Ravens at Steelers Reaction


My 17-14 Steelers prediction was close. The Ravens ran for 82 yards on 26 carries and got to Big Ben 3 times. I said the Ravens would win if they ran for 100 and sacked Ben 5 times. Very close. Antonio Brown killed the Ravens in the 4th quarter with screens and crossing routes. The Steelers run game was on as well. Levon Bell had himself a game, hitting the holes hard and not going down on first contact. The Ravens D played a solid bend but not break style the entire game but the Offense was terrible again.

The Ravens need to establish some sort of identity on offense. Last year it was run up the middle and play action. This year has been a struggle to establish the run early, which leaves the Ravens in 2nd and long situations. Jim Caldwell needs to figure this problem out very soon or the Ravens are going to miss out on the playoffs.

NFL Week 7 Picks


Tampa Bay at Atlanta(-6.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Atlanta(-6.5) should win this by at least a TD.

Cincinnati at Detroit(-2.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Cincinnati(+2.5) is 4-2 and getting no respect. Defense has been excellent

Buffalo at Miami(-8) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Buffalo(+8) covers in a close one

New England(-3.5) at NY Jets – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: New England(-3.5) Brady is sick of hearing all this nonsense about Geno and whoops them.

Dallas at Philadelphia(-2.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Eagles(-2.5) Vegas throwing a trap bet at us?

Bears at Washington(Pick) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Bears handle the shitty Redskins

St. Louis at Carolina(-7) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: Rams(+7) they’ve won 2 in a row and cover in a close one in Carolina

San Diego(-8) at Jacksonville – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Pick: San Diego(-8) I dont like this game, Jacksonville looked good last week, could be another trap.

San Francisco(-3.5) at Tennessee – Sun, Oct 20, 4:05 PM ET

Pick: San Francisco(-3.5) should cover.

Cleveland at Green Bay(-10) – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Pick: Cleveland(+10) this is a tough one, I think Cleveland loses by a TD.

Houston at Kansas City(-7) – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Pick: Kansas City(-7) Keep riding the train while it lasts. Andy Reid and Jamaal Charles have been magical.

Baltimore(+2) at Pittsburgh – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Pick: Steelers(-2) Stay away from this bet.

Denver(-7) at Indianapolis – Sun, Oct 20, 8:30 PM ET

Pick Denver(-7)Denver Another tough one, I think Peyton will throw for like 450 and 5 TDs.

Minnesota at NY Giants(-3.5) – Mon, Oct 21, 8:30 PM ET

Pick: Minnesota(+3.5) Giants remain defeated.


Tampa Bay at Atlanta(-6.5) – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

New England(-3.5) at NY Jets – Sun, Oct 20, 1:00 PM ET

Houston at Kansas City(-7) – Sun, Oct 20, 4:25 PM ET

Last Week: 6-8 (Yuck)

Overall: 6-8

Locks: 3-0

Ravens at Steelers Preview


The Steelers vs Ravens rivalry has been one of the best in the NFL over the past years. While both teams are not where they want to be right now, this should be a hard hitting, down to the wire, defensive battle that all Pittsburg and Baltimore fans are used to.

The Steelers and Ravens seem to have similar problems and strengths. Both teams have good defenses who can rush the passer. The Steelers have a better secondary while the Ravens front 7 is slightly favored over the Steelers. Both teams obvious problem: the offensive line. The Steelers lost Pouncey for the year and have struggled mightily in his absence.  They are last in the league in rushing averaging only 61 yards a game. Levon Bell is back from injury, but the rushing attack for the Steelers has been pathetic. The Ravens are not much better at 27th in NFL with 72.7 yards a game. Eugene Monroe, the former Jacksonville first round pick filled in for Bryant McKinnie last week and whiffed on a block that lead to a Flacco fumble that was returned for a TD right before the end of halftime. Not a good start buddy.

Both teams have very good defenses. The Ravens shut down the run well, but can struggle vs the pass. The Steelers can be run on, but have a top 5 NFL secondary in terms of passing yards per game. The Ravens have been trying all year to establish the run, and this could be the week. Eugene Monroe is a good run blocker and if Ed Dickson can block the tough OLBs on the Steelers, there could be some holes for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Knowing how this rivalry goes, I’m going to guess the Ravens and Steelers running games are both shut down and eventually abandoned by the middle of the 3rd quarter. This means Big Ben vs the inconsistant Ravens secondary and Flacco vs the tough and experienced Steelers secondary. The Ravens will need to pressure Big Ben and close the pocket. He is one of the shiftiest pocket passers in the NFL(science messed up on that one), and the Ravens need to utilize the 3-4 to mix up blitz packages. The Steelers will put Ike Taylor on Torrey Smith and play ball. This should be a bit worrisome for Ravens fans. The Steelers generally leave Ike Taylor on an island and let Troy Polamalu run wild, which means he will be in the middle of the field distributing crossing routes, running into the flat to get under curls, and blitzing like a mad man. 

