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Will Ravens continue to be haunted by the four deadly sins of defense in 2012?

Posted on 04 November 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Let’s get this out of the way right away – the Baltimore Ravens are 6-2 and any complaining about Sunday’s 25-15 win over the Cleveland Browns won’t change their slim lead in the AFC North or color the obvious breakdowns and weaknesses that are apparent to anyone who has watched their choppy work.

But as a Ray Rice told me at the podium on the shores of Lake Erie after another win: “There are no bad wins in the NFL.”

We can deal with the offensive inconsistencies later but my concerns center around a defense that will continue to take the field with a squad of patchwork underachievers and glaring fundamental issues.

The four deadly sins of defense continue to haunt the Ravens, if only for the first 80 yards of the field in Cleveland on Sunday. Rushing the passer. Stopping the run. Covering in the secondary. And tackling in general.

Let us count and assess the issues one by one…

The Ravens have no pass rush. Despite having the return of a seemingly spry Terrell Suggs in Houston two weeks ago, he was no factor in Cleveland. Joe Thomas ate him up and most teams will simply get some help on No. 55 if he becomes a pest and the Ravens lack a backup quarterback chaser with any push. Paul Kruger hasn’t been effective. Pernell McPhee, who flashed some visions of a pass rush specialist last season, has been mostly invisible this year and was an injury scratch on Sunday. Haloti Ngata continues to struggle physically and the leaks continue all around him on the defense.

Of course, no pass rush leads to trouble in the secondary with any quarterback and wide receiver tandem that has is given ample time to make a play. This will be an especially daunting issue when the Ravens see the Steelers in two weeks as Ben Roethlisberger has made a Hall of Fame career by making positive plays happen after the play breaks down.

With the injuries to Lardarius Webb, the Ravens secondary has been stressed tremendously because Cary Williams is now carrying the weight of marking every team’s No. 1 receiver. Aside from the obvious with Sergio Kindle being unable to play after his brutal fall and head injury, Jimmy Smith has been the Ravens’ most disappointing first-round draft pick since Travis Taylor. He’s the most penalized defensive player on the team and is consistently getting beat by top-notch receivers on a weekly basis. To my eyes, they’re simply targeting him and the likes of Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and the Manning brothers will literally be frothing at the mouth awaiting a chance to throw the ball into this secondary.

After more than a decade of dominance against the run – and a source of massive pride of a local fan base that would routinely chant “you can’t run” from my seats up in Sect. 513 – the Ravens’ run defense has been porous as it’s been four straight weeks of allowing running backs to gash the front seven and get deeper down the field where the secondary becomes a de facto part of the tackling corps.

And all over the field tackling has been a consistent source of frustration. You can blame not-so-new-anymore defensive coordinator Dean Pees. You can talk about the loss of personnel like Ray Lewis via injury or Jarret Johnson, Cory Redding, etc. to free agency, but there have been leaks all over the field when it comes to second chances and fellows in purple flailing and missing.

Eight games into the season, the Ravens are 6-2 and there’s ample reason to be energized by their gaudy record and seat atop the AFC North.

The offense has certainly been capable as witnessed by their early-season success and it even managed 25 points yesterday on the road in Cleveland by managing to play about 20 minutes of decent football and still spending more than an hour without a first down. But there have been many times recently when Joe Flacco and the offensive crew have been stumbling their

SEE PAGE 2

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Rice, Suggs In Running For Madden 13 Cover

Posted on 08 March 2012 by WNST Staff

EA SPORTS AND ESPN’S SPORTSNATION KICK OFF MADDEN NFL 13 COVER ATHLETE FAN VOTE

This Year’s Campaign Expands to 64 Players – With Play-In Round Featuring Two Athletes

From Each NFL Team Represented in Head-to-Head Matchups

March 7, 2012 – EA SPORTS™ and ESPN announced today the return of the award-winning Madden NFL Cover Vote campaign, where fans can cast their vote for the next athlete to grace the cover of one of the highest-selling videogame franchises in North America. Last year, nearly 13 million votes were cast through ESPNSportsNation.com and ESPN mobile in both companies’ most successful cross-platform activation. Tenth-seeded Cleveland Browns running back, Peyton Hillis, trucked through the six week competition all the way to the ultimate end zone – the Madden NFL 12 cover.

This year’s competition will incorporate more athletes and more chances to vote as the field has been expanded to 64 NFL players, putting even more control in the hands of the fans. Beginning today through March 21, fans can visit the SportsNation Facebook page to choose among the 64 candidates in a play-in round (each matchup features two players from the same NFL team) to advance to the official 32-player, seeded tournament.  The winners of the play-in round will be unveiled with the official seeded, 32-player bracket on March 21 on ESPN’s “Madden Cover Vote Special” from 5-6p.m. EST.  To ensure their favorite player advances to the next round, fans are encouraged to vote daily and tweet their picks using #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter.  Every Wednesday between March 21 and April 25, fans can tune into SportsNation on ESPN2at 5p.m. EST to check out the latest Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote standings.

