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Join us on the purple road in Green Bay, Nashville, London and Minnesota with Ravens this fall

Posted on 24 April 2017 by WNST Trips

We started doing these WNST Roadtrips back in October 1996 with a very appropriate first roadie to Indianapolis to see the Colts and Ravens. Now in our 22nd year of taking more than 18,000 Baltimore sports fans on our trips, THIS is the best year we can remember to see the Baltimore Ravens play on the road. The first purple road trip abroad is to London and Wembley Stadium in September. Nashville has been the most popular destination for Ravens fans over two decades. And we only get one chance every eight years to see Lambeau Field and to experience the new stadium in Minnesota.

Together, we’ve created many happy, purple memories that surely will last a lifetime.

How many of you were part of the more than 10,000 Ravens fans that marched to the Superdome in New Orleans as the Ravens went on to grab their second Super Bowl win?

Maybe you were part our playoff trip to to Tennessee as the Ravens took down the Titans en route to the AFC Championship game in 2009.

At WNST.net, we are thrilled to announce the details of ALL of our 2017 Purple Road Trips. This is shaping up to be a very fun and unique road trip season, and we can’t wait to take you on the road with us to create new purple memories.

SPEAKING OF WNST PURPLE ROAD TRIP MEMORIES: If you have ever taken part in one of our road trips – to see the Ravens, Orioles, Caps or Terps on the road– we want to show our appreciation for being on the “early interest” list. Until MAY 3RD, we’re offering you $100 PER PERSON off on any trip purchased. Example: Group of 4 interested in traveling to Nashville? You’ll get $400 off simply for being a loyal WNST customer, fan and friend. YOU are the reason that we’re able to do this 25 years into my sports radio and media journey, and we genuinely appreciate your loyalty! This is important to us and we know how important your vacation and football experience will be this autumn. We want you to come with us! We know you have choices! We’re not only going to have the best price – we’re going to help make your experience better every step of the way!

Our 2017 road trip schedule includes:

A historic trip to London, England to see the Ravens battle with the Jaguars in the first overseas game in the 21 year history of the franchise.

The always fun trip down south to Nashville, Tennessee as the Ravens take on the Titans.

A trip to Minnesota to check out the Vikings’ brand new stadium as well as the Mall of America.

A jaunt to the frozen tundra of Green Bay to see the Ravens take on the Packers at the legendary Lambeau Field.


Please email us: nasty@wnst.net or peter@wnst.net and we’ll be glad to answer any questions.

LONDON (Sept. 19-25)

Many of you have already signed up for our London trip, but we still have spots available for those of you who are still finalizing your Ravens road trip plans for the upcoming season.  If you are considering traveling to London but have not decided on a specific trip, please read all of our details and compare our pricing with other trips being offered via other outlets. We pride ourselves on providing the most affordable travel options to our fans, and our London trip is specially priced so that everyone has the opportunity to join us.

Our London trip is based on single and double hotel occupancy. Most London rooms aren’t big enough or have beds to accommodate four in a room. We’ll be spending five total nights in London, and you’ll have two options to choose from.

Trip A: Depart Washington Dulles on Tuesday, September 19th at 6:40PM via Delta Airlines, arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport at 7:05AM on Wednesday, September 20th. (London is 5 hours ahead of the United States’ eastern time zone, so this is actually a 7 hour, 25 minute flight).

For the return trip, we’ll be departing London’s Heathrow Airport at 11:15AM on Monday, September 25th, and returning to Dulles Airport at 2:35PM the same day. (This is actually an 8 hour, 20 minute flight given the 5-hour time difference).

Trip B: Depart Washington Dulles on Wednesday, September 20th at 6:40PM via Delta Airlines, arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport at 7:05AM on Tuesday, September 21st. (London is 5 hours ahead of the United States’ eastern time zone, so this is actually a 7 hour, 25 minute flight).

For the return trip, we’ll be departing London’s Heathrow Airport at 11:15AM on Tuesday, September 26th, and returning to Dulles Airport at 2:35PM the same day. (This is actually an 8 hour, 20 minute flight given the 5-hour time difference).

All trips include:

  • Roundtrip air from Dulles to Heathrow
  • A 5-night stay at the Corus Hotel Hyde Park 
  • One entry per person on the London Eye as well as our WNST London Thames River Cruise. (https://www.londoneye.com/)
  • Transportation care for “The Tube” in London (you’ll love this!)
  • Admission to WNST Saturday purple pub pep rally
  • Admission to WNST Sunday purple pre-game tailgate event
  • Upper deck game ticket for Sunday Ravens-Jaguars game

We are also planning some other surprises and memories ­– just like we did in Tampa in 2001 at Whiskey Joe’s and in New Orleans with our 2:52 march to the Superdome!

