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1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Chargers


1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Chargers

1. Ray Rice will not rush for 100 yards.

Rice has totaled just 75 rushing yards in the past two games and has topped 100 yards twice this season – 102 yards against Kansas City and 101 against New England. The Chargers rank No. 3 against the run, allowing 87.9 yards a game, and just one back (Trent Richardson) has topped the 100-yard mark against them.

2. Joe Flacco will throw an interception….
Flacco has been much better at home than on the road, but he has led the Ravens to two straight road wins (Cleveland, Pittsburgh). One key: In those two games he threw 56 passes without an interception. That run will end against a Chargers secondary that has nine interceptions this season, including four that have been returned for touchdowns.

 3. … but so will Philip Rivers.

Rivers has been hurt throughout his career, and this season, by occasionally ill-advised throws. He has thrown eight interceptions in four home games this season, including four in that epic meltdown against Denver, when the Chargers built a 24-0 halftime lead and then lost, 35-24. Rivers figures to challenge the Ravens depleted secondary, but they will make him pay at least once.

 4. Torrey Smith will have a catch of 25+ yards.

Smith was virtually invisible at Pittsburgh last week, held without a catch until a 7-yard grab late in the game. The Ravens want to stretch the field with their speed guys, and Flacco is going to take his shots. Smith caught a 36-yard touchdown pass against the Chargers last season.

5. The Ravens will convert on less than 35 percent of their third-down plays.

The Ravens have struggled to move the chains all season, and John Harbaugh acknowledged that this week, saying, “We aren’t as good on third down as we need to be. That’s something that we really have to get better at. We’ve known that.”  The Ravens rank 23rd in third-down percentage, converting 34.4 percent of the time. The struggles have been especially pronounced on the road (29.4 percent). Last week at Pittsburgh, the Ravens were 3-for-14 on third down, including 0-for-4 when needing 3 yards or fewer.

6. Philip Rivers will throw for more than 250 yards.

Rivers carved up the Ravens secondary last season, completing 17 of 23 for 270 yards in the Chargers’ 34-14 rout. He won’t be quite as accurate this time around, but the Ravens run defense has improved and Rivers still wants to throw the ball around. In 10 games this year, Rivers is averaging 246.1passing yards.

7. The Chargers will score a red zone touchdown.

The Ravens’ red zone defense has been at the heart of their success, as they have given up yardage but frequently stiffened near their goal line. The Ravens rank No. 1 in the league in red zone defense, allowing a touchdown on just 35.1 percent of their opponents’ possessions inside the Ravens 20-yard line. They have not allowed a red zone touchdown in three games, a streak of nine straight possessions. The streak has to end sometime, and it will be in this game.

8. The Ravens will have at least two sacks.

Paul Kruger is coming off perhaps his best game, as he destroyed Steelers rookie tackle Mike Adams. Kruger recorded a sack and generally made himself a menace in the Steelers backfield. Terrell Suggs still isn’t 100 percent, and Pernell McPhee (thigh) is questionable. But the Chargers have issues up front as well. Former Raven Jared Gaither’s injury-riddled season is over, as he’s been placed on injured reserve, and starting guard Tyronne Green is doubtful. The Chargers have allowed 26 sacks this season, tied for ninth-most in the league.   

 9. Jacoby Jones will have a kickoff return of at least 35 yards.

San Diego has been among the best kickoff cover teams in the league, with opponents starting, on average, at their 20.6-yard line. But Jones is having a Pro Bowl-type season, and any time he touches the ball there’s a good chance something good will happen. Credit, too, goes to the Ravens kick team, with lead blockers such as Anthony Allen creating great lanes for Jones to shoot through.

 10. Ravens 24, Chargers 20     

This has all the makings of a trap game –- a West Coast trip stuck in between a pair of games against the Steelers. The Ravens generally have not played well on the West Coast or on the road, but they are playing a Chargers team that is reeling. The Ravens will struggle but will have enough to beat a Chargers team that keeps finding ways to lose.


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Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead


Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Receiver Willie Snead has bid farewell to the Saints, which means New Orleans apparently won't match the contract the Baltimore Ravens offered the restricted free agent.

Eager to add a target for quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens on Friday offered Snead a two-year, $10.4 million contract. The Saints had five days to match the deal. Snead indicated Monday on Twitter that he's headed out of New Orleans.

Snead tweeted: "What I'm going to miss most is the men in the locker room & the coaches."

He added: "Even though I'm sad to go, I'm even more excited for the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to strap it on as a Baltimore Raven."

Hampered by a three-game suspension and a hamstring injury, Snead was limited to eight catches for 92 yards last year.

In 2015, he had 69 receptions for 984 yards. He caught 72 passes for 895 yards in 2016.


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2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup 6.0: The final countdown

2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup 6.0: The final countdown

After months and months of talk and a lot of predictions, the 2018 NFL Draft is finally here.

