Tag Archive | "san diego"

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Blast, other MISL teams to unify indoor soccer in PASL

Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Staff

The Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) Management, in conjunction with management from the Baltimore Blast, San Diego Sockers, and Missouri Comets have created a new partnership for all of the current PASL teams, and former MISL teams, that will unify professional arena/indoor soccer. The announcement was made in a special halftime ceremony at today’s NWSL FC Kansas City home opener.

The league and teams will be working hard the next couple weeks to get all of the lease agreements and final paperwork done for every team that will be part of the new partnership.  ”Getting this done in a timely manner was extremely important for all of the teams that will be taking part,” said PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken.  ”We all received a lot of feedback from team owners that played in both leagues, but needed to have a small group with specific skills and experience to do the final negotiating for everyone, so we could get this done quickly.

“This is such a wonderful moment for the PASL, of course, but for arena soccer as a sport,” Milliken continued. ”To get from the level of acrimony that existed between various leagues when we started the Premier Arena Soccer League (the PASL’s amateur developmental league) in 1998 to the camaraderie that exists between owners now is something that people said could not be done.

“We would like to thank Blast owner Ed Hale, Comets owner Brad Likens, and Sockers owner Phil Salvagio  for taking leadership and having the vision to make this happen,” said Milliken. “The combined history and experience of these owners is going to really accelerate our growth and their contributions will be invaluable.”
The league will have around 20 teams in the US and Mexico and will be considered the top level of arena soccer in North America.  The timing of the agreement is significant because the PASL will be hosting the first ever WMF World Cup of Arena Soccer in February/March 2015.
“For the first time the US National Arena Soccer Team will have access to all of the best talent in the country and we will have a bigger pool of potential host cities to showcase our six-a-side boarded arena soccer to the rest of the world,” states US National Arena Soccer Team head coach Phil Salvagio. .
Heading into its seventh season, the PASL has enjoyed a period of tremendous growth.  From eight teams in 2008-09, the league swelled to 20 teams this season, while attendance has increased 105% since 2011-12.  Average attendance is projected to jump another 50% or more in the upcoming season with the addition of the new teams.
While the new partnership has positioned itself as the future of arena soccer it now also has a rich pedigree in the sport’s history.  The league’s Dallas Sidekicks will be celebrating 30 years since their founding and the San Diego Sockers history can be traced back to the 1970s.

The Baltimore Blast franchise was founded in 1992, but Baltimore has had continuous arena soccer since 1980, winning seven championships.

The Missouri Comets, based in Independence, won the most recent MISL championship in March. The Comets name dates back to 1981 and the Kansas City area has enjoyed almost 30 seasons of arena soccer.

The leagues owners meeting is May 17th and 18th in Baltimore, and will be having a formal press conference on Monday May 19th, time and location TBD. The majority of the teams, division layout, and any other changes will be announced then.
About Professional Arena Soccer League and Premier Arena Soccer League

The PASL is a professional league which began play on October 25, 2008.  The league, which concluded its sixth season with the Chicago Mustangs claiming the Newman Cup on March 16, is the largest and longest-running arena soccer organization in the US. The Tulsa Revolution, Ontario Fury, Wichita B-52s, Monterrey Flash, Saltillo Rancho Seco, Cleveland Freeze, and Bay Area Rosal were added for the 2013/14 season. The PASL-Premier just concluded its 16th season as the nation’s top amateur arena soccer league and is the official developmental league of the PASL. Both the PASL and PASL-Premier are members of Confederacion Panamerica de Minifutbol (CPM).

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Ravens enter Monday night controlling own path to AFC North title

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Ravens enter Monday night controlling own path to AFC North title

Posted on 16 December 2013 by Luke Jones

Sunday’s NFL action brought good and bad news to the Ravens as they traveled to Detroit for a critical nationally-televised meeting with the Lions.

With Cincinnati falling hard to Pittsburgh in a 30-20 final at Heinz Field Sunday night, the Ravens now control their own path to a third consecutive AFC North title if they are able to win their final three games to conclude the regular season. Should Baltimore beat Detroit and New England next Sunday, a Week 17 meeting with the Bengals would decide the division as the Ravens would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincinnati with a victory in the season finale.

