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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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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

Former Carolina Panthers' star receiver Steve Smith spoke in front of a crowd of over 400 people at the fifth annual Wake up for Wellness breakfast that was sponsored by Mental Health America of Central Carolinas.

The 16-year veteran and current NFL Network analyst touched on the importance of seeking help for bouts with depression and spoke of battles that he has faced with the disease.

“On the outside you’ll see a tough exterior. But on the inside, I’m just broken or I believe even more broken than the average man. ... Because when the stadium goes dark and the cheers stop, you’re still looking for that pat on the back,” Smith said. “Throughout my whole career, I struggled with that.”

Smith discussed that in the beginning, he was so concerned about the stigma regarding mental health, that he opted for the professional to meet him for housecalls, and as time passed he realized the importance of speaking up.

“I started to realize that I’m not broken,” he said. “I’m not being sent back to the manufacturer ... I get up every morning and figure it out.”

Smith's comments on the issue came to light just a day after the NFL and NFLPA announced new legislation that focuses on mental well being.

The newly formed Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee will develop programs for members of the NFL in addition to collaborating with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Each team will be mandated to retain a Behavioral Health Team Clinician for assistance that will be required to be available to players at the individual team facilities for at least 8-12 hours per week and must conduct mandatory mental health education sessions for players and coaching staff.


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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: What to look out for at OTAs

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: What to look out for at OTAs

Kick off your Thursday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including what to watch for at OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. As the Ravens try and bolster their pass rush during the offseason, they hope to find much-needed help from outside linebacker, Shane Ray. The Ravens picked up Ray from the Denver Broncos where he had an unproductive last two seasons due to injury, only registering one sack in each of the past two seasons. However, Ray had a phenomenal career at Missouri as a unanimous All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. The Ravens have given Ray a shot at a career reboot and fans are excited to see what he's got.

2. Thursday is the media's first opportunity to get a look at the 2019-20 Ravens. Ravens writer Ryan Mink writes seven things to look out for at OTAs including, attendance from veterans even though OTAs are mandatory, a look at linebacker development with the signings of namely Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray and a first look at the rookie class to name a few.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.