Tag Archive | "reed"

Ravens rookies a big hit at The Barn

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Ravens rookies a big hit at The Barn

Posted on 17 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Seven of the Ravens rookies for 2009 joined the WNST crew at The Barn last night for a Miller Lite event packed with purple fans and laughs. We’ll be running the audio on AM 1570 over the next few days and the audio vault here at WNST.net and video platform of wnsTV will also have the evidence.

We did brief conversations with different sets of guys, most of whom drove together from Owings Mills not knowing what to expect when I accosted them an invited them to Carney for what has become an annual event.

Paul Kruger and Jason Phillips did the first segment and admitted to being “lost” from time to time in the early going back in April.

Next up with was kicker Graham Gano (who admitted to being nervous because of the “public speaking” angle of live radio) and running back Cedric Peerman, who talked about Al Groh’s pro set offense at Virginia.

And finally, the trio of Lardarius Webb, Jason Cook (an undrafted free agent fullback who has been very impressive in OTAs) and Davon Drew joined me to close out the evening with some laughs. Webb provided the best comedy of the evening with some tales about his fandom of Ed Reed.

Seven Ravens rookies
Seven more Ravens. Seven more good guys who spent an evening out in the community having fun with their new fans. They were an impressive, polite and good-natured bunch of guys who make it easy to root for them in Westminster next month.

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Could Ed Reed Be on the Cover of Madden 2010?

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Could Ed Reed Be on the Cover of Madden 2010?

Posted on 22 April 2009 by Glenn Clark

I doubt it. But…..

From our friend Brian Powell at Awful Announcing; Ed Reed is a “finalist” to be on the Cover of EA Sports’ Madden 2010 Video Game. There are nine finalists, and the cover athlete will be announced on Friday. Your finalists are…

Steelers S Troy Polamalu
Colts QB Peyton Manning
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald
Chiefs QB Matt Cassel
Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Giants RB Brandon Jacobs
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
Ravens S Ed Reed

I’d say Peterson, Fitzgerald, and Roethlisberger are the Top 3; and I’d put my money on Larry Fitzgerald.

But even the chance of the curse ending up on Reed is enough to make some of us concerned.

Here’s what one Ravens fan imagined Reed’s cover might look like last year….

-Greed

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To Draft or Not To Draft

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

To Draft or Not To Draft 

As draft day approaches I have begun to think in greater depth about what the Ravens should do with their first pick. The Ravens have traditionally been one of the best teams in the NFL when it comes to drafting and evaluating talent.  The great Ozzie Newsome always puts this team in the best possible position to draft value with a pick and never based on need.  He has done it again this year. 

After the season was over the Ravens had a lot of decisions to make.  They had to decide who to re-sign, who to let go, and for those who left, how would they be replaced?  We saw the likes of Bart Scott, Chris McAlister, Jason Brown, and Jim Leonhard all leave via free agency.  But after that we saw Ozzie reload as only Ozzie can.  He brought in Matt Birk at center, Foxworth at corner, and L.J Smith at tight end to sure up potential weaknesses or thin areas for the Ravens.  He also resigned Samari Rolle and signed Chris Carr to the team to make sure there was great depth in the secondary and coverage on the special teams unit.  Heading into the draft this team is complete and does not have any glaring need that must be addressed early in this draft.  Furthermore this team has a wealth of young talent that they did not have room for last year with the likes of Prescott Burgess and Tavares Gooden.  This team is in as comfortable of a position as any team heading into the draft.  This is why they must consider adding Boldin to the team.  He may very well be the one missing piece. 

While the Ravens do not typically like to trade their top pick or a bulk of their picks in a draft, this year might be the year to do so.  I know the Ravens have only six picks this year but if you give up your first and your third round picks you will be gaining more value in Boldin than you would be giving away with what could come in with those two picks.  Wide receiver is the hardest position to fill in the draft and more times then not the pick results in a bust.  The game is so much more physical at the NFL level it is just impossible to project how well receivers will do and which ones will be a bust.  Boldin is a perfect example.  He was a second round draft pick because teams could not project how well he would do.  This year looks to be a crap shoot again as teams try to guess which wide-out is worth taking.  The Ravens are one of those teams and by trading for Boldin it would eliminate all of the guesswork. 