SINGLE (one in room): $2600 per person via check ($50 more if paying via PayPal with a credit card)

DOUBLE (two in room): $2350 per person via check ($50 more if paying via PayPal with a credit card)

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?

How many in your room?

If you have a larger group, please contact Nestor Aparicio (nasty@wnst.net) or Peter DiLutis (peter@wnst.net) directly with your needs and we will give you personal service.

NASHVILLE (Nov. 3-6)

We’ve had many great road trips to Nashville and we expect more Country fun and Southern hospitality this time around as the Ravens take on Marcus Mariota and the Titans in Tennessee on Sunday, November 5th.

We’ll be offering two pricing options – a premium downtown hotel and a comfortable hotel in a nice suburb for a more modest budget. Some might opt to rent a car in Nashville but it is my strong recommendation to use Uber and Lyft in the Music City. I have visited Nashville for 25 years and ride sharing is hugely popular and very easy and affordable in Nashville. Both options will be departing BWI midday on Friday, November 3rd, arriving in Nashville for a 3 night stay (Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night), departing Nashville and returning home on Monday, November 6th.

All trips include:

  • A 3-night stay at one of two hotels – downtown and less than 10 miles from downtown
  • Roundtrip travel on a major US airline
  • Admission to WNST Saturday night purple pub pep rally
  • Upper deck game ticket to Sunday’s Ravens-Titans game


SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,600 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,250 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,100 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,050 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?



SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,250 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,100 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,000 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $925 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?



MINNESOTA (Oct. 20-22)

Minnesota is one of the places that the Baltimore Ravens only get to visit once every eight years. This is a special year with the Super Bowl being played there next Feburary. It’s also the first purple trip to the newest facility in the NFL and the cool, glass U.S. Bank Stadium that opened last year. We are planning a special day at the Mall of America, where I visited and got to know some folks on my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit Tour in 2015. We’re staying downtown and will have a great event on Saturday in the Twin Cities for purple fans – and not just the ones who loved Prince!

All trips include…

  • 2-night stay at a 4 star Minneapolis downtown hotel
  • Roundtrip airfare on a major US airline
  • Admission to WNST Saturday purple pub pep rally
  • Tour of Mall of America in Bloomington
  • Upper deck game ticket to Sunday’s Ravens-Vikings game

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,125 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $925 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $875 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $850 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?

GREEN BAY (Nov. 17-20)

Our Ravens fans have only had three chances to see the purple birds play at legendary Lambeau Field as we only get this epic trip to Green Bay only once every eight years. We had a great time in 2009, the last time we ventured into the frozen tundra, and we’ve been looking forward to going back ever since the remodeling of the facade and all of the upgrades in the area around the stadium. This is a bucket list trip for football fans across the country, and we’re fortunate to be able to offer a pair of affordable options for you to cross this one off the list and do it comfortably with our group.

This will be more of a “group” trip because of Green Bay’s tiny layout.

For flights, we’re offering two options: a flight directly into Green Bay with an airport transfer (there are no nonstop flights from Baltimore) OR a nonstop flight to Milwaukee with a luxury motorcoach making the less-than two hour drive north in Wisconsin. Both trips leave BWI on Friday morning and return on Monday afternoon.

Our two hotels are adjacent on the highway in Manitowoc, just outside of Green Bay. These are the hotels we’ve stayed in for all three of our trips to Lambeau Field in 1998, 2001 and 2009. We will have buses to transport our travelers to the casino, downtown Green Bay and to the Packers Hall of Fame. Leave the driving to us and just have some fun and relax with fellow football fans on this unique trip.

We’ve done Green Bay several times and are happy to show you a great time!

All trips include:

  • Roundtrip airfare on a major US airline from BWI to Green Bay or Milwaukee
  • 3-night stay at Holiday Inn or Quality Inn of Manitowoc
  • Motorcoach transportation in Green Bay and Manitowoc for our events
  • Admission to WNST Saturday night purple pub pep rally
  • Admission to WNST Sunday pre-game purple tailgate
  • Upper deck game ticket to Sunday’s Ravens-Packers game

WE HAVE FOUR OPTIONS WITH DIFFERENT PRICING. PLEASE SEND US AN EMAIL (nasty@wnst.net or peter@wnst.net) if you need any clarification.

This decision is essentially whether you want to fly into Green Bay or Milwaukee (with bus ride) and which hotel you select in the same parking lot.


GREEN BAY (Holiday Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,675 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,450 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,375 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,350 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?


GREEN BAY (Quality Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,525 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,375 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,325 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,300 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?


MILWAUKEE (Holiday Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,500 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,275 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,200 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,175 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?


