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1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Steelers

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1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Steelers

1. Ray Rice will not rush for 100 yards. ...

The Steelers bottled up Rice at Heinz Field two weeks ago, holding him to 40 yards on 20 carries. The Steelers rank fifth in the league in rushing defense, allowing 91.5 yards a game. Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley (ankle) is out, but the Steelers will bring their 'A' game defensively and make Rice earn every yard he gets.

2. ... but he will get his 20 touches.

Don't expect Rice to catch any check-downs on fourth-and-29, but expect him to have the ball in his hands plenty. Since 2010, the Ravens are 26-3 when Rice has at least 20 touches. This year, he's topped 20 touches in only six of 11 games. One was at Pittsburgh, where he had 20 rushes and five receptions (for 53 yards). Expect him to be effective as a rusher and receiver again.

3. Joe Flacco will complete at least 60 percent of his passes.

Maybe it's something in the water, but Flacco's throws simply seem to have more zip and more accuracy at home. This season, Flacco has a completion percentage of .665 at home and .553 on the road.  Flacco, though, was 20-for-32 (.625) for 164 yards at Heinz Field two weeks ago.

4. Anquan Boldin will have at least five receptions.

The Steelers bottled up Torrey Smith last meeting (one catch, 7 yards), but could not do the same with Boldin, who made eight catches for 79 yards. In six career games against the Steelers, Boldin has averaging 6.5 catches and about 91 yards

5. The Ravens will have a touchdown drive of fewer than 40 yards.

The Ravens are facing the league's No. 1-ranked defense, which is likely to have Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu back, but the Ravens are overdue to find the end zone. They have one offensive touchdown in their past two games, both on the road. Things just run more smoothly at home. Look for a turnover to set them up with a short field.

6. Jonathan Dwyer will have a rush of 20+ yards.

If the Steelers can keep the game close, expect them to try to keep the ball on the ground, and Dwyer is the starter this week. He had 12 carries for 55 yards against the Ravens two weeks ago and will test the Ravens' 26th-ranked run defense.

7. The Ravens will intercept Charlie Batch.

Making his first start of the season last week for the Steelers, Batch was picked off three times by the Browns. If the Ravens can get a decent lead, Batch will be forced to throw often, and the Ravens secondary will be ready to pounce.

8. The Ravens will win the turnover battle.

One major reason for the Ravens success, even when the offense is struggling, is that they aren't giving the ball away. The Ravens have just one turnover in their past four games and are at plus-12 in turnover differential for the season, fourth-best in the league. Not only did Batch throw three picks last week, but no Steelers running back could hold on to the ball. The Steelers fumbled eight times at Cleveland, losing five.

9. Charlie Batch will be sacked at least twice.

Paul Kruger dominated Steelers rookie tackle Mike Adams the last time these teams met, and Adams is out with an ankle injury. he will be replaced by rookie Kelvin Beachum, who has played in three games this season. Guard Willie Colon (knee) is questionable. The Ravens had six sacks last week, and they will pin their ears back and go after the 37-year-old Batch in passing situations.

10. Ravens 27, Steelers 13

If the Steelers can run the ball effectively -- and hold on to it -- they can stay in this game even without Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers inexplicably went away from that last time these teams met; Byron Leftwich threw 39 times, and the Dwyer-Mendenhall-Redman running trio totaled just 24 carries in a three-point game. The loss of Roethlisberger was too much to overcome at Heinz Field, and it will be in Baltimore as well. Five of the last seven in this series have been decided by three points. This time, though, the Ravens roll to their 16th straight home win.

 

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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