Posted on 29 December 2013 by WNSTV
Posted on 29 December 2013 by WNSTV
Posted on 29 December 2013 by WNSTV
Posted on 29 December 2013 by Luke Jones
The Ravens are looking the end of their season squarely in the face unless they can triumph against the Bengals in Cincinnati and receive some help on Sunday afternoon.
Needing a win and a loss by either Miami or San Diego to clinch their sixth straight trip to the postseason under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens must become the first team to beat the Bengals at home this year as Cincinnati has scored more than 40 points in each of their last four games at Paul Brown Stadium. Of course, the Ravens have struggled mightily away from Baltimore this year, compiling a poor 2-5 record on the road, which largely explains why they find themselves needing a win and help to make the playoffs in Week 17.
Defensive tackle Arthur Jones is out for Sunday’s game after he was not able to pass the NFL’s mandated concussion protocol. The fourth-year lineman suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to New England and missed practice all week.
Jones’ slow recovery has come two years after he suffered a concussion and missed two games in the 2011 season.
Second-year defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson would likely take the lion’s share of Jones’ work with fellow reserves Terrence Cody and Brandon Williams seeing increased roles in the defensive line rotation. Williams is listed as active for the first time since the Ravens played at Chicago on Nov. 17.
As expected, running back Ray Rice (thigh), wide receiver Torrey Smith (thigh), linebacker Elvis Dumervil (ankle), and center Gino Gradkowski (knee) are all active for Sunday’s game despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report.
The Bengals will be without their top two tight ends as rookie Tyler Eifert (neck) and veteran Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) are both sidelined for the regular-season finale. This leaves Cincinnati with only Alex Smith and H-back Orson Charles at the tight end position.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion) is active for Cincinnati after practicing fully on Friday.
Baltimore has yet to earn an AFC North win on the road this season as the Ravens meet Cincinnati for the 36th time in franchise history. They hold the 20-15 edge in the all-time series, but the Bengals are 10-7 against the Ravens at home.
The Ravens will be wearing white jerseys with black pants while Cincinnati sports black jerseys for Week 17.
The referee for Sunday’s game will be Scott Green.
The forecast in Cincinnati calls for temperatures in the mid-40s with a 45 percent chance of rain by the 1 p.m. kickoff before precipitation tapers off later in the afternoon with winds 12 to 13 miles per hour.
Here are Sunday’s inactives:
DT Art Jones
CB Asa Jackson
S Omar Brown
OL Ryan Jensen
WR Deonte Thompson
TE Dallas Clark
LB John Simon
TE Tyler Eifert
CB Terence Newman
DT Devon Still
TE Jermaine Gresham
RB Rex Burkhead
WR Ryan Whalen
OL Tanner Hawkinson
Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio brings live coverage from Paul Brown Stadium.
Posted on 28 December 2013 by Luke Jones
No strangers to entering Week 17 with work to do to make it to the postseason, the Ravens have never entered the final game needing a win and help from other teams under John Harbaugh as they try to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
A win would give Baltimore its sixth straight winning season under Harbaugh, but the Ravens would also need a loss by either Miami or San Diego to extend their season into January and give them a chance to defend their Super Bowl title. Of course, Baltimore’s playoff chances wouldn’t completely vanish with a loss, but losses by Miami, San Diego, and Pittsburgh would be required to land the Ravens in the postseason with an 8-8 record.
Even though the Bengals wrapped up the AFC North championship with a win and Baltimore’s loss to New England last Sunday, the Ravens won the first meeting between these teams earlier this season by forcing three turnovers and taking advantage of 134 yards in penalties committed by Cincinnati. The Bengals have been a different team at home this year as they are 7-0 and have scored more than 40 points in each of their last four contests at Paul Brown Stadium.
It’s time to go on the record as these teams meet to conclude the regular season for the fourth straight year — the last three in Cincinnati — and for the 36th time overall in the last 18 years. The Ravens have won five of the last six against Cincinnati and lead the overall series by a 20-15 margin, but the Bengals are 10-7 against Baltimore playing at home.
