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Did Ravens copy Patriots formation trick?

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Did Ravens copy Patriots formation trick?

They say the NFL is a copycat league, and it looks the Ravens copied the Patriots play that so baffled and angered them in the playoffs last year. Well, not exactly, but close.

On the Ravens first touchdown on Sunday at Oakland, tight end Crockett Gillmore was lined up as the left tackle, with James Hurst lined up at left guard. Meanwhile, right guard Marshal Yanda lined up in the slot on the right side.

When the ball was snapped, Yanda simply drifted backward, and Gillmore ran pretty much unchecked off the line of scrimmage. Flacco hit the wide-open Gillmore down the middle, and he raced in for a 26-yard touchdown.

Patriots fans and media were among the many people that noticed:

The formation brings back memories of the Patriots game, when they placed tight end Michael Hoomanawanui at left tackle. While the confused Ravens were busing covering the ineligible Shane Vereen in the slot, a wide-open Hoomanawanui caught a pass that led to a Patriots touchdown.

The Ravens had complained furiously about the formation, how the Patriots juggled which receivers were eligible and ineligible and the manner in which the Ravens were notified of that.

In fact, it led to a rule change this offseason; now, any player wearing an eligible number who reports as ineligible must line up in the tackle box.

But there are a couple of important differences that made the Ravens play legal. First, Yanda, wearing No. 73, was not an eligible receiver reporting as ineligible, as was the case with Vereen. Second, Gillmore, was lined up next to the left tackle, with no other player to his left on the line of scrimmage, so he is eligible. There should have never been any question about which receivers were eligible and which were not.

The Raiders, though, appeared to have been duped much as the Ravens were; they correctly left Yanda alone, but no one paid much attention to Gillmore at the snap, either. Deception? Sure. Harbaugh complained vehemently about it last year, but deception is part of the game, just as a surprise onside kick or flea-flicker pass is. 

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Publicly, Harbaugh was incensed by the Patriots formation last year. But considering he pretty much copied it, it appears he  admired it as well.

RELATED: Loss to Raiders may change Ravens' future travel plans

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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