With the Steelers at home, and the match ups being somehow favorable for the Steelers, I think this could be another L for the Ravens. If your looking to bet on the game, I’d go with the under. This will be a low scoring game, likely ending on a field goal or a missed 4th down conversion. 

Pick: 17-14 Steelers. I don’t have much confidence in either teams right now. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders stretching the field scares me. If the Ravens pass rush can get 5-6 sacks and the the offense can rush for 100 yards, I would chalk it down as a win, but I don’t see that happening. 

With playmaking WRs on the trading block, should the Ravens make a move?


Josh Gordon and Hakeem Nicks are both apparently being shopped. I would assume it would take at least a 2nd rounder to get Gordon, and possibly a 1st rounder for Nicks, who is  on his contract year. Is now the time for the Ravens to pull the trigger and make the biggest in season move this year in the NFL?

After the Browns shipped Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 1st rounder, he has yet to produce a quality week. Is is to late for the addition of Gordon or Nicks to make an impact for the Ravens? I think if a deal is not in place by the end of this week then it would be too late. Week 8 is next week, and assuming the player were to come in and learn the playbook and work with Flacco for 2 weeks, they would be ready for week 9. It’s now or never for the Ravens.

The ideal situation for Ravens fans would be to add Josh Gordon for a 2nd rounder to start opposite Torrey Smith. Smith provides the 1 on 1 deep threat that can go up and get the ball while Torrey Smith is the speedster who can run across the middle and pick up yards after the catch, but is also a vertical threat in the slot. I can picture the Ravens running an I formation with Gordon at X and Smith in the slot to one side with Dickson at TE and Rice and Leach in the backfield. With 2 dynamic WRs, opposing defenses will need to keep a safety or 2 back to prevent the long ball. Why do you think teams like Green Bay and Indianpolis are able to rack up rushing yards? Not because of superoir running game but because of the defenses they see. With the struggling o-line, having one more defender out of the box could really help the Ravens improve the run game.

I don’t think Nicks is a move they will make. He will be looking for Mike Wallace(5 Yr. 60 Mil) numbers, which the Ravens cannot afford. Josh Gordon on the other hand makes a little over 1 million a year and is locked in until 2016. The issue with Gordon is his previous off field issues, which may be risky to give up such a high pick on a trade that could not pan out.

While I would like to see Gordon in Ravens black and purple on Sundays, all the pieces don’t seem to be coming together to make this deal happen. NFL teams are made in the preseason, not with mid season deals that tend to throw off team chemistry.

Vi Ripken Can’t Catch a Break



Baltimore Sun 

A man with a handgun confronted Cal Ripken Jr.‘s mother outside a bank in Aberdeen on Tuesday afternoon and told her he wanted to steal her car, according to police.

Vi Ripken was able to scare off the man, who was later apprehended by Aberdeen police, by activating the panic alarm on her key fob. She was uninjured, and the man ran away without taking anything, said Lt. Fred Budnick, an Aberdeen police spokesman.

She was approached outside the NBRS branch in the 200 block of W. Bel Air Ave. about 3 p.m., Budnick said.

The incident was the second in just over a year involving Vi Ripken in Aberdeen, a community known for its low crime rate.

“It’s a little unusual,” for her to be the victim of two crimes in a relatively short period, Budnick said, adding that Tuesday’s incident “appears to be a crime of opportunity.”

Wow. Vi can’t catch a break. First, she’s kidnapped, now this? I feel like Vi can absolutely handle herself, too. There’s actually no doubt in my mind. I’m honestly still terrified of my Grandmother, can’t even imagine the wrath of the Ripken. Oh yeah, hey officer.. you think it’s unusual? This is Baltimore. 


Cal Ripken Jr. next manager for Nationals?



If the Washington Nationals, or any other major league franchise, are interested in having Cal Ripken Jr. as their manager, the impetus is going to have to come from the team, the former Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer indicated over the weekend.

“I’m not lobbying for any managing job,” Ripken said, in an interview that left unanswered the question of whether he wants to manage in 2014, or is merely intrigued by the possibility.

Cal Ripken Jr. is thinking of coming back to the bigs as a manager? I understand this, but with the Nationals? Cal Ripken was and still is the face of the Orioles. I understand Buck will most likely stick around for at least a few more years, but pairing Ripken and Machado would sell standing room tickets on a daily basis and make the atmosphere at Camden Yards electric(in regular season baseball terms).

With Davey Johnson retiring, the Nationals should have their pick of a new manager as they likely will be the most talented team hunting for a coach this off season. Ripken has a gig with TBS and is probably pulling in some solid cash so I hope he sits on that for a few years. If things go sour with Buck, Ripken would be the perfect replacement to take the O’s to the Series. “Iron Man” needs to realize that if does take the manager job with the Nationals, most O’s fans would see this as straight disrespect. Cal Ripken is everything Baltimore. Coaching for a team under 40 miles away or anyone in the AL East would be a dagger to O’s fans.