Here’s what to expect as the Ravens hope to win and receive help to advance to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season …
1. Torrey Smith eclipses 100 receiving yards for the first time since Oct. 6 to set the single-season franchise record for receiving yards. The third-year wideout looked to be on his way to the Pro Bowl after collecting at least 85 receiving yards in each of his first five games, but he’s hit that mark only once since then as he and quarterback Joe Flacco just haven’t looked to be on the same page. Teams have used plenty of single-high safeties shading him to take away the deep ball, but the Ravens haven’t been able to take advantage on the opposite side. However, the speedy Jacoby Jones has been a bigger factor recently and tight end Dennis Pitta is now in the picture, which will allow Smith to recapture his early-season success with a long catch and his first 100-yard game since Oct. 6 to break Michael Jackson’s team record of 1,201 receiving yards set in 1996.
2. Flacco will show improved mobility, but his left knee will still be an issue as the Bengals bring plenty of inside pressure to collect four sacks. Nothing went well against New England last week, but the sixth-year quarterback must play at a much higher level for the Ravens to have a good chance to beat Cincinnati on the road. Once again wearing a brace this week, Flacco showed better mobility in the second half against New England, but Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is notorious for bringing pressure up the middle, an area where the Baltimore offensive line has struggled mightily all year. Flacco played poorly against Cincinnati earlier in the year — two interceptions and only 3.9 yards per passing attempt — and will fare better than that, but he will be under duress too much against the league’s fifth-ranked defense on Sunday afternoon.
3. Giovani Bernard will run for a touchdown and catch another as a matchup problem against the Ravens defense. Trying to contain Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green is always the top priority when you play the Bengals, but defensive coordinator Dean Pees and his unit must be mindful of the rookie Bernard, who had 22 touches for 97 total yards in Week 10 and is very dangerous in open space. The Ravens have struggled against shifty running backs such as Reggie Bush, Le’Veon Bell, and Matt Forte this season and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will try to find Bernard underneath often with the status of tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert in doubt due to injuries. With rain potentially in the forecast for Sunday, Dalton will use Bernard in a way similar to Flacco finding running back Ray Rice earlier in his career, and the rookie will have a big day.
4. Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs combine for three sacks, but the Baltimore defense is unable to force turnovers like it did when these teams met in early November. This pass-rushing duo has failed to make the same impact down the stretch as in the first half, but Dumervil’s best game of the year came against the Bengals when he collected three sacks lining up primarily against Andre Smith and Suggs will no longer be lining up against nemesis Andrew Whitworth, who has moved inside to left guard due to injuries. The Ravens must harass Dalton as they did in November when they pressured him into throwing three interceptions, but the Bengals haven’t turned it over at home — going plus-eight in turnovers in seven home games — and the third-year quarterback will be smart with the football knowing his team is playing a below-average offense.
5. The Ravens will battle, but a tired group that’s been poor on the road all year will fall 27-19 to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The history of the Harbaugh era tells you the Ravens will figure out some way to win this game against a superior team and receive the necessary help to sneak into the playoffs, but nothing lasts forever and Baltimore’s poor performance last week smelled of fatigue and being overmatched. The Ravens received some good fortune during their four-game winning streak, but the same issues were there with a below-average offense lacking a running game and a defense that plays well overall but doesn’t force turnovers or consistently finish games. They have the pride to compete with the Bengals, but a season that included too much mediocrity, a 4-6 start, and a 2-5 road record entering Sunday ends with the Ravens staying home in January.
Posted on 27 December 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Making final preparations for a critical Week 17 meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens remain unsure if starting defensive tackle Arthur Jones will be available.
After missing practice all week while going through the NFL’s concussion protocol, Jones is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. He sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to New England, but the fourth-year lineman has been present in the locker room this week while waiting for his symptoms to subside.
“He’s going through the protocol, and we’ll know more [Friday] afternoon,” coach John Harbaugh said prior to the final injury report being released. “He’s got another round of [tests] this afternoon.”
Jones missed two games in the 2011 season after suffering a concussion, which might explain his slower recovery from this latest occurrence. Should he not be able to play, second-year lineman DeAngelo Tyson would likely receive the bulk of Jones’ work at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot that lines up on the outside shoulder of the guard in the Ravens’ 3-4 base alignment.
Cornerback Asa Jackson (hamstring) was the only other player absent from Friday’s practice as the second-year defensive back is expected to miss his second straight game. He is listed as doubtful on the final injury report.
Running back Ray Rice (hip), wide receiver Torrey Smith (thigh), linebacker Elvis Dumervil (ankle), and center Gino Gradkowski (knee) were all listed as questionable after each participated in Friday’s practice on a limited basis. However, none are expected to be in any real danger of missing Sunday’s game.
