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Five bold predictions for Steelers at Ravens, and who will win

Five bold predictions for Steelers at Ravens, and who will win

What: Steelers (4-3) at Ravens (3-4)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: M&T Bank Stadium

Ravens injuries:

OUT – LB Kamalei Correa (thigh), OLB Elvis Dumervil (foot), TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh).

DOUBTFUL – CB Shareece Wright (thigh).

QUESTIONABLE – ILB C. J. Mosley (thigh), WR Steve Smith Sr. (ankle), LT Ronnie Stanley (foot), OLB Terrell Suggs (bicep), S Lardarius Webb (thigh), RG Marshal Yanda (shoulder), CB Tavon Young (concussion).

Steelers injuries:

OUT – C Cody Wallace (knee).

QUESTIONABLE – CB William Gay (foot), QB Ben Roethlisberger (left knee), RB DeAngelo Williams (knee).

Five bold predictions:

1. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will attempt fewer than 40 passes.

Why is that a bold prediction? Because Flacco has at least 40 passing attempts in six straight games. There is a word for that – ridiculous. The Ravens aren’t built to win that way. Pass-happy play calling helped get former Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman fired. After two losses as the new coordinator, and a bye week to examine the offense, Marty Mornhinweg will commit to the run against the Steelers. I think.

2. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will top 100 yards rushing.

OK, maybe this isn’t so bold. But Bell has gone three straight games without reaching 100 yards rushing, and the Ravens’ defense is ranked fourth in the NFL against the run. The Steelers want to take pressure off Roethlisberger in his first game back from knee surgery. And the Steelers know Jets running back Matt Forte had 100 yards rushing against the Ravens in their last game.

3. Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta will catch his first TD pass of the season.

Pitta has been targeted 8.1 times per game, more than any NFL tight end except Jordan Reed of the Redskins and Greg Olsen of the Panthers. The Flacco-Pitta connection is overdue for a score.

4. Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown won’t have 100 yards, or a TD.

Brown is a terrific player, but he has just one TD in 13 career games against the Ravens, and cornerback Jimmy Smith is back to playing A-level football. Considering some of the big plays the Ravens have given up lately, this is a bold prediction, especially on plays when Smith isn’t matched up with Brown. However, I think the Ravens will pay so much attention to Brown, if they are burned by another receiver, it will be Sammie Coates, who now looks fully recovered from a broken thumb.

5. Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman will have his best NFL game.

In his seven-game career, Perriman has never had more than three catches or 48 yards receiving. But the Steelers have a rookie corner, Artie Burns, making his first start, and the Ravens need to get the ball in Perriman’s hands early to help his confidence.

Prediction: Can the Ravens really lose five straight? Yes. But will they? Not against their archrival, and not at home.

Ravens 23, Steelers 20

RELATED: Steve Smith Sr. questionable against Steelers


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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?