Tag Archive | "Steelers"

Join us for WNST Purple Roadtrip to Pittsburgh (Nov. 2)

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Join us for WNST Purple Roadtrip to Pittsburgh (Nov. 2)

Posted on 21 May 2014 by WNST Trips

In what has become our annual pilgrimage to visit our friendly neighbors to the northwest, WNST once again presents another opportunity to head to Pittsburgh to watch the Ravens do battle with the dreaded Steelers for a 8:30 game on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014.

Our WNST Purple Roadtrip to Pittsburgh will leave White Marsh Mall area on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 11 a.m. We’ll arrive in Pittsburgh with plenty of time to spare for the late national TV kickoff.

Our Gunther Motorcoach will return from downtown Pittsburgh about 90 minutes after the game and we expect to arrive back in Baltimore around 6 a.m. on Monday morning.

TRIP INCLUDES:

Roundtrip Gunther Motorcoach transportation

One upper deck game ticket at Heinz Field

Snack and sandwiches for the ride to be washed down with a limited supply of beer, soda and water

Plenty of DVDs, purple films and trivia for the ride to and from Pittsburgh

COST: $250 per person

Simply click on ADD TO CART below…

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Ravens release 2014 schedule featuring three primetime games

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Ravens release 2014 schedule featuring three primetime games

Posted on 23 April 2014 by Luke Jones

For the first time in franchise history, the Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to meet AFC North rival Pittsburgh in primetime for both regular-season meetings.

After opening the season at M&T Bank Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept 7., the Ravens will welcome the Steelers to Baltimore four days later in their lone Thursday night game of the season. Baltimore is then slated to travel to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night game on Nov. 2, which would mark the third time in four years that the division rivals have played at Heinz Field on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The Ravens’ third primetime appearance will fall on Nov. 24 when they travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints, which will be Baltimore’s lone Monday night game of the 2014 season.

Other highlights of the 2014 schedule include a Sept. 28 meeting with the Carolina Panthers in which new wide receiver Steve Smtih will welcome his former team to Baltimore. New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and the Ravens travel to Houston to take on the Texans on Dec. 21.

Their Week 11 bye is the latest the Ravens have had in the regular season since 2001, which will likely please head coach John Harbaugh in trying to get back to the playoffs after last season’s 8-8 finish. Baltimore will finish the regular season with four contests against non-playoff teams who went a combined 18-46 a year ago.

The Ravens will play six games against playoff teams from last season: Carolina, Cincinnati (twice), Indianapolis, New Orleans, and San Diego.

For the first time since the 2009 season, the Ravens will not conclude the regular season against the Bengals, instead hosting the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 28. Five of Baltimore’s six divisional games fall in the first nine weeks of the 2014 season with the season finale against Cleveland wrapping up the Ravens’ slate of AFC North games.

The Ravens open the year with three straight division games for the third time ever after previously doing it in 2004 and 2008. This makes a good start imperative if a third AFC North title in four years is in Baltimore’s plans.

This year marks only the third time in franchise history that the Ravens will open the season with consecutive home games after previously enjoying that luxury in 1997 and 2008.

2014 SCHEDULE

Sunday, Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: This year is certainly big for quarterback Andy Dalton, but the Bengals are the only team in the AFC North to have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.

Thursday, Sept. 11 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:25 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: The rivalry has lost some of its shine with so many big-name players exiting in the last couple years, but Mike Tomlin’s sideline trick last Thanksgiving has created new animosity for Ravens fans.

Sunday, Sept. 21 at Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens lost in Cleveland last year for the first time since 2007 and will be coming off extra rest following their Week 2 contest, which spells trouble for Mike Pettine’s Browns.

Sunday, Sept. 28 vs. Carolina Panthers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The NFL has to wish this game were scheduled to be played in Charlotte instead, but wide receiver Steve Smith will provide plenty of material in the buildup to playing his former team.

Sunday, Oct. 5 at Indianapolis Colts – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens will find plenty of familiar faces in Arthur Jones, Cory Redding, and Chuck Pagano, but a trip to play the defending AFC South champions won’t be easy.

Sunday, Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: New center Jeremy Zuttah doesn’t have to wait long to play his former team, but it will be interesting to see what head coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Josh McCown can do for that franchise.

Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Atlanta Falcons – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: In a meeting of first-round quarterbacks from the 2008 draft, Matt Ryan has been better statistically, but Joe Flacco and the Ravens will gladly take the superior postseason resume.

Sunday, Oct. 26 at Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: Contrary to what we saw in the last three seasons, there is no NFL mandate that the Ravens conclude the regular season in Cincinnati, but this one figures to be pivotal in the AFC North race.

Sunday, Nov. 2 at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Skinny: This meeting will mark the third time in the last four years that the Ravens and Steelers will meet in a Sunday night game at Heinz Field.

Sunday, Nov. 9 vs. Tennessee Titans – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The memory of what was once the Ravens’ best rivalry continues to fade over the years, but the return of hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard should be an interesting story.

Sunday, Nov. 16 – BYE

Monday, Nov. 24 at New Orleans Saints – 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Skinny: Baltimore won its only regular-season trip to the Superdome in 2006, but dealing with Drew Brees and that offense indoors is a tall order for Dean Pees’ defense.

Sunday, Nov. 30 vs. San Diego Chargers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: These teams haven’t met at M&T Bank Stadium since 2006, but San Diego’s late-season run to the postseason gives them plenty of momentum going into 2014.

Sunday, Dec. 7 at Miami Dolphins – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens travel to Sun Life Stadium for the second straight year in a meeting between two teams who collapsed down the stretch to miss the playoffs last year.

Sunday, Dec. 14 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Jaguars appeared on their way to the No. 1 pick before winning four of their last eight games in 2013, but head coach Gus Bradley needs a quarterback for this team to become a threat.

Sunday, Dec. 21 at Houston Texans – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: Meeting for the fifth straight season, the Ravens and Texans now share a new link with former Houston head coach Gary Kubiak now roaming the Baltimore sideline as offensive coordinator.

Sunday, Dec. 28 vs. Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Browns haven’t won a game in Baltimore since George W. Bush was president and will remain the doormat of the division until they can find a franchise quarterback.

Notes: For the first time, flexible scheduling can be applied in Weeks 5 through 10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by moving a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to the afternoon.

Another new wrinkle will be a select number of games being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring some games to wider audiences.

Flexible scheduling will still be used in Weeks 11 through 17 as it has been in past year years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling cannot be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday, or Monday nights.

A scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game is announced no later than six days prior to December 28.

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Steelers won’t be docked draft pick for Tomlin sideline incident

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Steelers won’t be docked draft pick for Tomlin sideline incident

Posted on 20 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Nearly four months after Mike Tomlin’s controversial sideline incident in a game against the Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers learned Thursday that they will not be docked a draft pick by the NFL.

The head coach was fined $100,000 but not penalized for stepping onto the field of play and interfering as Jacoby Jones appeared on his way to a touchdown on a second-half kickoff return. Tomlin’s presence on the field caused Jones to cut inside where he was eventually caught from behind, but the Ravens still won 22-20 over their AFC North rivals on Thanksgiving night.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization,” Tomlin said in a statement after the fine was announced in early December. “I accept the penalty that I received.”

In the days following the incident, the league left open the possibility of the Steelers’ 2014 draft compensation being impacted due to Tomlin’s behavior, especially if the four extra points the Ravens may have scored — they only converted a field goal on the drive — would have impacted tiebreaker scenarios for the playoff race.

Of course, the Steelers missed the playoffs after receiving no favors at the end of the Week 17 game between San Diego and Kansas City in which a penalty call was missed that would have given Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop another try at a game-winning field goal that would have knocked out the Chargers and landed 8-8 Pittsburgh in the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed. Instead, Pittsburgh joined Baltimore in missing the postseason in what many Ravens fans viewed as poetic justice from what had happened a month earlier.

At the very least, the incident provided the latest chapter in what’s been regarded by many as the best rivalry in the NFL over the last decade.

“It’s not my job to figure out intent. I’m glad we won the game,” said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti about the incident at the end of the season. “My feelings for that move might have been a lot different [had we lost]. But, [it was] bizarre, weird, strange, unexplainable, and I think Mike was embarrassed about it. And I like Mike a lot. He’s a really good guy. His intent — that is completely in his court. He got fined for it, and again, he’s embarrassed as a competitor.”