In addition to the SportsNation Facebook page, fans will be able to vote in the play-in round via the open Web through widgets embedded on blogs, websites and more.  Each widget features an individual match-up for each of the 32 total teams in the league.  For the cover vote from March 21-April 25, all voting must be cast at ESPN.com/MaddenVote.

The star-studded list of candidates participating in the play-in round features past Super Bowl winners, perennial Pro Bowlers and some of the most popular players in the NFL including Drew Brees, Arian Foster and Rob Gronkowski. The full list of matchups featured in the play-in round are:

AFC

Ravens Terrell Suggs vs. Ray Rice Jets Mark Sanchez vs. Darrelle Revis
Steelers Troy Polamalu vs. Ben Roethlisberger Bills Stevie Johnson vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick
Browns Joe Thomas vs. Joe Haden Dolphins Reggie Bush vs. Brandon Marshall
Bengals Andy Dalton vs. AJ Green Patriots Wes Welker vs. Rob Gronkowski
Texans Arian Foster vs. Andre Johnson Chargers Phillip Rivers vs. Antonio Gates
Colts Dwight Freeney vs. Robert Mathis Broncos Tim Tebow vs. Von Miller
Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Blaine Gabbert Chiefs Dwayne Bowe vs. Derrick Johnson
Titans Jake Locker vs. Chris Johnson Raiders Sebastian Janikowski vs. Shane Lechler

NFC

Bears Jay Cutler vs. Matt Forte Rams Chris Long vs. Brandon Lloyd
Lions Calvin Johnson vs. Matt Stafford 49ers Vernon Davis vs. Patrick Willis
Vikings Percy Harvin vs. Jared Allen Seahawks Marshawn Lynch vs. Earl Thomas
Packers Aaron Rodgers vs. Clay Matthews Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald vs. Patrick Peterson
Falcons Matt Ryan vs. Julio Jones Eagles Michael Vick vs. LeSean McCoy
Saints Drew Brees vs. Jimmy Graham Giants Victor Cruz vs. Jason Pierre-Paul
Panthers Cam Newton vs. Steve Smith Cowboys Jason Witten vs. DeMarcus Ware
Buccaneers Josh Freeman vs. LeGarrette Blount Redskins Brian Orakpo vs. Ryan Kerrigan

The Madden NFL 13 cover vote marks the third-consecutive year that EA SPORTS has asked fans to help shape the face of the Madden NFL franchise through a cover athlete voting campaign.  It also marks the second year of its collaboration with ESPN’s SportsNation.

Madden NFL 13 is developed in Orlando, Florida by EA Tiburon.  For more information about Madden NFL 13, please visit: http://www.ea.com/madden-nfl. To download assets pertaining to the Madden NFL 13 please visit http://maddennfl13.newslinevine.com.

All player participation has been facilitated by National Football League Players Incorporated, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association.

EA SPORTS™ is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers experiences that ignite the emotions of sport through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA basketball, NCAA® Football, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, and EA SPORTS Active.

For more information about EA SPORTS, including news, video, blogs, forums and game apps, please visit www.easports.com to connect, share and compete.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.

In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.

EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Active, The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Mass Effect is a trademark of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd.  Battlefield is a trademark of EA Digital Illusions CE AB.  John Madden, NFL, FIFA, NHL, NBA, NCAA, Tiger Woods, and PGA TOUR are trademarks of their respective owners and used with permission.  Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Officially Licensed Product of National Football League Players Incorporated.

About SportsNation

SportsNation is a live sports television show born from the Internet, fueled by fan interaction and focused on fun.  The show, which has the youngest and most male audience on the ESPN network, features discussions of the day’s hottest sports topics but also smaller stories that generate buzz on the Web but are overlooked by other shows.  Feeding off the theory that if two heads are better than one, 200,000 heads are better than two, SportsNation engages hundreds of thousands of sports fans across the country via ESPN.com’s SportsNation page (http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/).

About ESPN Games and EA

ESPN’s long-standing relationship with EA produces deep brand integrations into console gaming titles such as EA SPORTS NCAA Football 12 and Fight Night Champion.  Additionally, the relationship in 2011 produced the biggest ESPN poll vote ever for the Madden NFL 12 cover vote, logging nearly 13 million votes, the most ESPN votes ever for a joint collaboration.  The Emmy award-winning EA Virtual Playbook also most recently extended to boxing and golf in 2011.