On Thursday, Ozzie Newsome and Co. will enter the draft room prepared for battle. A lot of questions await them and most of them can not be answered until the ten minutes leading up to their pick. 

Even with the additions of Michael CrabtreeJohn Brown and Willie Snead, will the Ravens continue to add to their wide receiver corps? 

Will they trade down and scoop up a tight end or will they address the offensive line and snag Mike McGlinchey? 

All of our questions will be answered in no time, but for now, sit back and enjoy the wild ride that is the first-round of the NFL Draft. 

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig (Link) Charley Casserly (Link

— Mike McGlinchey (OL)

With the exit of Ryan Jensen, the Ravens are now in need of an offensive lineman. 

At the combine, McGlinchey put up 24 reps on the bench press, had a 28.5 inch vertical and a 105 inch broad jump. 

"The offense lacks playmakers which is why wide receivers Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore work," Standing says. "Right tackle also in play. McGlinchey seems to have moved ahead of the other tackle prospects."

ESPN's Mel Kiper (Link) CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso (Link) Sporting News (Link) Rotoworld (Link

— Calvin Ridley (WR)

Ridley is one of the few wideouts in this draft projected to go in the first-round. While his combine performance didn't help his stock, running a 4.43 40-yard dash, recording a 31-inch vertical, a 110-inch broad jump and a 6.88-second 3-cone drill, many are still predicting he lands with the Ravens or somewhere in the first-round. 

"Ridley underwhelmed at the combine, but his college tape shows a player who’s nearly uncoverable," Kiper says. "I’m going to trust the tape in this case and still make him my top-ranked wideout (Maryland’s D.J. Moore is not far behind). Baltimore could also target an offensive tackle at pick No. 16."

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah (Link)

— Hayden Hurst (TE) 

The Ravens haven't addressed their need at tight end in free agency and the reason could be because they're holding out for the draft. 

QB Joe Flacco has a tendency to favor Ravens tight ends and Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina is being considered by many the top TE in this draft. 

The ex-minor league baseball pitcher, who walked on at South Carolina at 21-years old, is being compared to Dallas Clark. "His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field," according to his draft profile

Jeremiah, who once was a scout for the Ravens, predicts they will be looking to draft back for Hurst.

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks (Link) 

— Lamar Jackson (QB) 

It was reported last week that Jackson would be making a visit to the Ravens' facility during the final week of pre-draft visits, and with Joe Flacco nearing the end of his contract, now could be the time to find his successor. Jackson provides support on the ground and in the air, but scouts are concerned about his accuarcy. 

"With Joe Flacco viewed as a potential salary cap casualty in 2019, the Ravens can secure their future QB by grabbing Jackson if he is available at No. 16," Brooks says. "Remember, Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and assistant head coach Greg Roman have experience nurturing athletic quarterbacks into dynamic playmakers (see Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Colin Kaepernick), so the Ravens could be the perfect fit for the 2016 Heisman winner."

Bleacher Report (Link

— Mike Gesicki (TE) 

Gesicki is another tight end option for the Ravens. Standing tall at 6' 5", Gesicki ran a 4.54 40-yard dash and recorded a 41.5 vertical jump at the combine. He also ended his time at Penn State as their tight end leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. 

His draft profile describes him as a "pass-catcher who can get open and has the ball skills to win against linebackers and safeties." Scouts are also comparing him to the likes of Jimmy Graham. 

Land of 10 (Link

— Christian Kirk (WR)

Kirk provides another wide receiver option if Ridley is gone at 16, even though his draft profile has him projected in Rounds 2-3. 

The 5-10, 201-pound junior finished with 71 receptions, 919 yards and 10 touchdowns at Texas A&M.

At the combine, Kirk ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, recorded a 35.5 vertical jump and a 7.09 second 3-cone drill. 

His bottom line states, "Kirk is a well-built, mentally tough slot target whose game is built around pace more than explosiveness. His lack of speed and length make him less likely to impact games down the field, but his footwork, route tempo and hands should give him an opportunity to find catches underneath. Kirk's ability to help in the return game is a plus, but the difference between average and good as a receiver could depend on finding the right fit."

CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson (Link)

— D.J. Moore (WR)

As the draft has slowly approached, Maryland's D.J. Moore has risen in the rankings. 

Many pundits are ranking him narrowly behind Alabama's Calvin Ridley as the top WR in the draft. 

The 6'0"  junior ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, a 6.95 3-cone drill and recorded a 39.5 vertical jump. 

"Moore is bigger than former Terrapin wideout Stefon Diggs, but their playing style and athletic ability while at Maryland are similar," states his draft profile.

"Moore doesn't have the height and length teams look for outside and may become a full-time option from the slot. He clearly has the short-area quickness and talent after the catch to handle those duties, but his route-running needs to become more focused and fast to unlock his potential. Teams are high on Moore's potential and believe he has the talent and traits to become a good WR2 in the league."

Moore is being compared to the likes of Pierre Garçon.