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Can Ravens make it a clean sweep against Steelers?


Can Ravens make it a clean sweep against Steelers?

Ravens vs. Steelers

at M&T Bank Stadium, 4:25 p.m. ET

The line: Ravens -10.

Last week: Ravens (9-2) beat the San Diego Chargers 16-13 OT; Steelers (6-5) lost to the Cleveland Browns 20-14.

Series: Steelers lead, 18-15.

Last meeting: Ravens won 13-10 on Nov. 18 in Pittsburgh, which was without QB Ben Roethlisberger, by overcoming an early deficit to rattle and knock out his replacement, Byron Leftwich, with cracked ribs late in the fourth quarter.

Burning question: Can the Ravens avoid a letdown in a game they’re not only expected to win but dominate and keep alive their two-season undefeated streak in the AFC North and extend their home winning streak to 15 consecutive regular season games?

Keys to victory on offense: Just do what they normally do at home, which is pile up points with the hurry-up tempo. They’ve scored 44, 31, 23, 31 and a franchise-record 55 at home where QB Joe Flacco has thrown for 299 yards or more in four of five games. That means a big game is likely for WR Torrey Smith, too, who has scored a touchdown in every game except the opener at M&T.

Keys to victory on defense: They combined to hold the three-headed RBs of Jonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman to less than 100 yards rushing combined in the first meeting. The Ravens have held opponents in two of their last three games to less than 100. With Roethlisberger not playing for the third consecutive game, the battered secondary likely won’t get challenged much by third-stringer Charlie Batch. He threw 3 INTs in the Browns game last week. They’ll try to run the ball, and the Ravens will have the numbers to stack the box. Mendenhall has been slow to recover from a knee and Achilles injury and was demoted to third string.

Injury report: RAVENS -- Out: CB Jimmy Smith; Doubtful: TE Ed Dickson (knee); Questionable: DE Pernell McPhee (knee), CB Chris Johnson (hamstring), LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle/foot); Probable: WR Jacoby Jones (ankle), TE Dennis Pitta (neck), DT Terrence Cody (elbow), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle), CB Corey Graham (illness), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), WR Torrey Smith (thigh), WR Anquan Boldin (knee).

STEELERS -- Out: QB Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder/ribs), QB Byron Leftwich (ribs), T Mike Adams (ankle), LB LaMarr Woodley (ankle); Questionable: T Willie Colon (knee), WR Jerricho Cotchery (ribs); Probable: S Troy Polamalu (calf), T Max Starks (back), WR Antonio Brown (ankle), DT Casey Hampton (illness).

Prediction: Ravens 34-14.

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp


Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 


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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.