However, the bad news for the 7-6 Ravens Sunday was the Miami Dolphins earning an impressive win over New England to temporarily land in the No. 6 spot in the AFC with an 8-6 record. Baltimore owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami with a Week 5 win earlier in the season, but the Dolphins finish the season with a road game against Buffalo in Week 16 and a home game against the Jets in Week 17, leaving the Ravens with an even smaller margin for error than anticipated a couple weeks ago.

With Miami and 7-7 San Diego both scoring big wins in Week 15, the Ravens were reminded that there will be no such thing as backing into the playoffs like they did a year ago in losing four of their last five to finish 10-6 before making their remarkable run to Super Bowl XLVII. It’s becoming apparent that the AFC postseason is void of any juggernauts — like Seattle is shaping up to be in the NFC — and is setting up nicely for any one team to get hot at the perfect time, but the Ravens’ biggest obstacle is now to simply qualify for the tournament.

Perhaps the biggest message to take away from Sunday’s action is that the Ravens need to continue to win and build on the momentum created by a three-game winning streak to finish out their recent homestand. Otherwise, they’ll be depending on help from other teams to advance to the postseason for a sixth consecutive season, and that’s never a good feeling to be playing difficult games at the end of the season while needing to keep an eye on the scoreboard.

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Contender or pretender: Sizing up the AFC wild-card race

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Contender or pretender: Sizing up the AFC wild-card race

Posted on 03 December 2013 by Luke Jones

For the Ravens and a number of other AFC teams who’ve plodded along with a .500 record or slightly worse through the first three quarters of the 2013 season, the final sprint is here in determining who will grab the coveted second wild-card spot as Kansas City is all but guaranteed the No. 5 seed.

Of course, coach John Harbaugh and his team still hold hope that their Week 17 meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals will provide an opportunity to play for the AFC North title, but the Ravens will need their division counterpart to slip up to reduce the deficit to just one game entering that final contest at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 29. In the meantime, the Ravens simply must focus on winning games and securing their current grip on the No. 6 seed in the AFC as their 6-6 record equals the Dolphins — and an Oct. 6 victory over Miami gives them the tie-breaking nod.

Following this Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings that concludes the current three-game homestand, the Ravens have the most difficult path of any of the wild-card contenders over the final three weeks in playing three teams projected to land in the postseason. Baltimore figures to need to win three of its final four games in the final month for a good chance to maintain its grip on the No. 6 seed, meaning the Ravens will likely need to win two of three against Detroit, New England, and Cincinnati and only the Patriots game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 16.

The Ravens’ 6-4 conference record stacks up well with the rest of the field, but the outcome of their two remaining AFC games will loom large should they find themselves in a number of tie-breaking situations.

Here’s a look at the rest of the field as I determine who the contenders and the pretenders are:

MIAMI (6-6) – CONTENDER
Conference record: 5-3
Remaining schedule: at Pittsburgh, New England, at Buffalo, New York Jets
Skinny: It would have been unsurprising to see the Dolphins fold in November with the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation hanging over their heads, but Miami has rebounded from an embarrassing loss to Tampa Bay to win two of its last three. The Dolphins are in the best position to challenge the Ravens mathematically, but their next two games will make or break them as they go to Heinz Field before playing the Patriots at home. Just one win over the Steelers or New England would put incredible heat on the Ravens over the final two weeks against difficult opponents. Of course, the Dolphins’ Week 5 loss to Baltimore continues to doom them if those two teams finish tied for the No. 6 spot with no one else in the mix.

TENNESSEE (5-7) – PRETENDER
Conference record: 4-5
Remaining schedule: at Denver, Arizona, at Jacksonville, Houston
Skinny: Their current record and remaining schedule still suggest the Titans have a slim chance, but the season-ending injury to quarterback Jake Locker last month and two losses to a vulnerable Indianapolis team in their last three games have all but sealed their fate. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick had been playing well before an awful performance this past Sunday, but the next two games figure to be the final nails in the coffin to the Titans’ playoff hopes. Tennessee started fast this season, but only two wins since the start of October clearly scream pretender in an already-mediocre field.

