Five final thoughts on Rams (4-5) vs. Ravens (2-7), 1 p.m. kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium:
Number of catches that Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken had last week. He has clearly emerged as Joe Flacco’s most reliable receiver with Steve Smith gone for the season. Aiken will likely need at least five catches for the Ravens to move the ball consistently against the Rams.
Number of turnovers the Ravens had in their last game against the Jaguars. If the Ravens are that careless with the football again, count on another loss. Four is also the number of consecutive 100-yard rushing days that Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley had earlier this season. Keeping Gurley from going off is one of the Ravens’ keys to victory.
Number of Maryland state titles that Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin won in high school while playing for Baltimore Dunbar. Today will be a homecoming for Austin, playing his first NFL game in his home town. Preventing the speedy Austin from making game-changing plays is another Ravens’ priority.
The number of interceptions Flacco threw against the Jaguars. A turnover-free day from Flacco is something the Ravens need.
That’s the Ravens’ longest winning streak this year – one game. Starting another one-game winning streak would make this long season more tolerable for them, and make the Thanksgiving turkey taste a little better.
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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.”
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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