Cincinnati has already ruled out starting cornerback Terence Newman (knee) and reserve defensive lineman Devon Still (back) while listing rookie tight end Tyler Eifert (neck) as doubtful for Sunday’s game. In addition to Eifert, veteran Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) was designated as questionable, leaving the Bengals in a precarious position should neither be able to play.
Starting inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (consussion) was listed as questionable, but the second-year defensive player practiced fully on Friday, a good indication that he will be cleared to play in Sunday’s game.
The referee for Sunday’s game will be Scott Green, who officiated the Ravens’ Nov. 3 loss at Cleveland earlier this year.
Sunday’s forecast in Cincinnati calls for temperatures in the mid-40s with a 50-percent chance of rain showers. Winds will average around 12 miles per hour at Paul Brown Stadium.
Here is the final injury report of the week:
DOUBTFUL: CB Asa Jackson (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), C Gradkowski (knee), DT Arthur Jones (concussion), RB Ray Rice (thigh), WR Torrey Smith (thigh)
PROBABLE: LB Albert McClellan (neck)
OUT: CB Terence Newman (knee), DT Devon Still (back)
DOUBTFUL: TE Tyler Eifert (neck)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring)
PROBABLE: DE Carlos Dunlap (illness), LB James Harrison (concussion), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle), LB Vincent Rey (ankle), TE Alex Smith (concussion), OT Andrew Smith (ankle)
Posted on 27 December 2013 by Luke Jones
Here are this weekend’s picks as The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game and local college games this season.
Luke Jones finished Week 16 with a 9-7 record while Drew Forrester was 8-8 on his picks. Entering Week 17, Jones is 144-95 on the season while Forrester is 137-102. Official standings are based only on the NFL picks.
You can listen to Friday’s “Picks and Comment” segment HERE.
Ravens at Bengals: Cincinnati 26-16 (Drew), Cincinnati 27-19 (Luke)
Jets at Dolphins: Miami 30-13 (Drew), Miami 26-17 (Luke)
Browns at Steelers: Pittsburgh 20-10 (Drew), Pittsburgh 23-14 (Luke)
Panthers at Falcons: Carolina 23-20 (Drew), Carolina 27-23 (Luke)
Texans at Titans: Tennessee 31-10 (Drew), Houston 20-17 (Luke)
Redskins at Giants: New York 24-17 (Drew), New York 23-20 (Luke)
Jaguars at Colts: Jacksonville 20-17 OT (Drew), Indianapolis 24-14 (Luke)
Lions at Vikings: Minnesota 24-20 (Drew), Detroit 31-17 (Luke)
Chiefs at Chargers: San Diego 28-10 (Drew), San Diego 26-17 (Luke)
Packers at Bears: Chicago 33-23 (Drew), Green Bay 30-23 (Luke)
Bills at Patriots: New England 27-10 (Drew), New England 30-13 (Luke)
Buccaneers at Saints: New Orleans 27-20 (Drew), New Orleans 27-14 (Luke)
Broncos at Raiders: Denver 48-28 (Drew), Denver 41-16 (Luke)
49ers at Cardinals: Arizona 24-20 (Drew), San Francisco 23-21 (Luke)
Rams at Seahawks: Seattle 23-9 (Drew), Seattle 26-10 (Luke)
Eagles at Cowboys: Philadelphia 36-24 (Drew), Philadelphia 34-23 (Luke)
Maryland vs. Marshall: Thundering Herd 44-20 (Drew), Thundering Herd 34-27 (Luke)
Navy vs. Middle Tennessee: Midshipmen 30-20 (Drew), Midshipmen 23-17 (Luke)
Posted on 26 December 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens say they’ve turned the page from their embarrassing loss to New England last Sunday, but the truth is staring them right in the face.
In addition to their playoff hopes taking a hit, their pride was significantly wounded by the Patriots, who beat them up for 60 minutes at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens simply aren’t used to losing games of that significance in that manner under head coach John Harbaugh, making you wonder how they’ll respond in traveling to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in a must-win game on Sunday.
This year marks the fourth consecutive time Baltimore will conclude the regular season against the Bengals, who clinched the AFC North title and their third consecutive playoff berth with a win over Minnesota in Week 16. The Ravens will finish their 16-game schedule at Paul Brown Stadium for the third straight year, but the stakes have never been quite like this.