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The 15-7-0 is still mathematically alive to win the NFC East

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The 15-7-0 is still mathematically alive to win the NFC East

Posted on 16 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.

The 15-7-0 was unthinkably overlooked when the list of the Golden Globe Award nominees was announced. And to think, the performance it gave as “Cord Phelps” in “You Mean You Don’t See It?: The Emotional Story of the Orioles’ Offseason” was particularly breathtaking.

15 Positive Observations…

1. Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way so that we can take like twelve showers and then move on with our lives. We don’t want to say it but we know we have to considering the playoff picture. Okay. Here goes. This is going to suck. Ahem. “Thank You Ste………………………..ve Jobs for inventing the iPad that told me the Bengals lost Sunday night.” Look. You and I both knew this was going to be far too weird to actually say.

Has there ever been a more awkward 10 seconds in the history of television than when NBC  panned to Dan Rooney and no one knew if he was alive?

The Bengals had to spend the night in Pittsburgh getting their asses kicked by a rival and yet somehow it was worse for their punter.

Here’s a two time Super Bowl champion rocking sweatpants.

2. Jamaal Charles posted something in the neighborhood of 5,698,432,921,023,557,806 fantasy points Sunday. It’s more fun to talk about it because when we get to this part of the show Monday I will be able to watch the depressed expression on Ryan Chell’s face when he discusses the guy who knocked him out of the fantasy football playoffs. I live a twisted life.

Charles had three more TD’s than this Raiders fan had middle fingers.

Chiefs fans? Not much friendlier.

The game was lopsided, then not lopsided, then lopsided again so KC’s coaching staff tried to poke in and watch the end of the Patriots game instead.

3. Make it 12 in a row for Navy over Army now. Or as Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told me Saturday, “we’re going to be very humble about this and take it one decade at a time”. Yes, the entire point of #3 was to remind you guys that I talked to the Secretary of the Navy Saturday. ARE YOU PROUD OF ME NOW, DAD? What’s that? You are? You always have been? You tell me you’re proud of me most every day? I should probably have gone another direction in my comments. Carry on.

Here’s proof!

Now here’s the most patriotic picture you’ll ever see.

Except for this one.

4. Jay Cutler really put things together nicely in the second half after struggling early to lead the Bears to a really important win over the Browns. In fact, he was so good that he reminded me of a guy that used to play for Chicago awhile back. You ever heard of this guy? Josh McCown? That guy was really good. Whatever happened to him? I bet a team pushing for the playoffs would want to have him.

Bears fans were told not to wear their jerseys when they went to Cleveland. They didn’t fully understand the message.

Jay Cutler got a kiss from Brandon Marshall, which we can only hope isn’t B-Marsh trying to throw him off the scent of secretly stealing his wife’s breast milk.

Alshon Jeffery is stupid good. STUPID GOOD.

5. I wouldn’t necessarily encourage other coaches to use Joe Philbin’s “mass turmoil because of one of the biggest scandals in the history of the sport that lead to losing almost half of our offensive line in order to make us better” strategy with their own teams, but you have to applaud his boldness to try something different.

They won the game, so they can laugh at this-right?

Is hugging the guy who just scored the winner for your team worth losing your beer over?

Something we learned in this game? Julian Edelman dresses the same as Lingerie Football League quarterback Angela Rypien.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Playoffs?!?!?!?!?

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Playoffs?!?!?!?!?

Posted on 11 December 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

There are 3 weeks remaining in the season for the Ravens, and all other teams for that matter. The good news is that the Ravens are very much in control of their own playoff destiny; if they win their remaining 3 games nothing can keep them from the playoffs. There is however, still little reason to believe that the Ravens will win all 3 games. The other good news is that they probably won’t have to. The bad news then, is that there are a myriad of possibilities on how the season plays out and what it might mean from a Ravens perspective.

 

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of all scenarios and possible tie-break situations the Ravens might face as the season winds down:

 

Ravens

Record 7-6     Conference Record 6-4     Division Record 3-2

Remaining Games: @DET, vs NE, @CIN

 

Bengals

Record 9-4     Conference Record 7-3     Division Record 2-2

Remaining Games: @PIT, vs MIN, vs BAL

This one is pretty straightforward, if the Ravens are going to catch the Bengals they have to beat the Bengals…they’ll also need Cincinnati to lose at least one other game. Any tie between the Ravens and Bengals would go to the Ravens because it will require the Ravens to beat the Bengals for the second time this season, thereby giving Baltimore the head-to-head tiebreaker.