###

PLAY-IN ROUND VOTING THRU FACEBOOK & OPEN WEB

Thanks for your interest in SportsNation’s Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote.

EA Sports and ESPN’s SportsNation have chosen two players from each NFL team to be included in a social play-in round for the Madden NFL 13 cover.

Starting March 7th on SportsNation’s Facebook page and on voting matchups called ‘sapplets’ or ‘widgets’ embedded across open web (info below), fans will be able to vote on matchups from each NFL team to send one representative into the final bracket of 32 players at ESPN.com/MaddenVote on March 21st.

If you choose to embed one of the 32 individual voting ‘sapplets’, you can use the next page that includes all 32 embed codes for all 32 NFL teams. They post to your site much like a YouTube clip and can increase time spent on your site as well as traffic by generating debate about matchups.

The social Play-in vote launches on Wednesday, March 7th and closes two week later on Wednesday, March 21st. The Facebook tab and voting ‘sapplets’ will be live during those two weeks.

CHEAT SHEET:

WAY TO EMBED:

  • Go to page 2. Find your team.
  • Copy the embed code.
  • Paste the embed code onto your website where you would embed a YouTube clip.
  • The voting platform is ready and interactive on your page!
  • Please Note: do NOT embed on Tumblr and do NOT change the height & width

Canvas

NEW embed Code

49ers Vote

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Chiefs Vote

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Broncos Vote

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Chargers Vote

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Raiders Vote

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Cardinals Vote

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Rams Vote

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Seahawks Vote

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Dolphins Vote

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Jets Vote

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Bills Vote

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Patriots Vote

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Giants Vote

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Redskins Vote

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Eagles Vote

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Cowboys Vote

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Texans Vote

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Colts Vote

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Titans Vote

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Jaguars Vote

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Falcons Vote

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Panthers Vote

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Buccaneers Vote

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Saints Vote

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Browns Vote

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Ravens Vote

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Bengals Vote

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Steelers Vote

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Vikings Vote

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Lions Vote

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Bears Vote

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Packers Vote

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Original Baltimore Colts Charter, Unitas Super Bowl V Ring Sold at Saturday Auction

Posted on 04 February 2012 by WNST Staff

EXTON, PA—February 4th, 2012— An anonymous bidder paid $46,000 for a 2011 game used Tom Brady jersey at The Super Bowl XLVI Live Auction in Indianapolis Saturday tripling the presale estimated value. Hunt Auctions had estimated the jersey’s value at $10,000-$15,000 prior to the sale. The jersey was worn by New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady during the October 16th, 2011 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

“The record price for the Tom Brady jersey illustrates the appreciation for high quality game used items relating to the premier players in the game today. Hunt Auctions is honored to have once again partnered with NFL Auction to bring the very best of football memorabilia to fans and collectors across the country,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.

In addition to the Brady jersey other top bids in the auction included the certificate of membership to the NFL given to the Baltimore Colts in 1953 which sold for $34,500, a Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts 1970 Super Bowl V championship ring which sold for $14,375 and a 2003 Carolina Panthers NFC Championship ring which realized $10,436. Also impressive in today’s auction was a 2011 Denver Broncos Tim Tebow game used jersey which also tripled the presale estimate of $2,000-$4,000 selling at $14,950.

In it’s 4th year, The Super Bowl XLVI Live Auction is an annual event produced by Hunt Auctions, in partnership with NFL Auction and the NFL Players. A portion of the auction proceeds benefit NFL Charities.

The final selling prices of all the auction items is available online at www.huntauctions.com.

AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: 

Tom Brady game worn New England Patriots jersey (Presale estimate $10,000-$15,000) SALE PRICE $46,000

Baltimore Colts Certificate of Membership to the NFL c. 1953 (Presale estimated $20,000-$40,000) SALE PRICE $34,500.00

October 23, 2011 Tim Tebow autographed game worn Denver Broncos jersey. (Estimated Price $2,000-$4,000) SALE PRICE $14,950

Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts 1970 Super Bowl V Champions 10K gold ring (salesman’s sample). SALE PRICE $14,375

2003 Carolina Panthers NFC Championship 14K gold ring (Player’s ring). SALE PRICE $10,436

Ben Roethlisberger autographed game worn Pittsburgh Steelers jersey with 9/11 patch. SALE PRICE $10,102.75

ABOUT HUNT AUCTIONS: Exton, Pennsylvania based Hunt Auctions has been a leader in the sports memorabilia auction industry for close to two decades. Numerous former players and their families have trusted their collections with Hunt Auctions including Joe DiMaggio (HOF), Whitey Ford (HOF), Curt Flood, Leo Durocher (HOF), Robin Roberts (HOF), Earl Weaver (HOF), Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (HOF), Clem Labine, Mickey Vernon, Jake Pitler, Thurman Munson, Roy Campanella (HOF), Bucky Walters, Walter Johnson (HOF), Bill McKechnie (HOF), Willie Mosconi, and Norm Van Brocklin (HOF). Hunt Auctions is also the Official Auction Company of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and the Official Auctioneer of Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest. Hunt Auctions has worked with numerous institutions to include: The National Football League, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Chicago Bulls, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, and Baseball Assistance Team.

