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AFC North winner? Depends on your perspective


AFC North winner? Depends on your perspective

ESPN.com asked its AFC North correspondents to pick the division winner and name which team or teams will make the playoffs. Not that they're being homers or anything, but ...

The reporter who covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jeremy Fowler, picked the Steelers to win the division, with the Ravens making the postseason as a wild card. The Ravens correspondent, Jamison Hensley, picked the Ravens to win it, with no wild card from the AFC North. Coley Harvey, the Cincinnati Bengals reporter, said Pittsburgh will win the division and the Bengals will grab a wild card.

As for Pat McManamon, Cleveland Browns correspondent, no, he didn't pick the Browns. He went with the Steelers as division champs and the Bengals as a wild card.

"The Steelers have too much talent not to win the division," McManamon said.

Fowler called the Steelers "loaded" on offense, ready to produce their best results on that side of the ball since Ben Roethlisberger has been Pittsburgh's quarterback. And the defense, one of the worst in the league (No. 25) against the run, figures to improve, Fowler said. Hensley, however, doesn't see it that way. "The Steelers’ downfall is going to be their defense," he said.

Harvey said: "The Bengals basically bring back the same team they had a year ago. Consistency and stability can help, that’s for sure."

The correspondents cited the division's tough schedule this season against the AFC West and NFC West, and Hensley said 10 wins will win the AFC North in 2015.

Nobody said that the division will repeat its three teams in the playoffs this season.

MORE RAVENS: Feinstein: Reed vs. Lewis 'Best of the Best'

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

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.


“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

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.