 

Steelers

Record 5-8     Conference Record 4-6     Division Record 2-2

Remaining Games: vs. CIN, @GB, vs CLE

At 8-8 Ravens would lose the tiebreaker, either by division record if they failed to beat CIN (they’d be 3-3 to PIT’s 4-2) or by common opponents The Ravens beat HOU lost to DEN, the Steelers lost to OAK & TEN, meaning the Ravens would be 7-7 vs common opponents and the Steelers would be 8-6.

At 7-9 the Ravens would win the tiebreaker if they beat the Bengals and the Steelers lost to either the Bengals or Browns with a 4-2 division record to Pittsburgh’s 3-3. The Steelers would win the tie breaker by common opponents if the teams wound up with the same divisional record.

 

Dolphins

Record 7-6     Conference Record 6-3

Remaining Games: vs NE, @BUF, vs NYJ

The Ravens have the tiebreaker vs the Dolphins by virtue of their head-to-head victory over Miami. That could change though if the tie is between more than just 2 teams.

 

Jets

Record 6-7     Conference Record 3-7

Remaining Games: @CAR, vs CLE, @MIA

The Ravens have the tiebreaker vs the Jets by virtue of their head-to-head victory over New York. That could change though if the tie is between more than just 2 teams.

 

Titans

Record 5-8     Conference Record 4-6

Remaining Games: vs AZ, @JAX, vs HOU

At 8-8 Ravens would win tie-breaker by conference record if they win 1 more AFC game. If Ravens lose to CIN & NE but beat DET the tie-breaker becomes strength of victory (common opponents are PIT, HOU, NYJ & DEN both teams would be 3-2).

Right now the Titans 5 victories are over teams with 26 combined wins and they’d have to win their final 3 games accounting for 14 more wins so far for a total of 40 opponents’ wins. The teams that the Titans have beaten and would have to beat have 21 combined games remaining.

The Ravens 7 wins are over teams with a combined 36 wins and 1 tie and would have to win one of their last 3 games over a team with 7, 9 or 10 wins. That plus the 26 games that those opponents have remaining would seem to position the Ravens in control of the tiebreaker over Tennessee at 8-8.

At 7-9 the Ravens would win the tiebreaker by conference record with a Titans loss to Jacksonville or by common opponents with a loss to Houston. If the Titans lost to Arizona instead the tiebreaker would instead go to strength of victory where the Ravens wield a heavy advantage.

*At 7-9 there would also seem to be a likelihood that more than 2 teams would be vying for the spot.

 

Chargers

Record 6-7     Conference Record 3-6

Remaining Games: @DEN, vs OAK, vs KC

At 9-7 the Ravens would win the tiebreaker over San Diego by conference record 7-5 or 8-4 to the Chargers 6-6.

At 8-8 the Ravens would win the tiebreaker over San Diego by conference record 7-5 or 6-6 to the Chargers 5-7.

At 7-9 The Ravens win the tiebreaker over San Diego 6-6 to the Chargers 4-8.

 

3-Way Ties

*Multi-team ties require divisional ties to be broken first. Refer to above for Ravens Steelers tie break scenarios.

 

Ravens, Dolphins & Titans

At 8-8 if Ravens beat DET, lose to CIN & NE tiebreaker goes to MIA by conference record.

If Ravens lose to Detroit beat CIN or NE, TEN eliminated by conference record, then Ravens win head-to-head vs Dolphins.

At 7-9 Tennessee is eliminated on conference record unless their loss is to AZ. If TEN loses to AZ and all teams are 7-9 with 6-6 conference records and strength of victory would decide the tie. Here’s a strength of victory refresher:

-The Titans 5 victories are over teams with 26 combined wins. They’d have to beat Jacksonville and Houston with a combined 6 wins so far.

-The Ravens 7 wins are over teams with a combined 36 wins and 1 tie.

-The Dolphins 7 wins are over opponents with 41 wins so far.