MILWAUKEE (Quality Inn Manitowoc)

SINGLE (1 in a room): $1,350 per person

DOUBLE (2 in a room): $1,200 per person

TRIPLE (3 in a room): $1,150 per person

QUAD (4 in a room): $1,125 per person

  • Your $100 per person discount from this price will be reflected upon checkout!

How many in your room?

If you have any questions or special needs, please email us: nasty@wnst.net or peter@wnst.net. We’re happy to help you so you can join us in the fall.

Thanks for all of the support over the years!

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Join us in London for Fall 2017 Purple Roadtrip to see Ravens play Jaguars

Posted on 16 December 2016 by WNST Trips

We are excited to announce our 2017 Purple Roadtrips to London with the Baltimore Ravens next fall. Thank you for your continued interest in traveling abroad with WNST!

Please read all of the details of our European adventure carefully.

Because of the two possibilities for the dates of the Ravens-Jaguars game – Sunday, Sept. 24 OR Sunday, Oct. 1 – we want you to be fully aware of your itinerary so you can buy your trip right now with the full confidence and ease of the more than 12,000 Baltimore sports fans we’ve taken all over the continent since 1996.

We can’t tell you how excited we are to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at these introductory rates. Please be aware that we have a VERY limited inventory due to early airline space and the flexibility of our itinerary based on when the Ravens play in London.


We are also offering a $100 discount for all who emailed us this week and all orders placed BEFORE midnight on Christmas night – December, 25, 2016. We expect this trip to sell out very quickly with the additional holiday discount!

As you’ll see when comparing our trip to the marketplace, we will be offering the most affordable trip available so if you are definitely planning on traveling with us to London, we recommend booking it ASAP to secure these great rates. Given the demand and interest I’ve seen, we’d be shocked if these last past Christmas weekend.

WNST is offering two travel options – both consisting of five (5) nights in London.

Our introductory rates for the initial are based on hotel occupancy.

Single Occupancy: $2400 ($50 more pp using PayPal)

Double Occupancy: $2100 ($50 more pp using PayPal)

Triple Occupancy: $2000 ($50 more pp using PayPal)

Quad Occupancy: $1950 ($50 more pp using PayPal)


All trips include:

  • NonStop overnight travel from Dulles Airport to London Heathrow on a major international airline with a mid-day return after the game
  • A 5-night stay at a 4-star London hotel close to the subway
  • One entry per person on the London Eye as well as our WNST London Thames River Cruise. (https://www.londoneye.com/)
  • Admission to WNST Saturday purple pub pep rally
  • Admission to WNST Sunday purple pre-game tailgate event
  • Upper deck game ticket for Sunday Ravens-Jaguars game

We are also planning some other surprises and memories ­– just like we did in Tampa in 2001 at Whiskey Joe’s and in New Orleans with our 2:52 march to the Superdome!

IMPORTANT: The above rates (minus $100 holiday early bird discount) are valid if you are able to pay via check. As an additional incentive this week, anyone who pays via check will also receive a free autographed copy of Purple Reign 2, our 6-CD set of “WNST Purple Memories” and a free appetizer coupon from Ruth’s Chris Steak House. You will also receive a $50 voucher good for any future WNST purple football road trip. (*This is another $100 value for buying the trip during the holiday week using a check!!!)


We are offering two identical options for folks planning to join us in London:

TRIP A (Tuesday-Monday)

Leaves from Dulles to London Heathrow on Tuesday evening with Wednesday morning arrival and returns from London Heathrow to Dulles on Monday mid-afternoon.

The two possible itineraries for flights are:

Tuesday, Sept. 19 returning Monday, Sept. 25


Tuesday, Sept. 26 returning Monday, Oct. 2


TRIP B (Wednesday-Tuesday)

Leaves from Dulles to London Heathrow on Wednesday evening with Thursday morning arrival and returns from London Heathrow to Dulles on Tuesday mid-afternoon.

The two possible itineraries for flights are:

Wednesday, Sept. 20 returning Tuesday, Sept. 26


Wednesday, Sept. 27 returning Tuesday, Oct. 3


Some notes:

We expect to finalize our four-star hotel accommodation before Christmas. It will be near a subway because this will almost certainly be your primary means of transportation in London. (For those who haven’t made the trip to the U.K., think in similar terms to New York. It’s just easier and sensible!)

We are not offering ground transportation in London because we don’t think it’s affordable or sensible given the size of the group – and it’s proven to slow down every step of the journey in the past!

If you’ve never traveled to Europe on an overnight flight, you should expect a little jet lag on the first day so we’ve added the “fifth day” to the trip because we want everyone to have free time to explore before or after the purple festivities. It’s too long of a trip to make for a shorter weekend, especially given the time changes. We think we’ve timed these trips perfectly for those who want to walk Abbey Road, bring golf clubs or see the countryside for a day.