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Ravens Get Long Odds to Win Super Bowl

Posted on 05 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv). Below are wild card team props, exact playoff results for each team, players stats for the four wild card games this weekend, and odds for defensive player of the year. There’s also a quote from Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager Kevin Bradley on the playoffs.

“A few weeks back the New York Giants were up to 100-1 to win the Super Bowl and we could not write a bet on them, but with their resurgence the last few weeks they are the fancy pick going into the playoffs with the bettors at 20-1 and now we even had to drop them to 18-1 because of the volume we are taking on them. They have gone from one of our biggest winners on Super Bowl futures to our biggest loser, so even though I like the way they have been playing especially on D with Pierre-Paul and think they are peaking at right time I could not be more of a Falcons fan this weekend!”-Kevin Bradley, Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager

Wild Card Team Props
2012 NFL Playoffs – How many Wild Card teams will win this weekend?        Over      1.5        -180    
Under    1.5        +150           

2012 NFL Playoffs – How many Wild Card teams will win this weekend?        0                      10/1
1                      9/5
2                      7/4
3                      4/1
4                      30/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – Will a Wild Card team win the Super Bowl?       
Yes                  6/1
No                    1/10

2012 NFL Playoffs – Will a Wild Card team play in the Super Bowl?  
Yes                  +220
No                    -280

Exact Playoff Results For Each Team
2012 NFL Playoffs – Green Bay Packers Playoff Progress       
Eliminated in NFC Divisional Round                     13/4
Eliminated in NFC Championship Game               3/1
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       3/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        9/5

2012 NFL Playoffs – New England Patriots Playoff Progress    
Eliminated in AFC Divisional Round                     3/1
Eliminated in AFC Championship Game               2/1
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       2/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        4/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – San Francisco 49ers Playoff Progress      
Eliminated in NFC Divisional Round                     11/10
Eliminated in NFC Championship Game               6/5
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       10/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        11/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – Baltimore Ravens Playoff Progress          
Eliminated in AFC Divisional Round                     2/1
Eliminated in AFC Championship Game               5/4
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       15/4
Super Bowl Champion                                        15/2

2012 NFL Playoffs – New Orleans Saints Playoff Progress       
Eliminated in NFC Wild Card Round                    9/2
Eliminated in NFC Divisional Round                     11/4
Eliminated in NFC Championship Game               7/5
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       8/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        9/2

2012 NFL Playoffs – Houston Texans Playoff Progress            
Eliminated in AFC Wild Card Round                    7/5
Eliminated in AFC Divisional Round                     1/1       
Eliminated in AFC Championship Game               6/1
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       20/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        40/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – New York Giants Playoff Progress            
Eliminated in NFC Wild Card Round                    7/4
Eliminated in NFC Divisional Round                     5/6
Eliminated in NFC Championship Game               9/1
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       16/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        18/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – Denver Broncos Playoff Progress             
Eliminated in AFC Wild Card Round                    1/4
Eliminated in AFC Divisional Round                     9/2
Eliminated in AFC Championship Game               14/1
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       25/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        50/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – Atlanta Falcons Playoff Progress             
Eliminated in NFC Wild Card Round                    5/8
Eliminated in NFC Divisional Round                     11/4
Eliminated in NFC Championship Game               9/2
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       22/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        35/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – Pittsburgh Steelers Playoff Progress        
Eliminated in AFC Wild Card Round                    3/1
Eliminated in AFC Divisional Round                     6/5
Eliminated in AFC Championship Game               3/1
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       13/2
Super Bowl Champion                                        11/1 2012

NFL Playoffs – Detroit Lions Playoff Progress      
Eliminated in NFC Wild Card Round                    1/6
Eliminated in NFC Divisional Round                     5/1
Eliminated in NFC Championship Game               16/1     
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       30/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        40/1

2012 NFL Playoffs – Cincinnati Bengals Playoff Progress        
Eliminated in AFC Wild Card Round                    2/3
Eliminated in AFC Divisional Round                     8/5
Eliminated in AFC Championship Game               10/1
Super Bowl Runner Up                                       30/1
Super Bowl Champion                                        65/1

CIN vs. HOU Player Stats
Total Rushing Yards – Cedric Benson (CIN)    
Over./Under                   62½ 

