Posted on 16 September 2015 by WNST Staff
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Posted on 17 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Oakland – Ok, so this one is always beaten up and maligned and rightfully so. It’s old. It’s falling apart. I reported about the fly infestation in the men’s room that was certainly among the more gross moments of my 30 days on the road but there are some points to recommend this old dump. First, it’s the closest thing – really the only thing – left that approximates Memorial Stadium and my experiences as a kid. Really, if you wouldn’t laugh I’d have this 10 spots further up the list because I’d definitely return to the Oakland Coliseum (or whatever they’re calling it this week) before I’d go to a bunch of places higher on this list. They had a variety of food, dudes banging on drums, people were watching the game and the vibe was great for a baseball game if you lived baseball in the 1970s like I did. Just don’t expect any V.I.P. experiences. From a personal standpoint, this is a dump I recommend and it’s easy to get to on the BART. It gets a huge boost in my rankings simply because it’s unique. Make sure you get to this place before it deconstructs or simply evaporates. At some point it’ll fade to dust and you’ll be sorry you missed it.
It’s also the last place on earth where they play NFL football on a baseball diamond.
So, you can visit for a football game. But hurry. You’ll have to go to Los Angeles to see the Raiders the next time!
On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/
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Posted on 14 August 2015 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — The Orioles continued their purge of disappointing corner outfielders on Friday by designating David Lough for assignment prior to their series opener against the Oakland Athletics.
With Matt Wieters currently nursing a hamstring strain, catcher Steve Clevenger was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Lough’s place on the 25-man roster. Lough, 29, became the fifth Orioles outfielder to be designated for assignment since late May, joining Alejandro De Aza, Delmon Young, Chris Parmelee, and Travis Snider as players who failed as part of the offseason plan to replace free-agent departures Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis.
Originally acquired to replace former Oriole Nate McLouth in left field two winters ago, Lough never established himself at the plate and was relegated to a role as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner for much of his two seasons with Baltimore. The July 31 acquisition of Gerardo Parra made Lough even more expendable because of his ability to back up Adam Jones in center field, a role that he held for the last two years.
After hitting .247 in 197 plate appearances last season, Lough was hitting just .202 in 2015 and was mired in a 2-for-26 slump in early July.
Manager Buck Showalter expressed hope that Lough would remain with the organization and accept an outright assignment to Norfolk if he goes unclaimed on waivers. The Orioles would then consider him for a September call-up.
Clevenger went 5-for-11 in a brief stint with the Orioles earlier this year and has had an impressive season for Norfolk, batting .305 with four home runs, 32 RBIs, and a .769 on-base plus slugging percentage. The organization has also been pleased with his improved defense behind the plate, a weakness of his when acquired from the Chicago Cubs in 2013.
The Orioles have also summoned Norfolk outfielder Henry Urrutia to Norfolk and are expected to activate him for Saturday’s game, meaning another roster move is coming. The Cuban outfielder hasn’t played for Baltimore since hitting .276 in 58 plate appearances in 2013, but the lefty is batting .292 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs for the Tides this season.
It doesn’t look like the Orioles will make room for Urrutia by placing Wieters on the disabled list as the three-time All-Star catcher said prior to Friday’s game that his hamstring is feeling much better, joking that he’s closed to being back to his normal “slow speed” on the bases. The 29-year-old said he would be available off the bench if needed, but Clevenger being recalled reflects a desire to stay away from using Wieters for at least another day or two if possible.
Right-hander Chris Tillman will complete his bullpen session on Saturday and is still in line to make Monday’s start despite being struck with a line drive on the right triceps during his last start in Seattle.
Right-handed relief pitcher Chaz Roe received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder and is responding well, leading to optimism that he’ll be ready to return after the 15-day minimum on the DL.
Steve Pearce is now taking batting practice in Sarasota as his injured oblique continues to improve. The Orioles hope he can begin a minor-league rehab assignment as early as the beginning of next week.