Look at this way:  Who might the Ravens draft with the 26th overall pick?  Most projections I have seen have the Ravens looking at a corner or, you guessed it, a wide receiver.  Thanks to Ozzie’s great offseason the Ravens have added depth and talent to their secondary.  A corner pick here is no longer a must but rather more like a luxury.  A wide receiver for this team makes the most sense, so why not get the best? This years best available is not Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks(I think is the best in the draft), Kenny Britt, or even Darrius Heyward-Bey.  That is right, the best wide-out available this year is Boldin.  The Ravens fans want him.  The Ravens need him.

Boldin is young, only 28, and can help this team for another 5 years.  He will come in and have an immediate impact on this offense, especially on Joe Flacco.  The other benefit of getting Boldin is that you would not have to wait for him to develop.  He is ready to go on day one.  Let’s face it the Ravens are not getting any younger on defense and guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed do not have the years left to wait for a rookie to develop.  Flacco is also emerging into a star and we do not need to hold him back while waiting for the rookie WR to develop.

Traditionally the Ravens have not been afraid to pull the trigger to trade up in the draft to get guys they felt were important to this team and may not be available when it is their turn to draft, ala Joe Flacco.  So why not pull the trigger this year.  Just because Boldin is not in the draft does not mean we should write off the idea of dealing our picks.   

Give up the picks and bring Baltimore a star thus narrowing the gap between the Super Bowl champions and the Baltimore Ravens!!! 

 

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So lemme guess: you skipped the Pro Bowl again?

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So lemme guess: you skipped the Pro Bowl again?

Posted on 09 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I spent the afternoon yesterday at Sylvia’s house in Parkville watching the Pro Bowl, eating chicken wings and pizza and drinking Miller Lite. Honestly, I’m glad we did make a date to watch the game with her many Ravens buddies and waiting for a random big play from a guy in a purple helmet or to get a look at the many Ravens staffers donning Don Ho-style red Hawaiian flowered print shirts. The entire coaching staff from John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron right on down looked like Peter Schmuck at Camden Yards on a summer night.

But the Pro Bowl sucks even when you’re with people you like in a really cool basement (Sylvia won our “Miller Lite Purple Palace” contest last month). We all know that. Vanilla defenses. Lots of “no shows,” including our own Ed Reed. Even the quarterbacks stunk yesterday, with everyone from Peyton Manning to Kerry Collins to Drew Brees to Kurt Warner throwing these wobbling dying duck passes all over the Honolulu turf. Brendon Ayanbejdo played more base defense in the Pro Bowl yesterday than he did during the entire NFL season. LeRon McClain missed at one shot at the endzone and got in on his second chance. Terrell Suggs and Ray Ray looked regal in their red jerseys making a few random tackles and missing others.

And there’s no doubt about it: NO ONE wants to get hurt. Everytime Ray Lewis went toward the ball we were all holding our breath and he STILL might wind up on the Steelers in six weeks for all we know? Or, this might’ve been the final time he strapped on a purple chinstrap. That thought definitely crossed my mind.

Next year, the Pro Bowl will move back to the mainland for the first time in more than a generation, and will be played the week before the Super Bowl in Miami, which will probably allow me to attend. But what’s to see when you actually watch the game?

Guys kinda going through the motions. The NFL marketing its various “Pro Bowl official game jerseys.” And all of the stars in one place at one time in a game that should probably be changed to a flag football game. Even the announcers kinda make fun of how the game is an “exhibition” that borders on a joke as far as a competition goes.

It was a great chance to honor our “Miller Lite Purple Palace” winner and talk football. All of Sylvia’s friends were buzzed up about all the same stuff all of the WNST listeners have on their minds.
Sylvia's Purple Crew

What’s going to happen with Ray Lewis?

Are the Terps going to make the tournament?

The Orioles are going to suck again.

But there’s something poignant and “final” about seeing the last snap of the football season and knowing we have to wait until August for the next round of crappy football that doesn’t matter and until after Labor Day for the first meaningful games again.

Today, the offseason begins in the NFL. The combine is next weekend in Indianapolis. The owners meetings happen in late March. The 2009 schedule will be released in early April. And then cometh the draft, which is one of my favorite weekends and events of the year.

Hang in there. We’ll try to make sense of the offseason and the Terps and Gary Williams and of course, we’ll be following the Orioles with the only objective coverage in the marketplace.