PITTSBURGH (5-7) – CONTENDER
Conference record: 4-5
Remaining schedule: Miami, Cincinnati, at Green Bay, Cleveland
Skinny: Many eulogized the Steelers’ season following the Thanksgiving night result, but Pittsburgh could still be the biggest threat in the wild-card race with three remaining home games. A normally-intimidating trip to Lambeau Field in Week 16 to take on the Packers could also be easier should Aaron Rodgers be shut down for the rest of the season as some are speculating. A Steelers win over the Bengals in Week 15 would help the Ravens in their quest for the division title, but Baltimore’s season split with Pittsburgh creates a more complicated tiebreaker that could come down to division record or even record in common games. Perhaps more than anything else, Ravens fans begrudgingly know it’s never a good idea to count out Ben Roethlisberger, meaning the Steelers still have a shot.

SAN DIEGO (5-7) – PRETENDER
Conference record: 3-6
Remaining schedule: New York Giants, at Denver, Oakland, Kansas City
Skinny: The Chargers’ home loss to Cincinnati on Sunday not only failed to do the Ravens any favors in the AFC North race but landed Mike McCoy’s team in the pretender category. San Diego has arguably looked better than any of the other wild-card contenders — the Ravens included — when playing at its best, but inconsistency has once again plagued the Chargers as it seems to annually. They have three remaining home games, but the Chargers have already lost three games at Qualcomm Stadium and are just as likely to lay an egg against the Giants or the Raiders than to pull off an upset over the Broncos or the Chiefs. Their abysmal conference record won’t do them any favors in a tie-breaking scenario, so San Diego’s only real hope is to run the table.

NEW YORK (5-7) – PRETENDER
Conference record: 2-7
Remaining schedule: Oakland, at Carolina, Cleveland, at Miami
Skinny: Only two weeks ago we were talking about the Jets holding the No. 6 spot in the conference, but they’ve crashed and burned since then with a road loss to the Ravens and an embarrassing home defeat to Miami by 20 points this past Sunday. Their quarterback situation is the worst of any of the teams still vying for a wild-card spot as Geno Smith hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since before Halloween. The Jets’ remaining schedule isn’t awful, but they appear far more likely to lose their four remaining games than to go on a run necessary to land the No. 6 seed. New York was still better than many expected this year, but a dysfunctional offense has finally sunk the Jets after some impressive wins earlier in the season.

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Despite crowded wild-card picture, Ravens’ task clear over final month

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Despite crowded wild-card picture, Ravens’ task clear over final month

Posted on 02 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens entered the weekend with the rare chance to not only rest but take a long look at the rest of a crowded AFC playoff picture.

Moving into the No. 6 spot in the conference by way of their 22-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday night, the Ravens could give thanks at the end of the holiday weekend for still holding the final wild-card position due to their tie-breaking win over the 6-6 Miami Dolphins earlier in the season. But four teams linger with 5-7 records, and different factors are working for and against them in the chase to play football in January.

There’s plenty of watching and wondering what will happen over the season’s final four weeks.

“Everybody is playing everybody right now,” coach John Harbaugh said. “With so many teams involved, it’s going to be the way it’s going to be. One team wins, another teams loses. A lot of times, it helps us either way, and it hurts us both ways — it doesn’t really matter.”

The Dolphins have only one game remaining against teams that are .500 or better (New England).

Pittsburgh plays three of its final four games at Heinz Field and only one of those four contests comes against an opponent with a winning record (Cincinnati).

Despite a crippling quarterback situation, the New York Jets play only one team with a winning record and it’s an NFC opponent (Carolina).

After a disappointing home loss to the Bengals that did no favors to the Ravens’ AFC North title hopes, the Chargers still play three of the final four games at home.

And even 5-7 Tennessee has games remaining against Jacksonville and Houston, two of the worst teams in the NFL.

It’s a lot to process as we start tracking conference marks, records against common opponents, and strength of victory, but Harbaugh and the Ravens choose to focus only on what they can control with so many scenarios still alive with four games to go. The hope of a division title will depend on the Bengals slipping at least once or twice leading into the Week 17 meeting between the teams in Cincinnati, but advancing to the postseason for a sixth consecutive season is a clear path if the Ravens can avoid treacherous detours along the way.

“What matters is us; we just have to win,” Harbaugh said. “If we win games, things are going to work out for us. If we don’t, things are going to be tough. That’s what we have to take care of; we have to take care of ourselves.”

Though facing the best running back on the planet in Adrian Peterson doesn’t sound like a layup, the Ravens will face their last opponent with a record below .500 Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings come to town to conclude a three-game homestand. After that, the road becomes bumpier than at any other point this season with a Monday night road game at NFC North-leading Detroit, a Sunday night home finale against AFC East-leading New England, and a regular-season finale in Cincinnati.