Total Receiving Yards – A.J. Green (CIN)        
Over/Under                    67½ 

Total Rushing Yards – Arian Foster (HOU)       
Over/Under                    105½ 

Who will record more Passing Yards in the game?    
Andy Dalton (CIN) QB                -9½     
T.J. Yates (HOU) QB                  +9½      

Who will record more TD Passes in the game?          
Andy Dalton (CIN) QB                8/5
T.J. Yates (HOU) QB                  8/5
Tie                                            2/1

Who will record more Interceptions in the game?     
Andy Dalton (CIN) QB                3/2
T.J. Yates (HOU ) QB                 7/4
Tie                                            2/1

DET vs. NO Player Stats
Total Passing Yards – Matthew Stafford (DET)            
Over/Under                    300½ 

Total TD Passes – Matthew Stafford (DET)      
Over                              2½ (+135)
Under                            2½  (-165)

Total Interceptions – Matthew Stafford (DET)  
Over                              ½  (-200)
Under                            ½ (+160)           

Total Completions – Matthew Stafford (DET)   
Over/Under                    26½ 

Total Receiving Yards – Calvin Johnson (DET)           
Over/Under                    100½ 

Will Calvin Johnson (DET) score a TD in the game?   
Yes                  -190    
No                    +155     

Will Ndamukong Suh (DET) get a 15 yard penalty in the game?         Over                              2/1                   

Total Passing Yards – Drew Brees (NO)          
Over/Under                    330½ 

Total TD Passes – Drew Brees (NO)    
Over                              2½  (-165)
Under                            2½ (+135)

Total Interceptions – Drew Brees (NO)            
Over                              ½  (-175)
Under                            ½ (+145)

Total Receiving Yards – Marques Colston (NO)           
Over/Under                    80½ 

Total Receiving Yards – Jimmy Graham (NO)
Over/Under                    80½                                    

Will Jimmy Graham (NO) score a TD in the game?    
Yes                  -150    
No                    +120     

Which team will have more time of possession in the game?           
Detroit Lions                  +120
New Orleans Saints       -150

New Orleans 3rd down conversion % in the game     
Over/Under                    50%      

ATL vs. NYG Player Stats
Total Passing Yards – Matt Ryan (ATL)           
Over/Under                    265½            

Total Rushing Yards – Michael Turner (ATL)   
Over/Under                    75½ 

Total Receiving Yards – Roddy White (ATL)   
Over/Under                    77½                                    

Total Receiving Yards – Julio Jones (ATL)      
Over/Under                    70½ 

Total Passing Yards – Eli Manning (NYG)        
Over/Under                    295½ 

Total Receiving Yards – Hakeem Nicks (NYG)
Over/Under                    80½ 

Total Receiving Yards – Victor Cruz (NYG)     
Over/Under                    85½ 

Longest Reception – Victor Cruz (NYG)           
Over/Under                    45.5 Yards        

DEN vs. PIT Player Stats
Total Passing Yards – Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)          
Over/Under                    265½            

Total Rushing Yards – Isaac Redman (PIT)     
Over/Under                    79½ 

Total Receiving Yards – Mike Wallace (PIT)   
Over/Under                    70½ 

Total Passing Yards – Tim Tebow (DEN)         
Over                              150½ 

Total TD Passes – Tim Tebow (DEN)   
Over                              1 (+120)
Under                            1  (-150)

Total Interceptions – Tim Tebow (DEN)           
Over/Under                    1/2 

Total Rushing Yards – Tim Tebow (DEN)         
Over/Under                    45½ 

Total Rushing Attempts – Tim Tebow (DEN)    
Over/Under                    8½ 

Total Completions – Tim Tebow (DEN)            
Over/Under                    10½ 

Will Tim Tebow (DEN) score a Rushing TD in the game?       
Yes                  +145    
No                    -175     

(PIT vs DEN) Total Offensive Yards allowed by the Steelers    Over/Under                    265½ 

Awards Odds
Who will win NFL Defensive Player of the Year?       
Terrell Suggs (BAL)                    5/6
Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG)             5/4
Jared Allen (MIN)                       5/1
Darrelle Revis (NYJ)                   7/1
DeMarcus Ware (DAL)               7/1
Charles Woodson (GB)               10/1

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Suggs says Pittsburgh is his Madison Square Garden

Posted on 02 November 2011 by WNST Staff

It’s Pittsburgh week in Owings Mills and Terrell Suggs always has some thoughts on his mind about Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward. Here’s his thoughts when pressed by Nestor Aparicio:

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Rex goes to Walmart .....

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Rex goes to Walmart …..