I’ll chat with you more at 2 p.m. today with a major announcement.
Nestor and Sylvia

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If Ed Reed were protecting the president…

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If Ed Reed were protecting the president…

Posted on 08 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I know this one is making the rounds on the internet, so I thought I’d give you a shortcut. It just came to me. I’m posting it. Comments below are accepted.
Ed Reed protects the President

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Chicken Box Friday is Tomorrow…lets start up trouble…

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Chicken Box Friday is Tomorrow…lets start up trouble…

Posted on 08 January 2009 by KZ

On 12/18/08…I wrote the following….
“9. If the University of Maryland Men’s Basketball team does not win their next 6 games…its NIT BOUND for sure!”
This statement was based on the last few years and how the selection committee has constructed the 64 team field and the “GOOD WINS” (Michigan St. and Michigan) the Terps already have. Avoid a pothole and beat..Delaware State, American, Bryant, Elon, Charlotte, Morgan State and then open the ACC sked with a home win against Georgia Tech and maybe they scratch out 9 ACC wins and into the tourney they go.
Well last night at home something went wrong…AGAIN! The Terps lost to the Morgan State Bears! No offense to the Bears, their players and their coaches…but MD up 14 with about 12 minutes to go in the second half, this needed to be a win. After the game I listened to Chick Hernandez and the other announcer (I do not recall his name) and they said “this was not as bad a loss as many people will make it out to be”. REALLY! I SEE!…ummm no offense to the experts but this was a season crushing loss…devastating loss…the type of loss that brings the Garyland haters to their feet.
I FOR THE RECORD am NOT A GARY HATER…What Mr. Williams has done at MD is above and beyond what I expected when he started in 1989. Here are some facts. MD is 40 – 40 in ACC plays since the 03-04 season. MD has had 8 seasons with a record 500 or better in ACC play in Gary Williams 19 years. The Terps have gone to the NIT 3 out of the last 4 years and on their way to 4 out of 5.
Build a statue of Gary, name the court “Williams Court”, but sometimes the message gets stale and you need a change…Just ask the Ravens!
On the the BC MESS….tonight’s “National Championship Game” should be a great one. Oklahoma has every bit as much talent and speed as Florida. It’s a battle of the last two Heisman winners and Two of the better coaches in all the land. I am picking Florida 34 – 31 btw. Guess What?!…its all a fraud!
THE UTAH UTES are the NATIONAL CHAMPS in my mind…here is why…first their schedule!
2008 SCHEDULE
( Click on an event for complete event information )
Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
08/30/08 at Michigan TV Ann Arbor, Mich. W, 25-23
09/06/08 vs. UNLV TV Salt Lake City, Utah W, 42-21
09/13/08 at Utah State TV Logan, Utah W, 58-10
09/20/08 at Air Force TV Colorado Springs, Colo. W, 30-23
09/27/08 vs. Weber State Salt Lake City, Utah W, 37-21
10/02/08 vs. Oregon State TV Salt Lake City, Utah W, 31-28
10/11/08 at Wyoming TV Laramie, Wyo. W, 40-7
10/18/08 vs. Colorado State TV Salt Lake City, Utah W, 49-16
11/01/08 at New Mexico TV Albuquerque, N.M. W, 13-10
11/06/08 vs. TCU TV Salt Lake City, Utah W, 13-10
11/15/08 at San Diego State TV San Diego, Calif. W, 63-14
11/22/08 vs. BYU TV Salt Lake City, Utah W, 48-24
01/02/09 vs. Alabama TV New Orleans, La. W, 31-17
NOTICE ANYTHING THERE? Exactly…they never lost! 13 – 0…check.
But Ken…they play in a weak conference (for the record they play in the MWC and the conference is ranking as the 7th best). Well maybe, but out of their 13 wins..6 came against bowl teams…3 wins came against teams in the top 15 in the polls.
As for their schedule they went on the road to play Michigan and Oregon State, both from BCS conferences, so can’t knock them for a lack of trying. The system we have now is a fraud…period! It has preconceived ideals before the season starts. So I hope tonight’s game is a classic well played game, but the UTES are number 1!
Lastly the Ravens! I liked it a lot more before the media started jumping on the Ravens bandwagon…but here is my view of the game. When they played in week 5, a few things are now different from then.
a. Joe Flacco is a better QB and has learned from just about every mistake he has made.
b. The Titans were very healthy in week 5…they are not as healthy now…week off or not.
c. Ed Reed is now possessed.
d. The Ravens are on a roll winning 6 of their last 7.
e. The Titans have lost two of their last 3.
Rob Long and I will give our scores after 4pm on Friday so listen in…do you think Jim Schwartz will call in this week? lol

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Ravens locker room giddy for trip to Nashville

Posted on 04 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The kudos for the continued brilliance of Ed Reed and the poise of Joe Flacco permeated the Ravens locker room following today’s big win over the Dolphins here in Miami. Other than the defensive breakdowns on the late third-quarter drive that nearly got the Fish back into the game, it was a day of celebrations, high fives and memories of what a January run feels like.