Right-hander Mike Wright is still feeling “tentative” when running and pushing off with his calf as Showalter did not make it sound like his return from the DL was imminent.
According to Showalter, pitching prospect Hunter Harvey’s throwing program is proceeding well as he continues to throw off flat ground. The organization is deciding whether he will pitch this fall and where that might take place.
Showalter also said that 22-year-old pitcher Dylan Bundy will have an appointment with Dr. James Andrews at the end of the month to determine how his shoulder is progressing after extensive rest.
Right-handed pitcher Tyler Wilson is currently on the minor-league seven-day DL and is improving, but his return from an oblique strain is not considered imminent.
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Posted on 22 June 2015 by Luke Jones
At a time of year when most free agents have at least found a home for training camp, veteran cornerback Tarell Brown says the Ravens are one of several teams showing interest in his services.
A former starter with the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, the 30-year-old told Sirius XM NFL Radio over the weekend that Baltimore was one of four teams who have expressed interest in signing him on the open market. He started 14 games last year in his only season with the Raiders, making 55 tackles and four pass breakups.
Brown spent the previous seven seasons with the 49ers, starting 47 games and collecting 11 interceptions. He was a starting cornerback against the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, making three tackles and forcing a fumble.
Already anticipating the healthy returns of starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb, general manager Ozzie Newsome boosted the Ravens’ veteran depth at cornerback this offseason by signing former New England Patriots slot cornerback Kyle Arrington and former Indianapolis Colt Cassius Vaughn to compete with the likes of Rashaan Melvin, Asa Jackson, and Tramain Jacobs. Newsome hasn’t shied away from adding veteran cornerbacks over the summer in recent years as he signed Aaron Ross and Dominique Franks following last June’s minicamp.
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Posted on 18 June 2015 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Faced with two sets of back-to-back games out west during the 2015 regular season, the Ravens have decided to cut down on substantial travel time by remaining out west for both trips.
Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed his team will travel to the Bay Area following the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 13 and will remain there for the week before a Sept. 20 meeting against Oakland Raiders. The Ravens will then repeat that practice after their Oct. 18 game at San Francisco by traveling to Phoenix for the week leading up to their Monday night contest against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 26.
“We spent a little bit of time with some of the science on it,” Harbaugh said. “But really, what it came down to was a gut decision and talking to the players.”
Before the 2015 schedule was released in late April, Harbaugh and the Ravens had lobbied the NFL to play the road games against the Raiders and the 49ers in consecutive weeks in hopes of staying in the Bay Area to eliminate a cross-country flight. That request wasn’t granted, but it appeared the NFL may have done the Ravens a favor by bunching their other long-distance road games together.
Quarterback Joe Flacco was pleased that players were asked for their opinions on the matter and feels the strategy will give the Ravens a better chance during a difficult stretch of five out of seven games on the road to begin the 2015 season.
“I feel good about it. Us, as players, we’re part of that communication,” Flacco said. “John asked us and looked for input, and I’m one of the guys that was directly involved in making that decision. I’m happy about it. I think it’s going to be a good thing for us.”
Asked how the lengthy road trips might impact his wife, Dana, and three young sons, Flacco acknowledged she might not love the decision as much as him.
“I’m thinking that’s going to be a week off from being ‘Dad,'” said Flacco as he laughed. “She probably is going to be in for it a little bit. That’s just part of being an NFL quarterback’s wife. That’s why you’ve got to get a strong one.”
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Posted on 01 August 2014 by Glenn Clark
Glenn’s Drew’s Morning Dish is brought to you by Koons Baltimore Ford. It took me five days to feel comfortable saying that. I’ll just go ahead and retire it now.
I’ll keep this one short today (or I hope I will anyway). I’m sure plenty of Friday’s D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will include conversation about Ray Rice’s press conference Thursday-but I’ve written plenty about him this week.
Thursday’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline passed and the Baltimore Orioles were active. While the addition of reliever Andrew Miller seems minimal in comparison to the names that had been thrown around in connection to the O’s and the names that ultimately ended up being dealt elsewhere-Miller is a very solid part to add to the team’s bullpen.