The Ravens hold the one-game edge over all No. 6 seed contenders after Miami, but they’ll still need to win three of their final four to get to the 9-7 mark, a standard that would very likely put them in the postseason. An 8-8 record could still conceivably land the No. 6 seed in the AFC, but such a path will depend on tie-breakers and considerable help from other results.

The good news is Baltimore appears to be getting hot at the right time. After winning two straight for only the second time all season, the Ravens are back at .500 and are on the verge of getting tight end Dennis Pitta back to provide a boost to a below-average offense. Experience is certainly on their side as they can simply point to last year to remember it’s all about clicking when the stakes are at their highest.

However, these Ravens are also 1-5 on the road and figure to need to win at least one of their final two road games. Only one of Baltimore’s six wins — their Nov. 10 home win over the Bengals — has come against teams currently holding a winning record and only one other victory — an Oct. 6 win at Miami — came against a team at the .500 mark.

The Ravens believe they’re getting better and are peaking at the right time. They’ll have every opportunity to show that in the month of December.

Their playoff lives will depend on it.

“We are in position to control our own destiny,” Harbaugh said. “That is what you try to accomplish going into December, so we’ve accomplished that. Now it’s up to us to make the most of it and to go ahead and control our destiny, win the games we have to win, starting with this one – and this is the only one that matters right now – and take it from there.”

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The 15-7-0 is so good you’d forfeit every draft pick to get it

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The 15-7-0 is so good you’d forfeit every draft pick to get it

Posted on 02 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

15 positive observations from the weekend of football, seven not so positive observations and we acknowledge a “zero” from outside the world of football. A reminder, there’s never any Ravens game analysis here. We do plenty of that elsewhere. It’s a trip through the weekend of football via videos, GIFs, memes, pictures, links, Tweets and shtick.

This is the 13th full edition of The 15-7-0 this season. Similarly, if you walk to your car right now and spend an hour listening to your favorite Christmas music radio station, you’ll hear “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey 13 times.

15 Positive Observations…

1. Thanks for your help, kind Cincinnati Bengals! Also, thanks for nothing you stupid Cincinnati Bengal jerks!

Here’s a GIF to prove the game happened.

Now here’s one of those new Amazon drones because they’re WAAAAY more interesting.

2. A lot of people are calling the end of Auburn-Alabama the greatest finish in the history of football, but that’s only because they missed my family’s annual Thanksgiving game where the old guys called the “Double-reverse-fake-the-handoff-to-grandpa-then-stop-the-game-for-a-minute-so-the-young-guys-can-help-grandpa-back-up-because-he-hurt-his-hip-then-start-the-game-back-up-without-telling-the-kids-anything-and-bounce-the-ball-off-the-four-year-old’s-head-and-play-monkey-in-the-middle-for-a-few-minutes-to-try-to-tire-the-kids-out-so-that-they-don’t-break-everything-in-the-house-after-dinner-in-a-crazed-rage-then-throw-the-ball-forward-three-straight-times-and-tell-the-kids-there’s-a-new-rule-that-allows-you-to-do-that-despite-how-much-they-protest-and-the-fact-that-you know-they’ve-played-so-much-Madden-football-that-they-know-the-rules-both-better-than-you-and-hell-they-probably-know-the-rules-better-than-John-Madden-then-halfway-through-the-play-tell-your-nine-year-old-niece-she’s-switching-sides-and-is-on-the-old-guys’-team-now-so-that-she-can-catch-the-ball-and-after-you-go-pick-her-up-and-run-her-the-length-of-the-field-the-other-way-on-your-back-because-she-ran-the-wrong-way-but-then-you-celebrate-her-scoring-the-winning-touchdown-and-let-her-rub-it-in-the-faces-of-the-boys-until-Christmas-and-then-you-have-to-do-the-whole-thing-over-again-because-Aunt-Joan-didn’t-have-her-camera-on-Split-Y-Banana” and ran it to perfection to win the game. Our play was WAY better.

There is so much awesome to share from Chris Davis’ magical return, but I don’t think anything will be better than this.

How amazing was this game? A 99 yard TD might not have made the Top 3 plays.

Did someone freaking hug these guys?

This picture remains mesmerizing.

I hope no one in Auburn needs to wipe this week.