We do not need the names or passport numbers upon purchase. You are simply holding seats on the plane and hotel/ticket space.

These trips are NON-REFUNDABLE but can be transferred until August 1, 2017. You will be able to adjust names up until then!

Please make sure you have a valid passport! You have eight months to get this done! If you are not an American citizen, please indicate that upon purchase so we have all of our information together for the TSA, airport and airline.

Once the game day in London is finalized in mid-April, we’ll reach back to get more information so we can finalize your itinerary, our parties/locations/etc. We expect this to go very smoothly! We love to make these trips memorable ­– as many of you have seen over the past two decades!

Here’s how to buy the trip right now:

If you want to take advantage of the $100 discount (and save the $50 Paypal fees) and get the goody bag with Purple Reign 2, Ruth’s Chris appetizer and $50 WNST Purple Roadtrip future discount, please immediately send your check to:


1550 Hart Road

Towson, MD 21286

Please include:

Single Occupancy (1 person in room): $2300 per person

Double Occupancy (2 people in room): $2000 per person X 2

Triple Occupancy (3 people in room): $1900 per person X 3

Quad Occupancy (4 people in room): $1850 per person X 4

ALSO: Please send us an email with the subject line: “CHECK IS IN THE MAIL” to nasty@wnst.net and some autograph instructions and I’ll get the book personalized, CDs and discount coupons to you this week for Christmas!

If you’re in Harford County, you can also BRING us a check this Tuesday, December 20th when we’re swabbing for the bone marrow registry and There Goes My Hero at Adams Jeep in Aberdeen with Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace. You can also get swabbed!



If you are not able to pay via check and prefer to pay immediately via credit card, we will have to charge an additional $50 per person due to payment processing fees. We are delighted to accommodate you with the click of the mouse below – but please be aware of the additional $50 cost that is reflected on the buttons below.


How many in your room?


How many in your room?


We expect a wide variety of unique questions to come our way. For any questions, please email nasty@wnst.net AND peter@wnst.net and we will respond ASAP. We cannot answer trip-related questions effectively using our social media. We prefer email so we can stay organized during what we expect to be a busy week with this offer.

Thank you again for your interest and we can’t wait to take you all to London to see the Ravens beat the Jaguars!


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Ravens being considered to play in London next season

Posted on 29 November 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens may have an especially long road trip in 2017.

The NFL has informed the organization that it’s being considered for a game in London next season. The Ravens have never played a game outside of the United States, but owner Steve Bisciotti has embraced the possibility of going to London for one of his team’s road games.

Next season, the Ravens are set to play Jacksonville, who has an agreement in place to play one home game per season at Wembley Stadium through 2020. As part of their agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority, the Ravens are not allowed to play any “home” games away from M&T Bank Stadium.

Only seven other teams have yet to participate in the International Series since it was introduced in 2007: Arizona, Carolina, Cleveland, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Tennessee.

The league has yet to announce its slate of international games for 2017, but the dates and teams for the three London games played this season were announced last November.

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No matter how it’s looked, Ravens in great position early in 2016

Posted on 25 September 2016 by Luke Jones

You don’t have to buy into the 3-0 Ravens after a sloppy 19-17 win over Jacksonville on Sunday.

They’ve defeated three teams that are a combined 1-8 so far this season. Baltimore has won each of those games by a single possession and trailed in the fourth quarter of the last two.

Quarterback Joe Flacco spoke the truth after the game despite the Ravens being off to their best start since 2009 and standing alone in first place in the AFC North.

“You don’t want to have to be winning these games the way we are,” said Flacco, who threw two fourth-quarter interceptions after a whopping 21 straight completions earlier in the game. “I think it makes us tougher as a football team. At the same time, you’re not going to be able to get away with this when you’re playing really, really good teams in January.”

The mere fact that Flacco could mention January says it all, however. That possibility was already looking bleak after an 0-3 start last year.

The Ravens may not be a great team, but they’re in a great position with a perfect record through the first three weeks. Since 1990, teams starting 3-0 have made the playoffs 75.6 percent of the time.

The odds look even better with the Ravens now playing consecutive home games against Oakland and Washington. A 5-0 start hardly appears out of the question, and that would be welcomed when you consider what the rest of the schedule looks like after that.

The offense has managed only four touchdowns in three games. The running game has largely been a non-factor at a meager 3.3 yards per carry. The passing game has impressed at times, but then there are moments such as Mike Wallace’s drop in the end zone on the opening drive of the third quarter on Sunday that throw the rhythm out of whack for an extended period of time.

