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Benson: I'm still here

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Benson: I'm still here

The Ravens backfield appears all set, with Ray Rice now in the fold for the next five years.

Behind Rice, a trio of young backs rookie Bernard Pierce and second-year players Anthony Allen and Damien Berry are vying for the No. 2 job, which was held last season by veteran Ricky Williams.

If the Ravens are underwhelmed by their backup options and at this point, theres no indication that they are at least one proven veteran is still out there on the market: former Bengals running back Cedric Benson.

Benson, who is coming off his third straight 1,000-yard season, told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he has no idea why he is still a free agent. Im at a loss for words.

Benson ran 273 yards for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns for the Bengals last season, but his workload waned and his dissatisfaction grew with offensive coordinator Jay Grudens system. He became a free agent after the season, but no deal has been forthcoming.

Benson reportedly is asking for more than the veterans minimum salary, which seems reasonable for someone coming off three straight 1,000-yard seasons. Then again, he will be 30 in December, and his reputation has taken a hit with some off-field issues.

The Raiders, Jets and Packers are said to have considered Benson as proven insurance against an injury to their top running backs.

The Ravens last year signed Ricky Williams after training camp had started, and he filled the role behind Rice well. Williams knew his role and seemed content to be the No. 2 back in the twilight of his career. Considering his grumbling late last season, Benson sounds as if playing second fiddle would not be quite as agreeable to him.

So Benson might not the answer for the Ravens. But once training camps begin and running backs get hurt, heres guessing Bensons phone rings and he ends up in an NFL uniform by September.

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Ravens' Justin Tucker had the perfect reaction to his Pro Bowl snub

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Ravens' Justin Tucker had the perfect reaction to his Pro Bowl snub

The NFL announced Pro Bowl rosters for the 2018 season Tuesday night, and to the surprise of many Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was voted a first alternate for the second year in a row.

Named the backup to New York Jets kicker Jason Myers, not only were fans surprised but Tucker himself had the perfect reaction to the snub.

That GIF is from his shocking Week 7 missed field goal attempt against the New Orleans Saints, but so far in 2018 the most accurate kicker in NFL history has made 28 of 30 field goal attempts (93.33) and 33 of 34 extra point attempts (97.06). He was also named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September and November.

In comparison, Myers has made the most field goals in the NFL this season at 31, and his 93.9 success rate is ever so slightly higher than Tucker's. He's also made more from longer so far this season.

Tucker did earn Pro Bowl nominations back in 2013 and 2016. He owns an NFL-record seven-career games with multiple 50-plus-yard field goals and became the only kicker in league history to kick field goals from the 20-, 30-, 40-, 50- and 60-yard ranges in a single game. Week 12 against the Oakland Raiders, Tucker became the fastest pure kicker in NFL history to reach 900 career points in his 107th career game. The only overall player to hit this milestone faster was Gino Cappalletti in 106 games. 

Three Ravens did make this year's roster. Guard Marshal Yanda earned his seventh nomination after missing 14 games during the 2017 season with a fractured ankle. Safety Eric Weddle was named to his sixth Pro Bowl and his third straight with the Ravens, and linebacker C.J. Mosley earned his fourth nomination in five seasons. 

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley was named a second alternate. 

The Pro Bowl takes place Sunday, Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fl. 

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NFL Playoff Picture: A lot on the line for the Ravens heading into Week 16

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NFL Playoff Picture: A lot on the line for the Ravens heading into Week 16

Week 15 in the AFC was verrrryy interesting.

The Los Angeles Chargers went into Kansas City and handed Patrick Mahomes a loss.

Tom Brady may have to play during Wild Card weekend for just the third time in the Brady-Belichick era, and the sixth a final playoff spot is still up for grabs as the Baltimore Ravens could be eliminated this weekend.

Here's a look at where things stand in the AFC heading into Week 16.

AFC Playoff Standings:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3, 4-1)

The Chiefs have already clinched a playoff berth, but their Thursday night loss to the Chargers made things much more interesting in the AFC West. 

If they win out, the Chiefs will still claim the AFC West and the No. 1 seed. A loss over the next two weeks, however, could shift their seeding around. 

Remaining Games: @Seahawks (8-6), Raiders (3-11)

2. Houston Texans (10-4, 3-2)

The Texans moved up in the standings thanks to the New England Patriots losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Deshaun Watson closing out a win against the New York Jets.

The Texans could easily finish 12-4 after their remaining two matchups.

Remaining Games: @Eagles (7-7), Jacksonville (4-10)

3. New England Patriots (9-5, 3-1)

The Patriots' loss to the Steelers Sunday has put them in a sticky situation. 

A first-round bye is potentially in jeopardy, something Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren't used to, and a road game in the second-round seems plausible. Their remaining games, however, could easily bounce them back from their two-game losing streak.

Remaining Games: Buffalo (5-9), Jets (4-10)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1, 3-1-1)

A win Sunday over the Patriots didn't move the Steelers any in playoff seeding, but did keep them half a game up of the Ravens for the AFC North.

It will be a race to the finish line for Ben Roethlisberger and co. as the AFC is anything but steady and they face Drew Brees and the Saints in Week 16.

Remaining Games: @Saints (12-2), Bengals (6-8)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3, 3-2)

The Chargers secured a spot in the playoffs with their 29-28 win over the Chiefs in unexpected fashion.

They could also ruin the Ravens' season Saturday as a win will knock them out of the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

Remaining Games: Ravens (8-6), @Denver (6-8)

6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6, 2-3)

There are so many scenarios for the Ravens heading into Saturday's game against the Chargers. One of those includes them taking over the AFC North, and the other involves missing the postseason for the fourth year in a row.

If the Ravens win Sunday and the Steelers lose to the Saints, they will lead the AFC North. But if the Ravens lose and the Steelers, Colts and Titans all win the Ravens head back to Baltimore with nothing to show for their 2018 season. 

Not only do the Ravens have to travel across the country on a shorter week, but it will be the first time Lamar Jackson faces a top-10 defense. It's all in their hands.

Remaining Games: @Chargers (11-3), Browns (6-7-1)

In The Hunt:

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6, 3-2)

The Colts slowed down the Dallas Cowboys hype train in their shutout win Sunday. 

The Colts will need some help to make it to the playoffs and a Ravens loss on Sunday could do just that.

Remaining Games: Giants (5-9), @Tennessee (8-6)

8. Tennessee Titans (8-6, 3-2)

A shutout win over the New York Giants kept the Titans' playoff hopes alive.

The Colts have the advantage over the Titans at the moment based on their head-to-head record, but that could all change in Week 17 when the two faceoff against one another. 

Remaining Games: Redskins (7-7), Colts (8-6)

9. Miami Dolphins (7-7, 4-1)

Miami has been able to stay in the mix, but their 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday could have spelled the end.

They now must win out and need a lot of help from other teams to see January football. 

Remaining Games: Jacksonville (4-10), @Bills (5-9)

10. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1, 2-1-1)

The Browns need somewhat of a miracle to make the playoffs, but their season certainly hasn't been boring.

In order to make it to the postseason, the Browns have to win out AND the Titans and Colts both have to lose Week 16 AND the Titans and Colts have to tie in their Week 17 matchup. 

Eliminated: Oakland Raiders (3-11), New York Jets (4-10), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10), Buffalo Bills (5-9), Cincinnati Bengals (6-8, and the Denver Broncos (6-8). 

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