Of course, the Detroit Tigers picked up David Price. And the St. Louis Cardinals nabbed John Lackey. Those teams probably did a bit more than the Birds to set themselves up for a run to a World Series. If the Orioles can continue to throw 12 shutout innings per game (like they did to start Thursday night’s game), they’ll probably be in good shape to win the American League themselves. They’ll also have to re-name every record book after the Orioles’ staff, which I imagine would be an arduous process.
The biggest story of Thursday’s trade deadline was the one that came down in the waning moments of Thursday morning’s show. Of course you already know the Boston Red Sox sent the one pitcher I had said I’d be willing to be overly bold in my pursuit of (Jon Lester) to the A’s along with Jonny Gomes in exchange for slugger Yoenis Cespedes.
It was a real “holy crap” moment in my life of following baseball. It was in that Ruben Sierra for Jose Canseco territory of truly stunning deals. It was bold, it is most certainly questionable and it solidifies what we already knew-that the Athletics are absolutely the team to beat when we get to October.
I had only a couple of seconds at the end of Thursday’s show to ponder what could have happened for Lester to have ended up in orange and black instead of green and yellow.
I posed a question on Twitter-if the Sox had told the O’s that instead of a package centered around Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy or Hunter Harvey (we’ll always wonder how the deadline could have been different without the injury) they wanted a package built around first baseman Chris Davis-would you have been willing to do it?
Much like Cespedes-Davis is a free agent at the end of next season and has provided quite the mixed bag at the plate this season. While he appeared to be establishing himself as one of the dominant power hitters in baseball in 2013, he’s struggled in just about every aspect of his game in 2014. He’s battled injuries, his batting average is atrocious and he hasn’t even gotten to the 20 home run mark for the season yet.
That said, where Cespedes has been better as an average hitter in 2014-Davis has actually maintained a better on-base percentage. Cespedes certainly provides a plus outfield arm, but Davis has been a solid defensive player.
I said on Thursday’s show I believed the O’s had established themselves as the second best team in the AL behind the A’s. For me, that changed when the Tigers added Price. The Orioles are a very good baseball team that has an opportunity to win a division and get to the postseason-but I can’t fathom how they could beat those other teams in a playoff series.
I would have felt differently had they added Jon Lester, even if it had cost them Chris Davis. I don’t know what the equivalent would have been for Jonny Gomes to add on to the deal, but I’d imagine they’d have to find a way to use Steve Pearce and Delmon Young regularly to try to make up for Davis’ production.
So would you have done it? Would you have parted ways with Chris Davis in order to add Jon Lester for two months? I would have and would have felt good about my chances of pursuing a World Series title.
We’ll talk about it Friday morning.
Posted on 24 July 2014 by WNST Staff
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland A’s recalled right-handed pitcher Evan Scribner from Triple-A Sacramento and designated right-handed pitcher Jim Johnson for assignment, the club announced today.
Scribner was on the A’s Opening Day roster and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings in two appearances before he was optioned to Sacramento April 7. He returned for a second stint June 17 but did not appear in a game before he was sent back to the River Cats June 20. The 29-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA and .243 opponents batting average in 31 games with Sacramento and ranks fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 14 saves. Scribner has 57 strikeouts in 37.2 innings, an average of 13.62 strikeouts per nine innings, and has walked just seven for a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.14.
Johnson was 4-2 with two saves, one blown save, a 6.92 ERA and .353 opponents batting average in 38 relief appearances with the A’s. The ERA is the highest among Major League relievers as is his .434 opponents on-base percentage. His opponents batting average is the highest in the American League. Johnson has allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in 4.1 innings over his last five games.
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Posted on 18 July 2014 by Luke Jones
Sitting in first place at the All-Star break for the first time since 1997 didn’t exactly earn the Orioles any favors as they started the second half of the season in Oakland on Friday night.