The Ravens punished the Fins in the first half and only let up long enough to wait for another turnover. No play was bigger than the botched handoff to Ted Ginn, which sealed the fate of Miami and propelled the Ravens back to a second-round playoff matchup on the Cumberland River in Nashville at 4:30 this Saturday.

As you know, our buses are filling up fast. You can book you trip here. We will also be announcing a major indoor tailgate party/pep rally in downtown Nashville for Saturday morning for all visiting purple fans. To show his support for the purple contingent on the road, head coach John Harbaugh visited with the fans as he exited the field in Miami this afternoon and went out of his way to praise the road warriors, many of whom drove the 17 hours down to South Florida and have a lot of highway in front of them tomorrow en route back to Baltimore. I met many of these people in my travels today and they will be featured in my Miami videos on wnsTV tomorrow.

There will be plenty of time to dissect today’s game and to preview an epic matchup in Nashville this week. But for now, I’m exhausted, giddy and pretty “speechless” when it comes to the accomplishments of this team this season.

The one thing that struck me in talking to so many players after the game was the fact that it was the FIRST playoff win for many, many Ravens-drafted players in this organization. Only Ray Lewis, Matt Stover and Todd Heap were with the team in Miami in Jan. 2002, the last time the Ravens won a postseason game. Virtually every long-time player — from Ed Reed to Terrell Suggs to Haloti Ngata to Jason Brown — mentioned how special it was to finally win a playoff game. For some like Trevor Pryce, Samari Rolle and Derrick Mason, it was their first win in January in purple as well but all have had substantial success with Denver and Tennessee.

It’s been a pretty special year and as bad as 2008 sucked, it appears that 2009 is off to a helluva start.

All aboard for Nashville…

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Ravens pound Miami 27-9…Fisher — you’re next!

Posted on 04 January 2009 by Drew Forrester

This is one occasion when almost all of you – even my critics – will be thrilled to read this:

I told you so.

I said it all week and made it my feature thought via blog-form here at WNST.net — Don’t ever bet against Ray, Reed & Co. when they go back down to Miami.

Baltimore drubbed the Dolphins, 27-9, and both Lewis and Reed anchored an airtight Ravens defense that must have Jeff Fisher and the Titans at least a little concerned heading into next Saturday’s big showdown in Nashville.  Reed had a pair of interceptions including one for a touchdown and Trevor Pryce was a wrecking machine off the edge all afternoon.  Miami’s Chad Pennington did his best Daniel Cabrera impersonation by throwing more balls than strikes and that Wildcat offense looked more like a Pussycat to me.

It got a little tense early in the 4th quarter when Miami scored to make it 20-9, then Ravens’ offensive Cam Cameron lost his smart-playbook on the bench and used the dumb-one for a series as Baltimore went 3-and-out and gave Miami life.  The Dolphins advanced to the Baltimore 32 before a mix-up between Pennington and Ted Ginn resulted in a 19-yard loss and that was that…Miami’s hopes fizzled at that point.

Joe Flacco, as he has done just about all season, again outplayed his veteran counterpart.  Flacco threw no picks – Pennington tossed four.  You’re gonna win most of the time with those kind of numbers from your quarterback.  And, you’ll lose just about every time when your QB plays like Pennington did today.

The Ravens are now officially “dangerous”.  Heading to Tennessee with nothing to lose and most certainly an underdog, Baltimore will travel to Nashville brimming with confidence and ready to dispose of the Titans in the same fashion they did back in the 2000 playoffs (’01) when they knocked off Fisher’s team en route to the AFC title game in Oakland.

As a side note, here’s a funny story about today:  Tell me this isn’t a sign from the Football Gods.  I joined Glenn Clark at McAvoy’s for a 1pm gathering of Ravens’ fans in Parkville.  I left my house at noon, ran an errand and stopped for 15 minutes to hit some golf balls at Parkville High School, about 300 yards from McAvoy’s.  I grabbed my bag of balls, a club and my iPod.  I hit the shuffle button…I have 1100 songs on my iPod.  The first one randomly chosen to play in “shuffle”?  The Dolphin’s Cry, by +Live+

I knew everything was going to be OK at that point.