Still, you see plenty of reason for optimism with Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta looking more and more like their old selves, Wallace providing a needed vertical presence, and young receivers such as Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore flashing potential. The offensive line has been an obvious concern, but there were always going to be growing pains with two rookies starting on the left side.

In other words, there’s reason to think the group can improve markedly. That’s why a 3-0 record feels that much better, regardless of the quality of opponents.

“I think we’re a team that’s kind of growing as we’re moving along here,” Flacco said. “We have a lot of moving parts and a lot of guys who haven’t played with us before. At some point, we might see that we’re building up, building up, building up and all of a sudden it turns over very quickly. That’s kind of what I’m looking for — for it to turn over very quickly and for us to explode as an offense and really take off.”

The most impressive part of the Ravens through the first three weeks, however, has been a defense that’s allowed only 14.7 points per game. That’s including a 20-point nightmare of a first quarter in Cleveland, meaning the defense has been even stingier in its other 11 quarters of action.

The pass rush hasn’t been as consistent as defensive coordinator Dean Pees would like, but it has stepped up when needed, sacking Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles four times in the fourth quarter after failing to register one in the first three quarters on Sunday. You’d like to see more pressure off the edge, but veteran Terrell Suggs came alive with two quarterback takedowns in the final period and the Ravens will hope to welcome back Elvis Dumervil in Week 4. The interior rush has been more consistently disruptive with Timmy Jernigan leading the way with three sacks in the first three games.

But the biggest difference from last year’s defense has been the ability to force turnovers. The Ravens intercepted three passes against the Jaguars to give them five for the season, just one shy of their franchise-worst 2015 total.

On Sunday, Baltimore picked off Bortles twice in the final five minutes. Last week, it was a C.J. Mosley interception in the final minute that preserved a 25-20 victory. These were the game-changing plays that were largely absent against both good teams and bad teams a year ago.

Despite their imperfections on Sunday, the Ravens had two distinct advantages over the Jaguars that Suggs identified after the game. And they’re huge reasons why Baltimore should feel even more optimistic about a 3-0 start.

“You want a quarterback with ice in his veins,” Suggs said, “and you damn sure want a kicker with ice in his veins as well.”

Justin Tucker proved the latter with a 54-yard field goal with 1:02 remaining to complete a 4-for-4 day. He has now connected on all three of his tries from at least 50 yards, an area where he struggled last season.

The Ravens may not be the best 3-0 team in the NFL, but they’ll take that over being called the best 2-1 team like Pittsburgh or a good 1-2 squad like Cincinnati. Sure, you can argue that the Ravens haven’t beaten anybody, but they haven’t lost to anybody, either.

A 3-0 start leaves less work to do later and more leeway to figure things out in the coming weeks as the Ravens will hope to be ready to step up their play against the better teams looming later in the year.

Maybe even in January.

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Dumervil inactive for third straight game

Posted on 25 September 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens must wait another week to welcome back their Pro Bowl pash rusher.

Despite returning to practice on a limited basis this week, outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (foot) is inactive for Sunday’s meeting with Jacksonville. The 32-year-old had expressed hope that he would return against the Jaguars, but he did not participate in Friday’s walk-through, a discouraging sign for his Week 3 availability.

Dumervil has logged only a handful of practices in his return from offseason foot surgery and suffered a setback in late August that had sidelined him until this week. His absence will again open the door for younger options such as Za’Darius Smith and Matt Judon to receive increased pass-rushing opportunities.

As expected, rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley is active and will start after missing Wednesday’s practice with a foot ailment. The first-round pick was a full participant in practices for the remainder of the week.

Interestingly enough, Baltimore turned in the same list of inactives for the third consecutive week. Cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Will Davis and running back Buck Allen were among the healthy scratches. Offensive lineman John Urschel (shoulder) was inactive for the third straight week despite being a full participant in practices since the start of the regular season.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars listed four starters as inactive for Sunday’s game. Jacksonville will be without left tackle Kelvin Beachum (concussion), center Brandon Linder (knee), defensive end Jared Odrick (triceps), and cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) against the Ravens.

The absence of Beachum and Linder should create an advantage for the Baltimore defensive line that’s already had a strong start to the season.

The referee for Sunday’s game is Gene Steratore.

According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies, temperatures reaching 87 degrees, a 15 percent chance of rain, and winds up to 11 miles per hour.

The Ravens will wear purple jerseys with white pants while the Jaguars don white tops with white pants.

Sunday marks the 20th meeting between these old AFC Central rivals with Jacksonville holding the 11-8 advantage. The Ravens are 2-6 in their trips to EverBank Field and haven’t won there since the 2001 season.