Posted on 03 February 2011 by Rex Snider

If you listen to my show or follow me on Facebook, there is a pretty good chance you’ve heard me crack a joke about Steelers fans and their affection for the friendly confines of Walmart.  My reasoning is simple; on the rare occasions I visit a Walmart, I always spot a Roethlisberger or Polamalu-jersied fan.

It is what it is, I suppose …..

Well, earlier this evening I was tasked with traveling to the Walmart, located in Arbutus, to pickup a new cellphone for my daughter.  She just NEEDED the new Blackberry and Wally World was selling it for 97 cents, on a limited basis.  The same phone is $99 at the local AT&T store.

For those who really know me, I will pretty much go anywhere to save a few bucks, let alone $98.03 …..

So, as I waited at Walmart’s cellphone counter, for nearly two hours, my exhaustion was met with one of the most intriguing sights I’ve seen in recent visits to “America’s Super Store”.  It was an image I’ve never, EVER, seen in my 43 years.

Get ready Steelers fans …. This is undoubtedly the moment you have been waiting for …..

 

Your eyes are not deceiving your brain …..

Indeed, I encountered a lady with purple hair !!!!  Of course, she sported the matching Ravens jacket to boost the overall appeal.  Let me say she was wearing it proudly, too !!!!

I noticed customers were gawking and some were even breaking out their cellphones for a paparazzi-like photo opportunity.  Can you believe people have such nerve?

Here we stand, nearly three entire weeks beyond the Ravens painful demise, at the hands of Ben Roethlisberger and his Pittsburgh cronies.  Yet, this FAN still shows her colors and defies the upcoming Super Bowl matchup.

Where else can you find such tradition and loyalty? 

So, what do you think my next step was?  You’ll have to “click” to the next page to find out …..

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Confessions of a lifetime of hatred for Pittsburgh from a real Baltimore sports fan

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s a big, emotional week of football in Baltimore and the reason it’s so significant is because of our civic desire to have another purple parade at the Inner Harbor and the sheer nausea we all feel in the pits of our bellies about the fact that at 8 p.m. on Saturday night this could be the worse loss of our lives all over again.

Just like all of our January losses to the likes of Indianapolis and Pittsburgh and Cleveland and New York.

Or, it can potentially extinguish the 40 years of domination from the city of Pittsburgh, but specifically the Steelers and their arrogant, obnoxious fan base here in the region.

This is an epic throwdown between two cities that don’t like each other but a rivalry that is so embarrassingly lopsided that it makes the Roadrunner look like a winner.

I’m up to my eyeballs in rattlesnakes throwing parties, organizing bus trips and running WNST.net – 12 hours of radio, the daily newspaper, text service plus all of our social media endeavors on Facebook and Twitter that truly is Baltimore’s best and most comprehensive sports coverage in the world. And for those of you who know me, you know what a massive time commitment it is being a washed up sports talk show host and new media entrepreneur of the station that no one listens to but the website and social media that everyone in Baltimore seems to visit and read.

This whole “Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore” thing takes on such a personal, vitriolic part of my inner soul that it’s almost best that I not focus on it too much and keep my head down and wait for the game at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday to release that part of my energy.

But some jackasses from the “out of town media club” (which encompasses the greater part of the whole local scene outside of WNST.net) have written, said and defended their typically insensitive and uneducated remarks just to remind us how out of touch and clueless they really are about what this community is about and WHY the Ravens are important in the first place.

Nothing in the local sports community divides like Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. The Colts thing, while far from dormant, is now a distant second place. And the “I Hate Washington Club” is shrinking because the Redskins and Nationals are weak and irrelevant and the Capitals are the fastest growing brand in Baltimore and I have statistics to prove it.

And the out-of-town media geniuses all talk about expertise, ethics and journalism while all taking a chunk of your Orioles/MASN money to hush up criticism of an oozing, open sports cancer in Baltimore while waving purple pompoms in January like they really care about the Ravens and like they invented Festivus.

To anyone with half a brain from Baltimore, it’s insulting.

I attended a Smart CEO event last Thursday night where I was summarily subjected to a pair of morning show faux sports imposters from Boston and New York standing in front of a room full of mostly Baltimore upper-crust businessmen and patronizing them

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With Big Ben & Polamalu out, no excuses for Ravens tonight

Posted on 29 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As we all now know, the Steelers will play tonight’s game here in Baltimore without their two best players, with the late subtraction of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joining safety Troy Polamalu in the black and gold infirmary.

It is not lost on any Ravens fan that tonight it’s clearly: advantage Baltimore.

Big Ben, as ‘yins from ‘donton affectionately call him, has been poison for anything in purple since he entered the league. He is the Ravens kryptonite. Polamalu’s interception of Joe Flacco in Pittsburgh last January must be considered the most heartbreaking play in the history of the franchise.