So, on we go in this wild 2008 football season.  We have trips for sale at WNST.net if you want to head to Nashville to watch it all in person next Saturday.  

I’ll be there.  I bought my ticket on Southwest last Sunday during that win over the Jaguars.  That’s how sure I was that the Ravens were going to win in Miami today.

I told you so.

You NEVER, EVER bet against #52 when he’s going home.

And, in case you’re an optimist like me, you might want to check out Southwest.com right about now.

They have some GREAT fares on Baltimore to Tampa round trip tickets in late January…if you know what I mean.

I already bought mine.

You have to think ahead, my friends.

And, with this year’s edition of the Ravens, it’s wise if you do that.

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Flacco’s big day leads Ravens to playoffs at Miami

Posted on 28 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

Take a look at this video highlight.  It’s the day the Ravens’ 2008 season changed for the better.

This time last year, Joe Flacco was just completing his senior season at the University of Delaware, where he led the Blue Hens to the Football Championship Subdivison title game before bowing to Appalachian State.

Today, he capped off an amazing rookie season in the NFL by leading the Ravens into the playoffs of the National Football League.  Baltimore’s 27-7 win over Jacksonville puts Baltimore at 11-5 and into the post-season one year after going 5-11.  They’ll face the equally surprising Miami Dolphins, who captured the AFC East today with a win at New York and finished 11-5 after a 1-15 campaign in 2007.

I need to write it again just for kicks:  The Ravens are going to the playoffs.

What a difference a year – and a Quarterback – makes.

It’s one thing for Ray Lewis to have a remarkable season.  He’s a Hall of Famer.

It’s not a shock to see Ed Reed do what he’s done this year.  He might be the league’s Defensive Player of the Year and could have cemented his Canton bust with this season’s performance.

Derrick Mason went over the 10,000 yard mark in receiving this season and he’s only the 31st player in league history to have done it.  It’s not surprising to see him have the kind of year he’s having.

But for Flacco to have put together a 2008 campaign like he has is just unthinkable in the NFL.  If not for Matt Ryan’s heroics in Atlanta, Flacco would the NFL’s Rookie of the Year.  And, of course, he still might be when it’s all said and done.

Rookie quarterbacks just don’t come along and play all 16 games and produce to the extent that Flacco has this season.  

But, he did.

And, most importantly, when the Ravens could ill afford for Flacco to have one of those “rookie days”, he instead delivered perhaps the biggest game from a quarterback in the team’s history.  When it mattered most, the rookie came through with a clutch performance, going 17-for-23 for 297 yards and driving Baltimore downfield with big throws to Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason throughout the game.

The Ravens won some big, big games in the 2000 season (and playoffs) but Trent Dilfer NEVER played like Flacco did today.  

What a difference a Quarterback – and a year – makes.

And the Ravens are going back to the playoffs for the 2nd time in three seasons, only this time there’s a completely different vibe than in ’06 when Steve McNair hobbled his way through the regular season and then laid a big egg in the playoff loss to the Colts on January 13, 2007.

Here’s more good news if you’re a fan of the purple.  They have a decent chance to do some damage in the post-season.  The tonic for post-season success in the NFL is simple:  Momentum, injuries and being able to win a big game on the road.  Check out the Ravens profile as the season comes to an end: They enter the playoffs on a major roll, they’re as healthy as anyone in the AFC, and, they were 5-3 on the road in ’08. They can win away from M&T Bank Stadium in January.  They’ll have to, of course, if they want to advance past next weekend.

For now, let’s take a day or two to revel in what was a terrific regular season.  A new coach, a new philosophy and a new quarterback.

They all came together at the right time.

And the Ravens are going back to the playoffs.

But, today, the quarterback took center stage in the win over Jacksonville.

Joe Flacco has changed the Ravens’ franchise.

Anyone want to bet against them in January?

I wouldn’t.

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Getting a grip on the Festivus activities

Posted on 23 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

So, it looks like we’re getting into the playoffs. Well at least we can talk that way for a few more days and as a 10-point favorite against Jacksonville this weekend (and please note the gametime change to 4:15 p.m., which means the coldest possibilities for us) the Ravens should win. Heck, if they don’t win they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs, really.