A 10-game West Coast trip against the two teams with the best records in the majors and the second wild card leader in the American League probably gave manager Buck Showalter a restless night or two over this week’s respite. Knowing the Orioles play their next 23 games against clubs with winning records — not to mention the six following that against teams with .500 marks at the break — likely made him lose even more sleep.
Of course, Showalter and the Orioles have every right to feel good about themselves after winning 25 of their last 40 to move to 10 games above .500 and turn a 4 1/2-game deficit into a four-game lead over that stretch. They’ve built themselves a small cushion in a division in which no one is without sizable warts and imperfections with Toronto and New York seemingly moving in the wrong direction and Boston and Tampa Bay being mostly bad all season.
No, the trip to the West Coast will neither break nor make the Orioles’ chances of winning their first American League East title since 1997, but those 10 games allow them an opportunity to flex their muscles as a man amongst boys in an underwhelming division. Holding their own in Oakland, Anaheim, and Seattle — even going 5-5 — would not only keep the Orioles in first place but allow them to return home in late July in prime position to continue their quest to a second postseason appearance in the last three years.
A strong showing against the imposing AL West over the next couple weeks could be the difference between a relatively comfortable journey to October and needing to scratch and claw over the final two months of the regular season. In the same way that the Orioles took advantage of the recent struggles of the Blue Jays, the rest of the AL East will be rooting for Baltimore to wilt before finally returning to Camden Yards on July 29.
A starting rotation that’s pitched to a 3.18 ERA over its last 33 games will now face the two highest-scoring offenses in baseball over the next six contests. It was a 1-6 run against the Athletics and the Angels earlier this month that saw the Blue Jays’ one-game lead in the division turn into a 2 1/2-game deficit by the time they left the West Coast.
Even with the daunting stretch staring them in the face, the Orioles couldn’t ask for better timing as they’ll feel more rested now than they will at any point over the rest of the season. Aside from the current ankle injury to starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez — which many critics would deem a blessing anyway — the Orioles are as healthy as they’ve been at any point during the first half of the season.
Showalter has set up his rotation to include the 23-year-old Kevin Gausman — who could finally be with the Orioles for good — and will be looking for his starting pitchers to pick up where they left off to close the first half. And he’ll hope the inconsistent offense — currently ranked seventh in the AL in runs scored — will finally hit its stride and struggling first baseman Chris Davis starts looking more like the force he was a year ago and less like the .199 hitter who was lost at the plate for the first 3 1/2 months of the season.
By no means was it a perfect first half for the first-place Orioles as they lost catcher Matt Wieters for the season and saw their $50 million investment in Jimenez lead the majors in walks, but Baltimore was the least flawed of anyone in the division and still appears that way beginning the most difficult road trip of the season.
The Orioles can use these next 10 games to flex their muscles as the clear favorite in the division and solidify their first-place standing or could see themselves fall back with the rest of the imperfect pack in the AL East.
They’ve grown accustomed to being the hunter over the last three seasons; it will be interesting to see how they start the second half as the hunted after four days off to think about it.
By no means is it do or die, but the West Coast trip will be an opportunity for the Orioles to stake their claim as the overwhelming favorite in the division while sampling what they could see again in October.
Posted on 06 June 2014 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — After making it through the first two months of the season with their Opening Day rotation making all but one start, the Orioles placed starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique on Friday.
Right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman has been summoned to make the start against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday but will not be activated for the series opener. The Orioles also optioned right-handed relief pitcher Preston Guilmet to Triple-A Norfolk, recalled left-handed pitcher Tim Berry from Double-A Bowie, and selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Evan Meek from Triple-A Norfolk.
To make room for Meek on the 40-man roster, the Orioles transferred Rule 5 infielder Michael Almanzar (knee) to the 60-day disabled list.
Manager Buck Showalter expressed optimism that Gonzalez’s time on the disabled list will be minimal as he could begin a minor-league rehab assignment at Bowie or Single-A Frederick as early as the middle of next week, putting him in line to return as early as his first day of eligibility on June 15. Gonzalez expressed optimism on Friday afternoon that he would still be able to make Saturday’s start, but Showalter did not want to risk him going to the hill and experiencing an issue with the oblique strain, leaving the Orioles in a dangerous position with their bullpen.