Some of the celebrations were a bit…ummm…strange.

Here’s a note from Takeo Spikes.

3. While I understand Maryland’s excitement in beating NC State in their final ever ACC game, was it COMPLETELY necessary for them to fax over pictures of Gary Williams’ ass to Debbie Yow’s office as a parting gift?

My thoughts on the finale?

Now here’s a video because I’ve got nothing else to say.

4. After someone loses Monday night’s game, I will almost certainly be moving the Carolina Panthers to #2 in my weekly power rankings. What a crazy year. I’d suggest things were so crazy that the next thing we’d see is the Orioles signing a good player-but I realize there are limits to the insanity.

I don’t think one of these nicknames is going to stick for Ron Rivera.

I assume Mike Glennon gets credited with a forced fumble for this, right?

Wrong superhero, Cam.

5. Nick Foles has now thrown 19 touchdowns this season without an interception. For some reason I don’t think “The November Flacco” is going to catch on as a nickname as well as it should.

Sweet play, football teams.

Riley Cooper, however.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens emerge from Week 13 action holding No. 6 seed in AFC

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Ravens emerge from Week 13 action holding No. 6 seed in AFC

Posted on 01 December 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Armed with the luxury of sitting back and watching the rest of the NFL’s Week 13 action play out Sunday after a 22-20 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday night, the Ravens maintained control of the No. 6 seed in the AFC.

Miami was the only other of the six 5-6 teams entering Week 13 to emerge with a victory to improve to 6-6, but the Ravens hold the tiebreaker due to their Week 5 win over the Dolphins in early October.

The bad news on Sunday came in the form of the Cincinnati Bengals’ 17-10 win over San Diego that allowed them to keep a two-game lead over the Ravens with an 8-4 record in the AFC North. However, a Bengals loss to the Chargers would have forced a three-way tie for the sixth spot in the AFC, a scenario that would have resulted in Miami winning the current tiebreaker due to a superior conference record over the Ravens and San Diego.

The Ravens will welcome the Minnesota Vikings to town next Sunday while Miami travels to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh to take on the 5-7 Steelers.

Of course, the road to the playoffs will grow much more difficult for the Ravens after that as they play three projected playoff teams to conclude the regular season — two of them coming on the road.

Here are the Week 14 games impacting the AFC playoff picture next weekend:

Minnesota (3-8-1) at Baltimore (6-6)

Indianapolis (8-4) at Cincinnati (8-4)

Oakland (4-8) at New York Jets (5-7)

Miami (6-6) at Pittsburgh (5-7)

Tennessee (5-7) at Denver (10-2)

New York Giants (4-7) at San Diego (5-7)

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“The Reality Check” Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 31)

Sumlin/Manziel 2014?

31. Atlanta Falcons (30)

Jadaveon Clowney would be a nice addition.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (32)

I really want to move them ahead of the Redskins but I’m not quite ready to do that.

29. Washington Redskins (28)

Absolutely pathetic.

28. Minnesota Vikings (27)

A tie is like kissing your sister and then remembering you’re still the Vikings.

27. Oakland Raiders (26)

But yet not far from the playoff race.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (29)

Mike Glennon HAS to be your quarterback? Maybe?

25. Cleveland Browns (19)

They duped me. My apologies.

24. New York Giants (17)

There’s always next year.

23. Buffalo Bills (23)

Don’t drop because they were on a bye. Not because they’re good.

22. New York Jets (15)

I don’t care that they’re 5-6. They’re garbage. Absolute garbage.

21. Green Bay Packers (21)

The needed time to figure out even Matt Flynn is better than Steve Tolzien?

20. St. Louis Rams (24)

If they were in the AFC they’d run away with the 6th playoff spot.

19. Miami Dolphins (18)

At least they were competitive?

18. Tennessee Titans (25)

You struggle to believe it, but.

17. Baltimore Ravens (20)

One more win changes everything.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The 15-7-0 hopes no one volunteered the Houston Texans as tribute

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The 15-7-0 hopes no one volunteered the Houston Texans as tribute

Posted on 25 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

15 positive observations from the weekend of football, seven not so positive observations and we acknowledge a “zero” from outside the world of football. A reminder, there’s never any Ravens game analysis here. We do plenty of that elsewhere. It’s a trip through the weekend of football via videos, GIFs, memes, pictures, links, Tweets and shtick. This isn’t where we do Ravens stuff. You can find plenty of that…like…everywhere else on the site.