So, assuming that the Ravens are going to win this week and advance to the playoffs I started putting together playoff possibilities onto a cocktail napkin on Sunday and this is what I came up with…and I can’t imagine the NFL scheduling gods could have cooked this weekend up with a whole lot more drama than what they have – several cool matchups and playoff spots on the line in both conferences.

Indianapolis can now pack their bags for Denver or San Diego. But that Sunday night game is gonna be a good one. You gotta think that the Chargers have all of the momentum and the home field. What a story that would be, digging out from 4-8 to make the playoffs. Kinda unheard of…

Clearly, Nasvhille and Pittsburgh are just sitting tight, taking a “bye” week before their official byes. And as we saw two years ago, that extra slacker time isn’t always the best route. Two of the last three Super Bowl champs (Pittsburgh 2005 and N.Y. Giants 2007) have come from the No. 6 hole and not only won three in a row on the road but also overcame the extra game and the lack of a bye. You’d figure that being a higher seed would be a good thing but the recent history doesn’t support it.

And the Ravens (or the eventual No. 6 seed) will be headed to the AFC East winner. If Miami beats the Jets, we’re headed to South Florida. If the Jets beat the Dolphins, we go to New England provided they win in  Buffalo (hardly a given).

And such begins any legitimate Ravens fan’s aspirations of catching fire and making January 2009 one helluva memorable month. Here are my thoughts:

1.    Miami is the Ravens’ best first-round path. While the flights are jam-packed (good luck trying to get to South Florida next weekend if the Ravens make it there!), the weather and a matchup where the homefield won’t be so unkind is favorable for the Ravens. It certainly beats going to frosty New England, which is the worst scenario for the Ravens. If the Jets win and the Patriots flop this weekend and we wind up at the Meadowlands against Brett Favre, I still like our chances. Just FYI: if the Ravens go to New England or New York, we’ve already got “Miller Lite Roadtrips” ready to go! If the Ravens play in Miami, we will not be offering a trip.
2.    A Ravens win at the AFC East champion would take them to a path that’s well-traveled and familiar to Ray Lewis, Matt Stover and any real Ravens fan: Nashville. Clearly, the Titans would rather not see No. 52 coming back into the former Adelphia Coliseum in January. And assuming another Tennessee road miracle win…
3.    The AFC Championship Game could be in Pittsburgh (assuming they don’t choke the weekend of Jan. 10-11) or San Diego, Denver or even Indianapolis, if they could win two in a row on the road and take down the Steelers at Heinz Field.

Of course every fan of every team is plotting their own pathway through their respective conference playoff possibilities. This is the joy of having a Festivus celebration – the possibilities and hope that even being a “potential” No. 6 seed affords. And, we still have to win a game at home this weekend against a feisty Jacksonville team to do that.

As we’ve seen over and over again in the NFL: NO ONE LAYS DOWN late in the season. Well, no one but the Arizona Cardinals, any way…

The lowly Seahawks, Redskins and the Bills all pulled off upsets over playoff-inspired favorites last Sunday. The Jaguars played the Colts extremely tough last Thursday night and they’ll have two extra days of rest before coming here this Sunday. Maurice Jones Drew got dinged up very late in the game against Indy, so it’ll be interesting to see how effective he’ll be this week but he’s an explosive threat, like a human pinball or a poor man’s Barry Sanders. He’ll present speed issues for the Ravens defense in the middle of the field.

There’s no “counting chickens” as a Ravens fan. This Jaguars game is hardly a walkover in my mind. But a win this week opens all sorts of doors of possibilities for 2009 and dreams of an improbably Super Bowl run with a rookie coach, a rookie quarterback and a veteran Hall of Famer inspiring the troops in the September of his career.

The storylines for the Ravens are obvious:

Ray Lewis in a walk year trying to win another Super Bowl…

Trevor Pryce going for No. 3…

Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle, who both came up one-yard short almost a decade ago, getting another chance…

A first chance for Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Todd Heap and other Pro Bowlers to win a championship…

Will it start in Miami?

Or New England?

Or a trip to the Meadowlands for Favre and the Jets?

Can the Ravens avoid an upset at the hands of the Jaguars – who were truly Kyptonite to this franchise in the early years when they won the first eight matchups of the rivalry – to earn the No. 6 seed. For better or worse, the playoffs come to Baltimore at 4:15 this Sunday in what amounts to a “play in” game for the franchise and the city.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed…

Happy Festivus to all…

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