The 3 weeks remaining in the season and the successes and failures of the teams beaten by the Ravens, Dolphins & Titans in those 3 weeks could change a lot, but for now advantage Dolphins.

 

Ravens, Dolphins & Chargers

Chargers eliminated by conference record. If Ravens and Dolphins are tied in conference records then Ravens win head-to-head vs Dolphins, if conference records are not equal winner is determined by conference record.

Ravens, Titans & Chargers

Chargers eliminated by conference record, revert to Ravens Titans tiebreakers above.

Ravens, Jets & Titans

Jets eliminated by conference record, revert to Ravens & Titans tiebreakers above.

Ravens, Jets & Chargers

Ravens win by virtue of conference record.

4-Way Ties

Ravens, Jets, Titans & Chargers

Jets and Chargers eliminated on conference record. Refer to Ravens & Titans tiebreakers for the rest.

Ravens, Dolphins, Titans & Chargers

Chargers eliminated by conference record. Refer to Ravens, Titans & Dolphins 3-way tiebreaker for the rest.

 

 

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The 15-7-0 is snowed in & drunk. And still more functional than the Washington Football Club.

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The 15-7-0 is snowed in & drunk. And still more functional than the Washington Football Club.

Posted on 09 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.

The 15-7-0 won’t be right with every football observation we make. In fact, our goal is simply to be right roughly 75% of the time. Or in other words, about 70% more often than your local meteorologist of choice.

15 Positive Observations…

1. Matt Prater’s kick was so amazing that Nick Saban texted him afterwards to ask him if he had any plans Saturday. Of last week.

This was actually kinda awesome.

Seriously, Peyton Manning?

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms did this game for CBS. And then did this weird promo.

2. Auburn is playing for the National Championship. Fans gathered in Toomer’s Corner to celebrate, but after realizing the SEC title game didn’t involve a Hail Mary or a last second field goal return they decided it wasn’t really even worth reveling and instead spread out through the city to clean up liter and ask old ladies if they could use some help getting across the street.

Dressing up like some sort of angelic figure is probably a bit much-but I’ve seen the Tigers’ season. It fits.

This is your potential national champion?

THIS?

But then again, this guy won money for “throwing” footballs at halftime of this game-so there probably isn’t really any such thing as God.

3. Towson channeled their inner Jay-Z and treated their first FCS playoff game by going “On To The Next One”. They gave Fordham “99 Problems” and will now be “Big Pimpin’” in the quarterfinals. The Rams were essentially “D.O.A.” in the second half after the Tigers were able to “Change Clothes” and go. QB Peter Athens proved that he would “Run This Town” for at least another week and Terrance West got another chance to “Show Me What You Got”. And since there’s no way to organically work “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” into this post, I’m just gonna wrap up. I’ll just go ahead and assume you “Can’t Knock The Hustle”.

Eastern Illinois next. The Fighting Romos. At least I assume.

4. Drew Brees has now surpassed 50,000 passing yards for his career. Sadly he’s still stuck at 49,876 commercials for jeans and laundry detergent in the same span. But he’s close!

Jed Collins introduces himself on Sunday Night Football by saying “Jed Collins. Washington State. Class of 1862.”

Greg Hardy one-upped him.

You thought he made it up, but here’s Wikipedia.

Your thoughts, Rob Ryan?

5. Holy crap Frank Gore is still a thing? What’s next? You’re going to tell me Willis McGahee is still playing in the NFL? Haha…I’m kidding-I swear. Just having fun. Because we all know McGahee retired years ago obviously. Obviously.

Why is this GIF so great?

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Tomlin fined $100K; NFL could still strip Steelers of 2014 draft pick

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Tomlin fined $100K; NFL could still strip Steelers of 2014 draft pick

Posted on 04 December 2013 by WNST Staff

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Steelers Poised to Take Advantage if the Ravens Trip Up

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Steelers Poised to Take Advantage if the Ravens Trip Up

Posted on 04 December 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

 

Throughout the disappointing parts (which have constituted most) of the Ravens season, there has been one consistent reason to remain hopeful. That reason has virtually nothing to do with the Ravens themselves, or anything that they’ve shown us on the field so far; the best reason for Ravens fans to have remained hopeful throughout an otherwise trying season has been the mediocrity of their competition. Actually, calling the “competition” for the 6th and final playoff spot in the AFC mediocre might be giving the field too much credit; the longer the competition wears on, the more evident it becomes that no one seems capable of simply stepping up to claim the post-season berth.