I don’t think I need to remind you that the Ravens are on a three-game losing streak to our friendly neighbors from the northwest.

Or that this is their first appearance on Baltimore turf since hoisting a second Lombardi Trophy to the Tampa skies last Febuary.

Or that, at 5-5, a loss to the Steelers tonight will effectively end the Ravens season.

I hate the Steelers. You hate the Steelers.

Let’s hope that attitude — and a few first downs and quarterback pressures along with some goofy white towels we’ll all be waving — are enough to keep the Ravens season alive tonight.

I get the feeling we’ll be feeling the loss of Fabian Washington more than we realize — just like when Chris McAlister went away two years ago — but there are no excuses for a Ravens loss tonight.

We can’t cry about Terrell Suggs not suiting up (of course, John Harbaugh has played the cat and mouse injury report game all week with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.)

Flacco needs to be crisp and sharp. Billy Cundiff can’t miss field goals. Matt Katula needs to snap straight. The offensive line can’t create pre-snap penalties. The defensive front seven must make Dennis Dixon run for his life like the rookie quarterback he is tonight.

The game is on national television. It can’t be a coming out party for some guy from Oregon we’ve never heard of.

The only thing worse than losing to the Steelers at home to effectively end our season with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving would be the thought that it happened at the hands of some guy named Dennis Dixon putting on a black and gold cape.

A disturbing thought.

Let’s hope we don’t go there…

The Ravens must win tonight.

My updated prediction: Ravens 34, Steelers 9

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Sitting Big Ben Smart Move by Steelers

Posted on 28 November 2009 by Ed Frankovic

Ben Roethlisberger is out for tomorrow’s big Ravens-Steelers tilt on NBC despite being cleared to practice this week after he suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. If you are a Ravens fan you are happy about that because this pretty much guarantees a Baltimore victory on Sunday. If you are a Steelers fan, you probably are upset right now but if you stop and think about it, you should be very happy about the decision to not start #7 this week because it is absolutely the correct move for several reasons.

First and simply put, head injuries are not something to fool around with, just ask Steve Young and Troy Aikman about that.

Second, all you need to do is look at the Steelers remaining schedule and realize that this “must win” contest for the Ravens is not one for Pittsburgh. The Steelers, after tomorrow night’s likely loss to the Ravens that would drop them to 6-5, then have Oakland at home, are at Cleveland, return home to play Green Bay and Baltimore before finishing at Miami. If they were to play Big Ben tomorrow and he were to get hurt against a very physical Ravens defense they would be throwing their season away because they would be forced to go with their third string QB the rest of the way. However, if they sit Roethlisberger against the Ravens and let him get healthy for another week they are much more likely to wind up going 5-0 or 4-1 in their remaining five contests and easily make the playoffs.

Simply put, the Steelers season is in the balance if they risk putting #7 out there against a Ravens defense that is desperate. Add in a hostile stadium where crowd noise will be a major advantage for Ray Lewis and company and all it would take is for one missed Steelers blocking assignment to result in a big hit on Roethlisberger. A major blow that causes him to hit the artifical turf at M&T Bank stadium could force Roethlisberger to miss several more weeks. Surely Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have thought about this scenario and realize not playing Big Ben on Sunday night is the right way to go?

As much as Pittsburgh and their fans are going to hate to lose the battle to Baltimore this week, they should realize that they likely need to do this in order to have a chance at winning the war (i.e, make the playoffs and have a shot at the Lombardi Trophy).

As a Ravens fan, I am happy about this and will gladly wait to take my chances against Big Ben and the Steelers again later in December. After all, a Baltimore loss tomorrow likely has the Ravens thinking more about a draft pick than the playoffs. But if I were a Steelers fan, and thank goodness I am not, I would realize that the Pittsburgh organization is making the smart decision for this season and beyond by sitting one of the best QB’s in the NFL against a defense that must produce for its team on Sunday night and will not hold anything back.

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Hey John: You can’t be 4-4 and seriously talk playoffs

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Just judging from the sheer volume of social media I consumed all day yesterday, the fan base here is in “quit on the 2009 season” mode. The lofty expectations following a rookie campaign for John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco that ended in the AFC Championship Game led all of us in the Charm City to feel as though this year would somehow be better.

Well, we’re halfway through the race and things haven’t gone according to the best laid plan.

The Ravens have lost four of their last five, including yesterday’s turd in Cincinnati. The team, overall, just hasn’t been as good as advertised in many ways. The Bengals have now embarrassed the Ravens twice in four weeks en route to sole possession of the AFC North lead and have earned the right to crow.

While yesterday’s loss certainly felt like more of a beatdown than the final score — and we’ll get to Steve Hauschka’s missed kick in a minute — the NFL only counts one thing en route to a playoff berth in the tournament: wins. And right now, at 4-4, this isn’t going to get it done.

