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1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Texans


1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Texans

1. Terrell Suggs will not play.

Terrell Suggs has been moved to the active roster, and Suggs no doubt wants to make good on his vow to return from his springtime Achilles injury by October, which seemed wildly ambitious at the time. But Suggs has practiced only twice, in limited fashion, and isn't close to 100 percent. Aggravating the injury now could cost him another month or more. The Ravens have a bye next week. Yes, this defense badly needs him. But the smartest thing to do in the long-term would be to sit him this week and have him return to action in two weeks at Cleveland.

2. Ray Rice will not get 20 carries.

Much has been said of Ray Rice's reduced workload this year, but guess what? Through six games this year, he has 97 carries. Through six games last year, he had 97 carries. Rice has hit the 20-carry mark only once this season and twice in the past 10 regular-season road games. And when the Ravens fall behind, particularly on the road, they tend to abandon the run fairly quickly.

3. The Ravens will have a pass play of 30+ yards.

The Ravens lead the league with 30 pass plays of 20 yards or more. Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph was burned deep by the Packers' Jordy Nelson last week, and Joseph is questionable with a groin injury. You can bet the Ravens will take some shots downfield.

4. Joe Flacco will be intercepted.

No one has intercepted Flacco more than Joseph, who spent five seasons with the Bengals and has picked off Flacco three times. Flacco has thrown just one interception in 89 career passes against the Texans, but the one interception was by Joseph last season. Kareem Jackson has three picks this year to lead the Texans, who are plus-5 in turnover ratio.

5. The Ravens will not score a first-quarter touchdown.

One of the most troubling trends for the Ravens lately has been their slow starts. In the past four games, they have scored a total of six first-quarter points. Points will be hard to come by early in noisy Reliant Stadium.

6. Arian Foster will rush for 100 yards.

The way the Ravens run defense has been playing, he might rush for a thousand. After yielding more than 200 yards rushing in back-to-back weeks, the Ravens defense has its hands full with Foster, who ran for 132 against the Ravens in the playoffs last season. Foster is averaging 93.5 yards a game this season. And keep in mind not only are Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb out, but Haloti Ngata is playing on a bad knee.

7. Foster will have more touches than Rice.

Foster and Rice are two of the best all-purpose backs in the league. Rice has been the far more prolific receiver this season (24 receptions, to 11 for Foster.) Foster, though, has been a workhorse, with 149 carries, 52 more than Rice. Both teams will put the ball in the hands of their best offensive player, but Foster will touch it more.

8. J.J. Watt will have a sack

The Texans defensive end is, quite simply, a beast. He has 9.5 sacks this season and figures to be a huge challenge for Michael Oher, Kelechi Osemele and the rest of the offensive line. Watt had 2.5 of the Texans' five sacks of Flacco in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game last season.

9. The Texans will run on more than half their plays.

The Texans offense revolves around establishing the run and then hitting play-action passes. If the Ravens can't dramatically improve against the run, expect the Texans to keep at it. That will set up shots to Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and the other receivers, but they want to run the ball. For the season, the Texans have run the ball 211 times and thrown 191 times (counting six sacks).

10. Texans 33, Ravens 24

The Ravens have never lost to the Texans in six meetings, but this is the best Texans team they have ever faced. The Ravens' banged-up defense needs to somehow stop the run, create turnovers and let Flacco and the offense generate enough points to win. But the offense hasn't looked in sync in two road games this season, and Houston, with the league's sixth-ranked defense, might not be the place that happens.


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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?