“No one wants to be on the DL, but you’ve got to think about it in the long run,” Gonzalez said prior to the news becoming official. “You don’t want to go out there and hurt yourself and be out for 2 1/2 months and miss all that time. You don’t want to do that.”
Gonzalez’s stint on the DL is retroactive to May 31 as he started against the Houston Astros last Friday. The 30-year-old right-hander is 3-4 with a 4.17 earned run average in 58 1/3 innings this season and had registered four straight quality starts prior to waking up with pain in his right side earlier this week.
Gausman will be making his second start of the season for the Orioles after being tagged for five earned runs in four innings in a spot start against the Detroit Tigers on May 14. Showalter expressed hope that the 2012 first-round pick would make it difficult on the Orioles to decide on his fate once Gonzalez is ready to be activated later this month.
In 10 starts for Norfolk this season, Gausman is 1-3 with a 2.98 ERA and has struck out 44 batters and walked 18 in 42 1/3 innings.
Berry and Meek were summoned to provide extra help in the bullpen after starter Chris Tillman was knocked out in the second inning of Thursday’s 8-6 loss to the Texans Rangers. The Orioles would then option Berry back to Bowie to make room for Gausman to start on Saturday if all goes to plan.
A 50th-round pick in the 2009 draft, the 23-year-old Berry landed firmly on the Orioles’ prospect radar after a 3.85 ERA at Single-A Frederick last year and was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. He is 3-3 with a 4.12 ERA in 11 starts for Bowie this season.
In other injury-related news, right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter (groin) will make a rehab appearance for Single-A Delmarva on Saturday and could be activated from the disabled list as early as Sunday.
During his outing in Sarasota on Friday, veteran left-handed pitcher Johan Santana was struck by a line drive and felt something in his Achilles tendon while trying to field the ball, causing him to leave the game. The 35-year-old was still being examined when Showalter met with local reporters on Friday afternoon.
Santana was expected to be assigned to a minor-league affiliate for his next outing as he is moving closer to an expected debut in Baltimore later this month, so it remains to be seen if those plans will now need to be altered.
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Posted on 18 November 2013 by Luke Jones
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They don’t deserve to be in the postseason and certainly don’t look like a playoff team.
The eyeball test warrants a failing grade.
Too little consistency and too many bad losses will cost them at the end of the season.
They’re simply not good enough.
The following statements have been used over and over in describing the Ravens as they’ve lost four of their last five games to fall to 4-6 on the season and 2 1/2 games behind division-leading Cincinnati in the AFC North.
And those same descriptions can and have been used to describe the seven other teams currently jockeying for the final wild-card spot in the AFC playoff picture. In fact, “plodding” might be a better term to use in describing the race for the No. 6 seed in the conference.
Unless commissioner Roger Goodell elects to eliminate the final spot, a team with an underwhelming résumé through Week 11 will find itself playing in January as the final seed in the single-elimination tournament. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins hold the slight edge at the moment over the rest of the pack at 5-5, but their flaws are as apparent as any of the six 4-6 teams chasing them.
“What it goes to show you is how close it is, and what a razor-thin margin it is in the National Football League,” coach John Harbaugh said in describing the current playoff picture. “That’s what makes the National Football League great. We would all rather be sitting here talking about being atop the division and chasing a home-field advantage or something like that. And that’s something that we were shooting for. We wanted to be in that position. We haven’t done the things we needed to do to be in that position.”
The frustration is understandable after a 4-6 start, but deeming the Ravens undeserving of the playoffs and writing them off are subjective statements that would be true in most seasons but are made in isolation from the rest of the field through Week 11. While I’m unwilling to say they’re definitively better than any of the other seven teams fighting for the final spot, you won’t convince me that any of those competitors are superior to the Ravens, either.