Below are Sunday’s inactives:

LB Elvis Dumervil
CB Jerraud Powers
RB Kenneth Dixon
CB Will Davis
RB Buck Allen
OL John Urschel
DT Willie Henry

DE Jared Odrick
LT Kelvin Beachum
CB Prince Amukamara
C Brandon Linder
QB Brandon Allen
TE Ben Koyack
DE Chris Smith

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Ravens-Jaguars: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 24 September 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens face a desperate team on Sunday.

After entering the season with much optimism about a talented core of young players, the Jacksonville Jaguars have stumbled out of the gate to an 0-2 start and were thoroughly outplayed in a 38-14 defeat in San Diego last week. Meanwhile, the Ravens have taken advantage of two below-average opponents to start 2-0 for the first time since 2009.

Facing the challenge of a second consecutive road game, the Ravens certainly hopes to start faster than last week when Cleveland took an early 20-0 lead and forced them to enter catch-up mode.

It’s time to go on the record as Baltimore seeks its first win in Jacksonville since 2001 when the teams were rivals in the old AFC Central. The Jaguars lead the all-time regular-season series with an 11-8 mark, but the Ravens have won eight of the last 11 meetings dating back to 2000. This marks the third straight year in which the Ravens and Jaguars have met with Jacksonville prevailing in a controversial 22-20 finish at M&T Bank Stadium last year.

Below are five predictions for Sunday:

1. The Ravens will fail to score a touchdown in the first quarter for the third straight game. Slow starts have been too common in the brief Marc Trestman era, which hasn’t helped to jump-start the running game going back to last season. Baltimore should be aggressive early with vertical shots against a banged-up Jaguars secondary, but Trestman has been reluctant to do so in the opening quarter. An early touchdown would go a long way in frustrating an 0-2 opponent and killing what little home-field advantage exists at EverBank Field, but Jacksonville will play hard with its 2016 season already in peril.

2. Tavon Young will intercept a Blake Bortles pass to set up a Baltimore score. The Ravens intercepted two passes last week, which doesn’t sound out of the ordinary until you remember they only had six all last season. A unheralded contributor to a revamped secondary has been the rookie Young, who hasn’t played like a final-day draft pick so far. He made a couple key tackles on Cleveland’s final drive last week and has held up well in slot coverage. He’ll come away with his first career pick defending Marqise Lee to give the Ravens offense a short field.

3. Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas will catch touchdown passes for Jacksonville. The potential return of Elvis Dumervil would certainly help, but Baltimore will need to get more pressure off the edges against Bortles, who has plenty of weapons at his disposal despite his underwhelming performance through two games. Robinson and Allen Hurts are challenging enough to handle, but Thomas is healthy and has put up good numbers early. The Ravens have done a solid job against tight ends so far, but the memory of last year’s struggles covering that position is still too fresh.

4. Breshad Perriman will catch the first touchdown of his NFL career. It’s no secret that Joe Flacco has mostly thrown to Mike Wallace, Dennis Pitta, and Steve Smith as the trio of accounted for 43 targets out of 78 total passing attempts. However, Flacco would have connected on a long touchdown to Perriman against Cleveland’s Joe Haden had the pass been thrown more to the middle of the field. Since the 2015 first-round pick played his college ball a little over two hours away, Jacksonville feels like an appropriate place for him to finally hit pay dirt.

5. The home team feeling more urgency and needing a win will edge the Ravens in a 23-20 final. This game feels like little more than a coin flip, but Jacksonville can’t afford to lose this one whereas John Harbaugh’s team is playing with a little bit of house money after the largest road comeback win in franchise history last week. Baltimore can make a strong statement by improving to 3-0, but the Jaguars will prove they’re better than they were a week ago by making just a couple more plays than the Ravens to prevail in a close game. If this were a home game for the Ravens, I’d pick them instead.

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Dumervil questionable to play after sitting out Friday’s practice

Posted on 23 September 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens head coach John Harbaugh celebrated his 54th birthday on Friday and would welcome the present of a returning Elvis Dumervil for Sunday’s game in Jacksonville.

Despite not participating in Friday’s walk-through practice, the five-time Pro Bowl pass rusher was listed as questionable to play after working on a limited basis in previous workouts this week. Dumervil told reporters on Thursday that he hoped to play, but he’s not yet 100 percent physically after undergoing offseason foot surgery and suffering a setback a few days into his initial return to practice in late August.

Harbaugh indicated that Dumervil’s availability against the Jaguars would be a game-time decision after he practiced for the first time in nearly a month.

“I thought he looked good. He’s worked really hard, and he’s put a lot of time in,” Harbaugh said. “It’s just a matter of you get to that point and decide whether it’s going to give you the best chance to win or not based on where he’s at physically. We know what kind of player he is and what he’s capable of, and that’s the decision that will just have to be made.”

