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OPEN THREAD: Better division, AFC North or NFC West?


OPEN THREAD: Better division, AFC North or NFC West?

Which is the better division, the AFC North or the NFC West?

Teams in those two divisions will go head-to-head in 2015, which is part of what makes the Ravens’ schedule look so intriguing. The Ravens will play all four AFC West teams – the 49ers (Week 6,) and Cardinals (Week 7) on the road, and the Rams (Week 11) and the Seahawks (Week 14) at home.

Here are three reasons why the AFC North could be the best division in football:

1. The AFC North was the only division in 2014 that produced three playoff teams – the Ravens, Steelers, and Bengals.

2. The AFC North is the only division with two Super Bowl winning head coaches, John Harbaugh (Ravens) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers), and two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks – Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers).

3. The AFC North is the only division with three backs who had over 1,000 yards last season- Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers (1,361), Justin Forsett of the Ravens (1,266), and Jeremy Hill of the Bengals (1,124). Throwing it or running it, teams from the AFC North get it done offensively.

However, others believe the NFC West is the NFL’s best. The Seahawks have been to back-to-back Super Bowls, and came within a whisker of winning their second straight title. Not only are the Cardinals coming off a playoff season, some think the Rams are ready to make the postseason after trading for quarterback Nick Foles. And while many are predicting a down season for the 49ers, San Francisco may still be better than the Browns, regarded as the weakest team in the AFC North.

So which division is better, the AFC North or the NFC West? Let us know what you think in the comments section, or reach out to me at twitter @CliftonBrownCSN or on Facebook.



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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver 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 Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on 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 wide receiver 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?