From the sound of his statements in the article, it sounds like he isn’t ready to make a decision anytime soon. I think O’s fans can take a deep breath. Cal knows deep down that Baltimore has been, and will be the place for him, and when the time is ready, he will be there take over and lead the O’s to promised land.

Editors Note: If you think Cal isn’t salivating waiting to take this job for the Nationals you are absolutely out of your mind. This is the guy who beat up Kevin Costner during a mysterious ‘power outage’ at Camden Yards during the streak. Pride central.  – Sack

Robert Griffin III is all About the TEAM! Pause not.


Washington Post

Robert Griffin III has talked before about how much he wanted to represent the United States in the Olympics. My colleague Dave Sheinin wrote about that at length in his book, “RG3: The Promise,” in a section about Griffin running track his freshman year at Baylor.

“The only choice [coaches] had, really, was to let Griffin compete at the Trials — with each football coach having to decide privately and individually the degree to which he was rooting for the kid to qualify, or not, for Beijing…” Sheinin wrote. “Was he a track athlete who also played football, or a football player who also ran track? It was getting harder to distinguish.”

The situation has obviously changed since then — a Heisman Trophy, a huge NFL contract, and endorsement deals with every company in the United States will do that. But Griffin hasn’t stopped dreaming.

Which brings me to the latest video about Griffin and his family released via USAA. The video came out last week, and the timing maybe wasn’t ideal, what with Redskins fans panicking over the current season and not giving much thought to the 2020 badminton trials.

“My dream is to be in the Olympics and represent the United States of America,” Griffin says in the video. “So [as a teenager] I was preparing for my dream…I would definitely want to still fulfill my dream of going to the Olympics. Someway, somehow. Maybe it’s track, maybe it’s badminton, maybe it’s ping pong. I’ll find a way to get to the Olympics.”

Honestly, I have been waiting for an article like this to come along, so I can unleash the fury of 1000 sons on the absolute phony that is Robert Griffin III. Hey, Robert, how’s your team coming along? Oh, really? …… I am 125% sure the man takes the phrase, “You can’t spell team without M-E” completely serious. I can’t take it. Do you remember when he came out on the field, kissing and banging the ground and waving the flag like the second coming of William Wallace? My God. 

Now excuse me as I look at this picture to lower my blood pressure. I think I just had a stroke.



PS, Robert: That ^ is an American hero. Go watch Mr. Baseball and learn a thing or two. 

Machado to Undergo Knee Surgery



“Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will have surgery to repair a ligament in his left knee.

Machado tore his medial patellofemoral ligament on September 23. He decided to have surgery after consulting with several doctors.

Dodgers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform surgery Monday. Machado expects to be ready for the start of spring training.

The first-time All-Star recently consulted with several doctors and knee specialists. He said, “We decided that in the long run and for my future as a baseball player, this surgery would be the best plan.”

The 21-year-old Machado played in every game this season before the injury, which occurred when he stepped awkwardly on first base in a game at Tampa Bay.

He hit .283 with 14 homers, 71 RBIs and 51 doubles.”

I know this is a few days delayed, but it needs to be discussed. When Manny went down against the Rays, the entire city of Baltimore held our breath anticipating the worst. It seems like knees are at a premium in every sport these days- ie: RGIII, Mo Rivera, Adrian Peterson. The silver lining here, if there is one, is that it’s not the Unlucky Triad– ACL/MCL/Meniscus. Manny’s the future of Baltimore baseball, and this may slightly hinder his development, but we were all witnesses to what he could do in learning on-the-go. He’ll come back bigger and better than this year, book it.

Respectable pinch of Big League Chew, btw.

Hakeem the Dream


(NBC Sports)

Last night, Peter King and yours truly discussed whether the trade should happen.  King believes strongly that they should.

And it makes sense.  The Giants are 0-6, they likely won’t pay Nicks what he wants (which could be along the lines of what Mike Wallace got), and they may as well get what they can and move on.

The ability of G.M. Jerry Reese to find plenty of other competent receivers via the draft or otherwise (e.g., Victor Cruz, who wasn’t drafted) suggests that the Giants are better off finding a young replacement next year, trusting Eli Manning to help the player become a good-to-great receiver, and shipping Nicks to a contender.

With the departure of Boldin in the offseason for (seemingly) nothing in return, you had to wonder if the Ravens were going to be able to replace that presence on the field. We need that guy who can go across the middle, take a hit, and be a solid possession receiver.  The change of scenery and culture would do wonders for Nicks in Baltimore.

Bring him in and watch what he’ll do at M&T on Sundays.