The truth is the AFC is mired in mediocrity once you look beyond Denver, New England, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Kansas City, making it difficult to predict which team — if any — will make a strong run over the final six weeks to sneak in. At this point, 10-6 would virtually guarantee the final playoff spot, but 9-7 has a good shot of being the season-ending target.
As mediocre as the entire field of 5-5 and 4-6 teams has looked, even an 8-8 record — or, gasp, 7-9? — with a favorable tie-breaker arsenal could conceivably be awarded with the No. 6 seed. Whether you elect to embrace that possibility with any level of enthusiasm is your choice.
With a head-to-head tie-breaking win over Miami and a meeting with the Jets this Sunday, the Ravens have an opportunity to gain the upper hand against the two teams they’re currently chasing in the wild-card race. That doesn’t mean they have the advantage over the rest of the field, but their chances appear no worse than any other team — even if you must hold your nose while saying that.
“We are right there. We can do it, and we’re good enough to do it,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve got every tool we need; all we have to do is go get it done. But that’s on us. We believe we have what it takes, but it’s up to us to prove it, and we’ve got to go prove it by winning these games.”
Whether the Ravens can do it remains to be seen, but three straight games at home starting Sunday provides a crucial opportunity to stack wins and ease the pain from their current 1-5 record on the road.
Here’s a look at the rest of the race for the AFC’s No. 6 seed in the current order in which teams stand based on tie-breaking procedures, which I’ll forgo including beyond conference records for now:
6. NEW YORK (5-5)
Conference record: 2-5
Remaining schedule: at Baltimore, Miami, Oakland, at Carolina, Cleveland, at Miami
Case for: Only one game remaining against a team with a winning record, league’s top-ranked run defense
Case against: Struggling rookie quarterback Geno Smith, minus-85 point differential (worst among the eight contenders for No. 6 seed)
7. MIAMI (5-5)
Conference record: 4-3
Remaining schedule: Carolina, at New York Jets, at Pittsburgh, New England, at Buffalo, New York Jets
Case for: One of the NFL’s better pass rushes, potential of young quarterback Ryan Tannehill
Case against: 31st in total offense, fallout from the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito saga
8. OAKLAND (4-6)
Conference record: 4-3
Remaining schedule: Tennessee, at Dallas, at New York Jets, Kansas City, at San Diego, Denver
Case for: Fourth-ranked run offense, sixth-ranked run defense
Case against: Unrest at quarterback position, 25th-ranked pass defense
9. TENNESSEE (4-6)
Conference record: 3-4
Remaining schedule: at Oakland, at Indianapolis, at Denver, Arizona, at Jacksonville, Houston
Case for: Seventh-ranked pass defense, fifth in conference in takeaways
Case against: Season-ending injury to quarterback Jake Locker, four remaining road games
10. PITTSBURGH (4-6)
Conference record: 3-4
Remaining schedule: at Cleveland, at Baltimore, Miami, Cincinnati, at Green Bay, Cleveland
Case for: One game remaining against teams currently above .500, veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
Case against: 30th-ranked rush offense, 26th in run defense
11. BALTIMORE (4-6)
Conference record: 4-4
Remaining schedule: New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, at Detroit, New England, at Cincinnati
Case for: Expected return of Dennis Pitta, four remaining home games
Case against: 31st in yards per carry and 30th in total offense, three games remaining against teams currently above .500
12. CLEVELAND (4-6)
Conference record: 3-4
Remaining schedule: Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, at New England, Chicago, at New York Jets, at Pittsburgh
Case for: Fifth in total defense, play-making ability of wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron
Case against: 26th-ranked rush offense, 10th in AFC in takeaways
13. SAN DIEGO (4-6)
Conference record: 2-5
Remaining schedule: at Kansas City, Cincinnati, New York Giants, at Denver, Oakland, Kansas City
Case for: Fourth-ranked passing offense, plus-4 point differential (best among the eight No.6 seed contenders)
Case against: 27th in pass defense, four games remaining against teams currently above .500
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