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Five final thoughts on Chiefs (8-5) at Ravens (4-9)


Five final thoughts on Chiefs (8-5) at Ravens (4-9)

Five final thoughts on Chiefs (8-5) at Ravens (4-9) prior to Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium:

1) If the Ravens fall behind early, look out for Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali, He’s one of the best in the NFL at his position, and Hali (6 ½ sacks) will be looking to tee off on whoever plays quarterback for the Ravens.

2) Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith’s mobility is often underrated. He has 366 yards rushing this season, and he’ll look to scramble for first downs, particularly in third-down situations. That could be trouble for a Ravens’ defense that often has trouble getting off the field.

3) You have to wonder what kind of home field advantage the Ravens will have. Ravens fans have been extremely supportive, considering the way this season has gone. But it’s the weekend before Christmas, the Ravens are eliminated from playoff contention, and it’s going to be a chilly afternoon. If the Ravens don’t keep things close, empty seats could be plentiful by the fourth quarter.

4) One Raven having his best season is wide receiver Kamar Aiken (54 catches, 674 yards, four touchdowns). Aiken has proven he’s a viable possession receiver who can help the Ravens next season, regardless of whether wide receiver Steve Smith decides to retire on return. Aiken’s numbers would be even better if Joe Flacco had stayed healthy.

5) The Chiefs are the first team to win seven straight after a 1-5 start since the Bengals in 1970. There’s always a chance the Chiefs could take the Ravens lightly. But the Chiefs are locked in a tight AFC wild card race with the Jets (9-5), who won Saturday night, and the Steelers (8-5). The Chiefs know they need this game.

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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?