin in the first round, but that is not enough for Cam Newton. In a division that features the Saints with the Falcons and Bucs back on the rise, Carolina needs to make this move.
Getting a reliable target like Johnson as Newton’s go-to wide out would keep Carolina in contention for the NFC South title. Adding Johnson to the mix to go along with Benjamin and Olsen would make for a good three-headed receiving corps for Newton to work with.
Benjamin is entering his rookie season and will have to adjust to the speed of the next level. With Johnson entering the mix, it would allow for Benjamin to excel in the red zone while learning to stretch the rest of the field. It would than be up to Johnson and Olsen to work the rest of the field.
NBA Free Agency Dominoes
The NBA free agency period is unlike any other professional sports free agency. The NHL and NFL free agent markets open and teams rush right away to sign the top tier prospects. The NBA period is just a waiting game to see where the first star chooses to go and then the dominoes fall at a fast rate.
The first domino is LeBron James and his decision has the biggest impact on the league. Everyone is awaiting the “Decision 2.0” on whether he goes back home to Cleveland or South Beach because it determines where the rest of the stars of the free agent market go.
Every fan of the sport is frustrated in playing this waiting game, but is there anyone who can be more disturbed than Chris Bosh? The former member of the Heat’s big three has a max deal offer from the Houston Rockets on the table. Bosh is waiting on LeBron because if the King heads back down south, he will follow.
Bosh is playing this waiting game with LeBron, but he should take the max deal offer and become a Houston Rocket. Although the Rockets are in the more difficult Western Conference, the Rockets would have a much better shot at winning than the Heat.
With Bosh entering the mix with James Harden and Dwight Howard, there would be a new big three in the NBA. Harden is a versatile player who can get the rest of his teammates involved regularly or take over a game himself. Howard would make for a dominant presence inside and Bosh would compliment that style the best.
Chris Bosh during his days with the Heat tended to favor shooting around the perimeter. With Howard running the show inside, it would allow for Bosh to do what he feels most comfortable doing at this point in his career.
The Rockets need to react fast with Chandler Parsons signing an offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks. If LeBron does not make a decision within the next few days, Houston will have to essentially make a salary cap decision to either match the Mavericks offer or hope that Bosh comes to Texas.
The Kings decision does more than just change up destinations for the free agent pool, it changes the landscape of the league. When the Akron native elected to go to south beach, the league went into a power team format. Franchises were signing several stars to one team in attempt to grab the Larry O’Brien trophy.
If the King elects to go back to Cleveland, the short era of superstar teams comes to an end. The Super team era showed its success during the four-season run as the Heat won two out of four championships. The other two losses were to teams that weren’t considered lineups with one or two superstars, but teams that played well together with several different complimentary pieces.
With the success that the Spurs have had in the past few years showing how they all work and play together as one unit, the landscape of the league could be swinging back to that style. When LeBron makes his decision final, that will be something to watch out for as the rest of the players find their homes.
Comments Off on Dorsey’s Dugout – Andre Johnson’s Best Destination and Domino Effect of NBA Free Agency
Posted on 29 December 2013 by WNST Staff
With the end of the NFL regular season Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens’ list of 2013 opponents was finalized. The Ravens were already slated to play both the AFC South and NFC South as well as their regular AFC North schedule. Additionally they will face the two other third place teams in the AFC after finishing third in their division.
HOME OPPONENTS: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers.
AWAY OPPONENTS: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dates and times will be announced when the full NFL schedule is released in the spring.
Comments Off on Ravens 2014 opponents finalized
Posted on 23 December 2013 by Luke Jones
As a result of their lopsided 41-7 defeat to the New England Patriots on Sunday, the Ravens enter Week 17 no longer in control of their path to a playoff spot.
A win over Minnesota on Sunday gave the Bengals the AFC North championship, ending Baltimore’s two-year reign at the top of the division and leaving the final wild-card berth as the only possibility for the Ravens going into the final week of the regular season. Cincinnati is unlikely to rest its starters in Week 17 as Marvin Lewis’ team still eyes the possibility of the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and a New England loss to Buffalo.
Here are the ways the Ravens can clinch the No. 6 seed:
A win over Cincinnati AND a loss by Miami or San Diego
Skinny: The Ravens own individual tiebreakers against both the Dolphins (head-to-head win) and the Chargers (conference record), but Miami would win the tiebreaker if all three teams were to finish 9-7 due to a superior conference record. The Dolphins host the New York Jets while the Chargers play Kansas City in San Diego next Sunday.
Losses by Miami, San Diego, and Pittsburgh
Skinny: Baltimore can lose Sunday and still back into the postseason if the Dolphins, Chargers, and Steelers all lose. Under that scenario, there would be a four-way tie that included the Jets, who would eliminate Miami because of a better division record and allow the Ravens to win a three-way tiebreaker with a better conference record than both New York and San Diego. If Baltimore, Miami, and San Diego were all to lose and Pittsburgh would defeat Cleveland, the Steelers would steal the No. 6 wild-card spot after eliminating the Ravens because of a superior division record.
Comments Off on Ravens lose control of playoff path entering Week 17