After beating Cincinnati in a 20-17 overtime final in Baltimore earlier this season, the Ravens hope their familiarity and winning mystique will be major assets in trying to top the Bengals while hoping that either Miami or San Diego will fall to give them the No. 6 seed and a sixth consecutive trip to the postseason. However, the Bengals still have eyes on a first-round bye if they can dispose of the Ravens and receive some help from Buffalo against the Patriots.
“We’re used to these guys. They’re a good defense,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “They have been for a few years now. It’s always a good test to play a division opponent, especially in their place. They have a lot to play for; we have a lot to play for. It’s going to be a good game, a good test.”
A good test, indeed, as the Bengals are 7-0 at home on the season and have scored more than 40 points in each of their last four home games. In contrast, Baltimore has scored more than 20 points on the road just twice this season on the way to posting a 2-5 away record.
The Ravens must fight the urge to watch the scoreboard while facing the daunting task of slowing the league’s 10th-ranked offense and moving the ball against the NFL’s fifth-best defense in yards allowed. Given the Bengals’ long history of losing and the Ravens’ great success against them — winning five of the last six meetings — there are reasons to be optimistic that the Ravens will find a way as they often have with their backs against the wall, but it’s still difficult to eliminate the bad taste from last Sunday.
The hard-nosed and winning pedigree that had so many labeling the Ravens as the team no one would want to face in the AFC playoffs just a week ago now appears to be in grave doubt. Losing their grip on a direct path to the postseason, the Ravens can only focus on beating the Bengals on the road like they did two years ago to clinch a division title and first-round bye.
Nothing else really matters if they can’t handle their own business.
“The guys know the scenarios. They’re not living in a vacuum,” Harbaugh said. “They understand what else has to happen. But our job and our task as one single-minded purpose is to win the next game.”
As much as the Ravens will point to their track record in big games, that history came with more-talented teams than this year’s version. Major offensive deficiencies coupled with a good — but not elite — defense won’t breed confidence in being able to defeat one of the AFC’s best teams who has been unbeatable at home this season.
Faced with the prospects of needing a win in the final week of the season for the first time since 2009 to make the playoffs — though that team didn’t need other help that season — the Ravens hope their long-term history repeats itself and their swagger against the Bengals in a critical game will resurface. But the sting of last Sunday is difficult to shake, no matter what the Ravens tell you.
“We take pride in being battle-tested,” running back Ray Rice said. “Last week was last week. If I know this group that’s going to show up Sunday, the group is going to fight until the last whistle until it’s all over. Hopefully, it’s good enough to take care of business.”
Rice out to prove himself next year
The Ravens have rushed for 90 or more yards in three straight games for the first time all season, but their running game won’t avoid a few dubious franchise records for ineptitude.
In addition to their current 3.1 yards per carry average being on pace to shatter the franchise-worst 3.4 mark set in 2006, the Ravens would need to run for 308 yards against the Bengals just to equal the franchise-low 1,589 rushing yards gained in 1997. Running behind an ineffective offensive line all season, three-time Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice has gained 645 yards on the ground, his lowest total since his rookie year when he was part of a three-headed attack that included Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee.
A Week 2 hip injury has also hobbled Rice for much of the season, robbing him of his once-dangerous elusiveness. However, the sixth-year back has taken consolation in only missing one game this season despite his poor production.
“From a personal standpoint, [it's] understanding that I played through a lot this year,” Rice said. “I’m just going to get back out there and battle and not worry about what I’ve got to do statistically week-in and week-out. Statistically, I put all of that stuff aside, but personally, I’m glad I was able to overcome some things.”
Rice has heard the doubts and questions about whether he’s reached the downside of his career as he’s averaging 3.1 yards per carry and only 5.6 yards per reception — both career lows — but he’s already vowed to return in 2014 to erase those thoughts.
Averaging just under 4.1 yards per carry over the last three weeks, Rice is now battling a mild quadriceps injury he says is unrelated to the hip flexor strain suffered in Week 2.
“Everything has been great, even for some of the people who say that you lost a step,” said Rice, who reiterated he’s still focused on the remainder of this season. “It’s different when you have an injury that controls things that you’re normally good at doing. I had to battle that this year. I’ll make sure I come back in the best shape, bigger, faster, stronger — whatever you want to call it — to prove myself again that I can still be a premier running back in the NFL.”