As expected, the Ravens officially ruled out running back Kenneth Dixon for the third straight game as he continues to work his way back from a left knee injury. However, the rookie was doing some running on the side field during the open portion of practice and was moving pretty well despite wearing a brace.

Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) and interior offensive lineman John Urschel (shoulder) were both listed as questionable to play against the Jaguars. After missing Wednesday’s practice, Stanley was a full participant on Thursday and Friday and is fully expected to start. Urschel has now been a full participant in practices for three straight weeks, but he was inactive for Baltimore’s first two games.

Center Jeremy Zuttah was not listed on the final game status injury report of the week, but he was absent from Friday’s walk-through for a non-injury reason. This typically indicates a player is either receiving a day off to rest or to deal with a personal matter, but Harbaugh did not give an explanation for Zuttah’s absence.

“That’d be a good question for Jeremy, but there’s no injury there,” Harbaugh said. “Jeremy’s fine.”

Zuttah was not available for comment during Friday’s open locker room period for reporters. The 30-year-old has struggled over the first two games of the season, leading some outsiders to speculate whether the Ravens should turn to another option such as Urschel or Ryan Jensen.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars will be without their starting left tackle as Kelvin Beachum was ruled out for Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion in Week 2. Former first-round pick Luke Joeckel is listed as his primary backup.

Jacksonville listed five other starters as questionable with two of them — cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and defensive end Jared Odrick (triceps) — not practicing all week.

According to Weather.com, Sunday’s forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms with temperatures reaching the high 80s, winds up to 10 miles per hours, and a 60 percent chance of precipitation.

The Ravens announced Friday that they will wear “CB” decals on their helmets for the remainder of the 2016 season in memory of longtime defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, who died of esophageal cancer last Saturday.

Below is the final injury report for Sunday’s game:

OUT: RB Kenneth Dixon (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Elvis Dumervil (foot), OT Ronnie Stanley (foot), G John Urschel (shoulder)

OUT: OT Kelvin Beachum (concussion), TE Ben Koyack (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), S Tashaun Gipson (hamstring), RB Chris Ivory (general medical), C Brandon Linder (knee), DE Jared Odrick (triceps)

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Stanley expects to play in Jacksonville despite missing practice

Posted on 21 September 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley expects to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars despite being absent from Wednesday’s practice with a foot injury.

The 2016 first-round pick hesitated to discuss specifics related to the ailment, but he dismissed any notion that he was in danger of missing the Week 3 contest. Stanley’s strong play and durability throughout his collegiate career at Notre Dame were factors prompting the Ravens to take him sixth overall in April’s draft to replace veteran Eugene Monroe, who missed 17 starts in his last two seasons.

“It’s going to take a lot for me to miss a game,” said Stanley, who couldn’t recall the moment when the foot issue surfaced in the Week 2 win over Cleveland. “I haven’t missed a game [going back to] all my college career.”

Third-year lineman James Hurst is listed as the backup left tackle on the Week 3 depth chart released by Baltimore’s public relations staff, but rookie left guard Alex Lewis also worked extensively at left tackle during training camp.

Running back Kenneth Dixon remains sidelined while recovering from a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, but he is nearing the end of the original timetable of a four-week recovery set when he sustained the injury on Aug. 27. The Ravens are averaging only 3.0 yards per carry so far this season, making the talented rookie an intriguing option once healthy again.

“He’s working hard, and he’s getting closer,” Harbaugh said. “It’s one of those injuries [that takes time]. Everyone knows what the injury was, so you have a timeline on that. He seems to be on schedule. I’m looking forward to getting him back.”

The Jaguars were without a number of players during their Wednesday workout, a list that included wide receiver Allen Robinson (illness), left tackle Kelvin Beachum (concussion), and defensive end Jared Odrick (triceps). Beachum was carted off the field in Jacksonville’s loss to San Diego on Sunday and was hospitalized overnight.

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), OT Ronnie Stanley (foot)
FULL PARTICIPATION: G John Urschel (shoulder)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), OT Kelvin Beachum (concussion), S Johnathan Cyprien (knee/triceps), DE Jared Odrick (triceps), WR Allen Robinson (illness)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Chris Ivory (general medical issue), OT Jeremy Parnell (groin)

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Rick Ballou: Jags could take Tunsil if still on board at #5

Posted on 25 April 2016 by WNST Staff

Rick Ballou covers the Jaguars and joined Nestor on WNST to discuss their draft plans as they are due to pick one slot ahead of the Ravens as they hold the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Who does Rick think the Jaguars will select, and will they snag someone that the Ravens really would like to grab at number six?

To catch Rick Ballou’s full conversation with Nestor, click here:

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Ravens running game continues to be forgotten under Trestman

Posted on 17 November 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens have lost their way.