Did you know that you were exactly like a Major League Baseball GM? It’s true. For example: how many good baseball players have you acquired this offseason?

Same as Dan Duquette.

15 Positive Observations…

1. The singular purpose of Number 1 in this week’s 15-7-0 is to get to the part of Monday afternoon’s show where Ryan Chell as to pronounce the name “Seyi Ajirotutu” and then put my feet up, light a cigar and just plain enjoy being alive.

To celebrate the big win, Philip Rivers wore the lovely gift he received from Stan Marsh’s grandfather.

Here’s…I have no freaking idea what this is. NONE.

2. Navy QB Keenan Reynolds had seven touchdowns Friday night. CJ Spiller has one touchdown in 2013. It’s cool though, because I totally picked Reynolds as the second overall pick in my fantasy football draft. What’s that? I picked Spiller there? Oh I just quit.

Just when you thought Navy motivational videos couldn’t get any better.

Three weeks to go, but here’s this.

3. Towson will face the winner of Sacred Heart/Fordham in the second round of the FCS playoffs December 7th. I’m sorry, major college football fans. I probably should’ve started this post by explaining that “playoffs” are what is used by every other sport or at every other level to determine a champion. But hey! You guys are getting one soon too! Kinda.

Terrance West has 30TD’s. THIRTY. Do the Ravens have 30TD’s?

4. Oh, so Cam Newton rallied his team from down late in the second half to improve to 8-3? That’s supposed to get me to buy into him? I’ll buy into him when he beats the Bears. The ’86 Bears. Until then he’s just like every other freakishly athletic former Heisman Trophy winning specimen who has defeated the 49ers and Patriots in the last month. Dime a dozen.

Acting like LeBron James will probably be a great way to win over fans though.

5. The Steelers will come into the Thanksgiving night showdown in Baltimore winners of five of their last seven. It reminds me of a popular limerick my grandfather taught me growing up. It went like this. Ahem. “Screw the Steelers”. Wait, did I say it was a limerick? I meant “a drunken yell”. I get them confused so often.

No one will put this into words any better than Mike Polk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6NJVFlHOIY

Also, Billy Cundiff did something familiar.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Former Terp Merriman to hold annual coat drive Saturday at BC game

Posted on 20 November 2013 by WNST Staff

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – NFL All-Pro and former Maryland standout Shawne Merriman will hold his annual Coat Drive on Saturday, Nov. 23, prior to the Terps game against Boston College at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Over the past 11 years, Merriman and his Lights On Foundation have collected over 20,000 coats to benefit numerous communities in the DMV area. Collection will begin 90 minutes prior to the start of the game at the South Gate entrance of the stadium.

Merriman has partnered with the Maryland athletics department, University Relations and DOTS (Department of Transportation Services) and will be joined by Maryland student-athletes to collect gently-used coats, hats, scarves and other cold weather clothing at all entrances of Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

“We hope everyone coming out for the Terps last ACC home game can bring warm clothing to be donated and distributed to local shelters,” Merriman said. “This cause means a lot to me as I was the victim of two house fires as a child and was left homeless as a result. I am extremely grateful to the university and those that have helped to facilitate this coat drive over the years to further the Lights On Foundation mission.”

Merriman enjoyed a distinguished career at the University of Maryland, where he was tabbed a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection after his junior season. He totaled 189 tackles, 22 sacks and 32.5 tackles for a loss in 39 career games with 17 starts. Originally selected in the first round (12th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Merriman was a three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection with San Diego prior to joining the Buffalo Bills in 20101. In his eight NFL seasons, Merriman notched 45.5 sacks in 75 career games (59 starts).

A native of Washington, D.C., Merriman was honored as the Associated Press Maryland Defensive Player of the Year as a senior out of Frederick Douglas High School in Upper Marlboro.

Merriman’s Lights On Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for youth and to help the homeless. He donates time, money and other resources throughout the country by increasing opportunities for children to lead healthy and fulfilling lives through his foundation. By building corporate partnerships within the community, Merriman is able to provide financial assistance to projects focusing primarily on helping the homeless and children in need.

– Maryland –

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Deserving or not, Ravens remain firmly in AFC playoff hunt

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Deserving or not, Ravens remain firmly in AFC playoff hunt

Posted on 18 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

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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