The Bengals are allowing 99.8 yards per game on the ground and rank sixth in the NFL in rush defense.
Pees complimentary of Bengals personnel
Posted on 26 December 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Returning to the practice field after a day off to celebrate Christmas, the Ravens were once again without one of their key defensive linemen as Arthur Jones was absent during Thursday’s workout.
The defensive tackle sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s 41-7 loss to New England. It’s worth noting that Jones missed two games in the 2011 season because of a concussion as he goes through the league’s mandated protocol this week.
Jones has arguably been Baltimore’s best defensive lineman this year as he’s collected four sacks and 52 tackles in 14 games. He would likely be replaced by second-year lineman DeAngelo Tyson in the starting lineup should he not be cleared in time for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cornerback Asa Jackson (hamstring) was the only other player absent during the portion of practice open to media on Thursday.
Despite being listed as a non-participant on Wednesday’s estimated injury report, center Gino Gradkowski (knee) was present and working on a limited basis a day later. Running back Ray Rice (thigh), wide receiver Torrey Smith (hamstring), and linebackers Elvis Dumervil (ankle) and Albert McClellan (neck) were all practicing after being listed as limited on Wednesday’s estimated report.
Rice confirmed on Thursday that his quadriceps issue is not related to the early-season hip injury that’s plagued him for most of the season. He was not on the field Tuesday when the Ravens practiced prior to being off for the holiday.
“Tuesday was a great rest day [for] recovery,” Rice said. “Coach [John Harbaugh] is doing his best to try to take care of us. For me, having a long year, I needed the rest. It definitely felt good getting back out there today with the guys and getting up to speed. I didn’t miss much in terms of being in meetings and everything, but it’s nothing like getting a live rep out there.”
McClellan was upgraded to full participation after missing last Sunday’s game due to a neck injury.
Quarterback Joe Flacco (left knee) was present and working after not being included on the injury report. However, he will once again wear a knee brace.
For the Bengals, four starters were missing from Thursday’s practice as tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, linebacker Vontaze Burfict, and cornerback Terence Newman were all sidelined.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Asa Jackson (thigh), DT Arthur Jones (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), C Gino Gradkowski (knee), RB Ray Rice (thigh), WR Torrey Smith (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Albert McClellan (neck),
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), TE Tyler Eifert (neck), TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring), CB Terence Newman (knee), DT Devon Still (back)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle), LB Vincent Rey (ankle), TE Alex Smith (concussion), OT Andre Smith (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB James Harrison (concussion)
Posted on 25 December 2013 by Luke Jones
After rearranging their practice schedule to give players the day off on Christmas, the Ravens released an estimated injury report for Wednesday with a Week 17 meeting against the Cincinnati Bengals looming.
Defensive tackle Arthur Jones (concussion), center Gino Gradkowski (knee), and cornerback Asa Jackson (hamstring) were listed as non-participants. Jones wasn’t present for the viewing portion of Tuesday’s practice as he must go through the NFL’s concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s loss to New England in the fourth quarter.
Running back Ray Rice (thigh), wide receiver Torrey Smith (hamstring), and linebackers Elvis Dumervil (ankle) and Albert McClellan (neck) were estimated to be limited on Wednesday. Neither Rice nor Smith practiced on Tuesday, and McClellan missed his first game of the season this past Sunday due to a neck injury sustained against Detroit in Week 15.
Though it could have been a simple oversight, the Ravens did not list quarterback Joe Flacco on Wednesday’s report. He confirmed Tuesday that he would once again wear a brace to protect his left knee after he suffered a mild sprain of his medial collateral ligament on Dec. 16.
Meanwhile, the Bengals listed linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion), tight end Tyler Eifert (neck), cornerback Terence Newman (knee), and defensive tackle Devon Still (back) as non-participants on Wednesday.
The Ravens will return to work on Thursday with their three coordinators scheduled to talk at the podium with reporters.
Here is Wednesday’s estimated injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: C Gino Gradkowski (knee), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), DT Arthur Jones (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), LB Albert McClellan (neck), RB Ray Rice (thigh), WR Torrey Smith (thigh)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), TE Tyler Eifert (neck), CB Terence Newman (knee), TE Alex Smith (concussion), DT Devon Still (back)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle), LB Vincent Rey (ankle), OT Andre Smith (ankle)