That statement carries many connotations these days as Baltimore holds a 2-7 record for the first time since 2005, but it’s especially true when examining the disappearance of the running game after the Ravens finished eighth in the NFL with 126.2 rushing yards per game under Gary Kubiak a year ago. Despite maintaining that it was in the Ravens’ DNA to run the football when they hired pass-happy offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, head coach John Harbaugh has seen his rushing attack plummet to 23rd in the NFL with just 98.1 yards on the ground per game. The Ravens rank 18th in the league at 4.0 yards per carry after averaging a healthier 4.5 yards per attempt in 2014.

The running game again wasn’t a major factor in Sunday’s 22-20 loss to Jacksonville as the Ravens carried 21 times for 89 yards while Joe Flacco attempted 45 passes.

“We’d like to run the ball more; there’s no question,” Harbaugh said. “On the other hand, if you look at the defenses [the Jaguars] were playing, there were eight guys within four or five yards of the line of scrimmage at all times, pretty much, and even then, we had some really good runs. We had some nice runs in the second half. We weren’t able to finish in four-minute [drill] like we would have wanted to; we were close to popping a couple of those runs.

“In the first half, we weren’t getting much. If we could have converted a couple more first downs there, you would have seen more runs. It’s something we had planned on doing. We were going to run it at them anyway, but we just didn’t get the opportunities that we wanted to.”

It’s fair to note that the Jaguars entered Sunday ranked seventh in the NFL in run defense, but the Ravens barely even tried in the first half with just four designed runs compared to 29 drop-backs for Flacco in his first game since No. 1 receiver Steve Smith was lost for the season. As for Harbaugh’s explanation, the Ravens picked up 11 first downs in the first 30 minutes of action, which wasn’t indicative of a team struggling to get on schedule with moving the chains.

Asked if Flacco checked out of a high number of plays at the line of scrimmage because of the Jaguars stacking the box, Harbaugh said that there were only a couple instances when the original play was changed, leading one to conclude that Trestman was responsible for the out-of-whack ratio. The pass-happy attack may have found success to the tune of 14 points and 223 yards of offense in the first half, but the approach backfired in the third quarter with Flacco turning the ball over on the first three possessions after intermission.

The Ravens carried 16 times for 70 yards in the second half.

“We knew we had some opportunities in the passing game, but we always look to run,” said running back Justin Forsett, who finished with 53 yards on 14 carries. “It’s just tough that we didn’t get it going faster. If we had, we would’ve been able to run the ball a little bit better. At the end, we just didn’t finish well.”

It’s easy to point to the opponent to defend Trestman’s approach on Sunday, but the Ravens also ran six times — one was a quarterback kneel — for 15 yards in the first half against San Diego, a run defense that currently ranks 27th in the NFL. Not counting plays resulting in sacks, the Ravens rank 26th in the NFL in running the ball just 37.29 percent of the time in 2015.

Last year, Baltimore ran the ball 44.67 percent of the time to rank 11th in the league.

Is it understandable to expect more passing in 2015 with the Ravens trailing in more games? Absolutely, but Baltimore has trailed by more than one score in the second half of just four games this year and one of those was the comeback win at Pittsburgh when the Ravens ran for almost 200 yards in an overtime victory. It’s difficult to say you’re committed to the running game when it wasn’t even allowed to find a rhythm in the first half of each of the last two games when they never trailed by more than seven points.

Whether because of a lack of commitment or production — or both — a ground game that returned the same starting running back and same starting offensive line from a year ago continues to be a significant disappointment under Trestman. It’s made life even more difficult on Flacco, who is trying to succeed with arguably the most underwhelming group of pass-catchers in the NFL.

The Ravens rank ninth in the NFL with 263.6 passing yards per game, but they’re 25th at 6.7 yards per attempt. For the second time in three years, the offense has fallen on Flacco’s shoulders despite a substandard cast of receivers around him.

Despite what the coaching staff has said at numerous times this season, there doesn’t appear to be much urgency to get the ground game going after the latest soft showing against Jacksonville.

“The run game is something to talk about,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “We were looking at it hard this morning, this afternoon with the coaches. Early in the game, we’re a block here and a block there away from popping runs. But a block here and a block there doesn’t get it done. We did a lot of things with scheme. We had a lot of formations. We protected our edges with tight ends and with seal blocks coming back and sift blocks coming back the other way. We did a good job of protecting our edges. But inside of all that, they had a couple of little changeups with their linebackers that gave us a little trouble that we sorted out toward the end of the game, [and we] had some better runs.”

Entering 2015, the running game was supposed to be the rock-solid commodity for a Ravens offense that experienced plenty of change in the offseason. Instead, it’s become just another of the many problems plaguing a 2-7 football team.

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