I could make excuses for all of the other three losses — and losing in the waning seconds on the road to New England and Minnesota doesn’t make you a bad team. But the pair of losses to the Bengals has been illuminating, especially when you consider Marvin Lewis’ recipe for building a team with a 6-2 start.

The Bengals have just about everything you’d want — a world-class quarterback with a world-class wide receiver and a running back who runs like Jamal Lewis with a line that’s got a nasty streak. On defense, they’ve built through a young linebacking corps (sound familiar?) and a pair of first-round cornerbacks who allow the safeties and linebackers to play hardball with the pass rush. Oh, yeah — they also arguably have the best kicker in the sport.

The Ravens, as was in full display yesterday, are sorely lacking in various departments but especially the ability to get off the field consistently on 3rd down on defense. It’s been a defensive franchise for the better part of 11 seasons. All good things must end and the 2009 defense is not up to “Play Like a Raven” standards.

Is that Greg Mattsion’s fault? Is that because of the clear falloff at the cornerback position? Is it not having Rex Ryan? Is Bart Scott missed that much? Is Ed Reed OK? Will Haloti Ngata be injured all year?

The entire secondary was beaten in coverage during the first half and the penalties were dreadful. All over the field. Ray Lewis is still the Ravens best player when Ngata is not dressed and that speaks volumes.

The first three losses were “excused” in my opinion. Yesterday, however, did a lot to expose the Ravens as a team that’s pretty good but not a serious playoff contender, especially not with that secondary and lack of pass rush.

Sure, Haloti Ngata’s absence needs to be factored into the equation in the Bengals debacle, but the Ravens have sufficient depth at that position and I’m not sure Ngata would’ve been a difference maker in the outcome yesterday in Cincinnati.

As for the offense, Joe Flacco just was not good enough yesterday, nor was the offensive line, which played its worst game of the season. Penalties? All over the place and ill-timed. Productivity? How about making their first third-down conversion in the fourth quarter? That’s just putrid, unacceptable and not worthy of the NFL playoffs.

They didn’t run well. They didn’t pass well. They were out of sync all day and Flacco looked bewildered during his short stints in the first half. Flacco has now dropped five straight to teams led by Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer.

Derrick Mason and Ray Lewis declined to comment after the game yesterday but I’m sure they’ll have something to say on Wednesday at The Castle.

Harbaugh did his usual tap dance around any tough questions from the media — (memo to John: denying that the team doesn’t tackle well is laughable at this point) — but it’s easy to do what you want when you’re in the AFC Championship Game and things are going better than advertised.

But when the team is a disappointing 4-4 at the turn and the one decision that’s truly pinned to Harbaugh’s special teams badge of expertise — the banishment of kicker Matt Stover in the offseason — costing the team team parts of two of the losses, the questions are only going to get tougher around the head coach and around Steve Hauschka.

This team was supposed to go to the playoffs. This team was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. The “upgrades” of the offseason were well-calculated and the draft went well. The Ravens and the fanbase were not prepared to be swept by the Bengals and be 4-4 at the turn.

All eyes will now turn to Cleveland, where the Ravens most certainly will awaken eight days from now at 5-4. Right? We can only hope…

The Ravens have amassed four losses and haven’t yet seen the Steelers, the Colts or a frigid December night at Lambeau Field and a West Coast trip to the zoo in Oakland in early 2010. There’s a lot of football left to be played.

The Ravens will sort this out on the field. They need to go 6-2 to have a chance. They need to go 7-1 to be assured of a spot.

If they do it, they’ll be good enough. If they lose two more times to the Steelers, they’ll be playing golf on Jan. 4th and deservedly so.

And if that happens, John Harbaugh’s gonna have a lotta ‘esplainin’ to do at that postseason press conference while he sits next to Steve Bisciotti and the Steelers and Bengals are still playing football…

Things like:

What really happened in the decision to replace Matt Stover with Steve Hauschka?

What really happened with Chris McAlister and how did we get sold that Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr are upgrades?

Why all the penalties?

Where is the pass rush?

Where is Willis McGahee?

Where is the urgency on offense when the team is down two scores with three minutes left?

Of course, Harbaugh doesn’t really like the tough questions but they’re coming. It’s a tough job. It’s been a lot of fun, this honeymoon of riches and a great start to his era in Baltimore. Getting to the AFC Championship Game as a rookie head coach indeed buys you a hall pass for a while.

I have a feeling a lot of that ended yesterday, with a sweep to the Bengals and a 4-4 record at the turn.

But, as Brian Billick would no doubt tell him, these Monday mornings aren’t a whole lot of fun when the town gets disappointed and the team plays poorly.

And someone has to answer the questions…

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