While the Ravens have played better of late, they haven’t exactly played well. Nine field goals and two touchdowns in their two most recent wins has been enough to get the job done, but still far from confidence inspiring. And while the “must win” scenarios that the Ravens have faced and succeeded against, is mildly encouraging, those scenarios, fortunately for the team, have occurred during the “lay-up” portion of the schedule.

Sunday against the Vikings isn’t so much a “must win” as it is a “better win”. The Ravens could probably survive a loss to the Vikings from a mathematical standpoint, but let’s face it…if the Ravens can’t muster a win this week, at home, against a bad team, with their backs all but against the wall, there’d be little reason to believe that they could rise to the challenge that is the 3-game gauntlet of @DET, vs. NE & @CIN to finish out the season.

Moreover, the Vikings should present the Ravens with not only a chance to continue winning, but also with a chance to get their offensive act together, as the Minnesota defense has been one of the league’s worst against both the pass and the run.

Every year, football tends to change with the onset of cold weather, which usually benefits the Ravens and teams like them (i.e. the rest of the AFC North). This year the Ravens haven’t played a brand of ball that’s likely to get better with the dropping temperatures. Unless the Ravens find ways to run the ball effectively, and even more importantly to perform well on the road, the 3-game home stand they’re set to finish on Sunday will have been little more than a late season tease, a hook to keep us interested and hopeful before the Ravens shortcomings ultimately catch up to them.

The Ravens may not have to win out, and if we’re being honest about what we’ve seen so far, they probably won’t (or can’t). Still, the Dolphins resurgence has been improbable at best and nothing about the Titans, Chargers or Jets looks scary at all. That would leave the Steelers.

We wrote them off for dead after an 0-4 start, but the Steelers are still very much alive for the 6th seed, and maybe in better shape than even the Ravens right now. Pittsburgh has home games against Miami, Cincinnati and Cleveland remaining, along with a week 16 trip to Green Bay. They’re only ½ game down to the Ravens in division record (2-2 to the Ravens 3-2), which would be the first tiebreaker in any scenario involving both teams. The worse the record needed to claim that AFC 6th seed winds up being, the greater the chances that a tie would have to be broken. Divisional ties (like one between the Ravens and Steelers) have to be settled before the winners would be compared to teams from other divisions. And if Baltimore and Pittsburgh wind up with equal records both overall and in the division, the Steelers would win the tiebreaker by virtue of common opponents.

*Despite the Ravens superior record in conference, divisional ties go from head-to head match-ups (1-1) to divisional records and then to record vs. common opponents. The Ravens and Steelers each have 2 uncommon opponents; the Ravens lost to Denver and beat Houston, the Steelers lost to Oakland and Tennessee. That’d give the Steelers a better record vs. the 10 common opponents each has faced in the 12 other games.

There’s still hope, I suppose that a “Trip-gate” suspension could await Mike Tomlin, which could have a real impact on the race between the two. More likely though, barring the Ravens simply winning out, it’ll remain a battle between the NFL’s most bitter rivals until the end of the season for the playoff spot that no one seemingly wants to claim.

The Ravens’ work is far from done, and unfortunately the Steelers are far from done too.

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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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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Steelers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Steelers

Posted on 03 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 22-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Thanksgiving night at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Shaun Suisham tackled for 12 yard loss on aborted/fake field goal (2nd quarter)

The only “turnover” of the game. Went from three points one way to a short field (and three points) the other way.

4. Heath Miller ruled down at 1 yard line via replay after 20 yard catch from Ben Roethlisberger (4th quarter)

The Steelers were ultimately forced to run more clock and use a timeout after Miller was ruled to have not gotten in.

3. Torrey Smith 7 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco (1st quarter)

The Ravens’ only TD of the game came in a big early spot after a sack.

2. Torrey Smith 54 yard catch from Joe Flacco (1st quarter)

The Ravens didn’t go back to it much, but it was a huge statement early.

1. Chykie Brown defends Ben Roethlisberger pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders on two point conversion (4th quarter)

It wasn’t over until.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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