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Report: Real refs could be back soon

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Report: Real refs could be back soon

By JP Finlay
CSNbaltimore.com

Reports are swirling that a deal is close for the National Football League to bring back the regular referees, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

Comcast SportsNet confirmed that regular referees are preparing to vote on a new proposal from the NFL for a collective bargaining agreement with the referee union. If the agreement is approved, referees could be back on the field as early as this weekend.

Contract negotiations were accelerated this week after the fiasco that decided the Monday Night Football game between Green Bay and Seattle. That game was decided on the final play of the game when one referee ruled a touchdown and another ruled an interception of a Hail Mary pass thrown by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Monday Night Football play drew the ire of seemingly the entire country, with many players and even President Obama voicing concerns over the officiating in the NFL.

Until an agreement is reached, it is unclear if the Baltimore Ravens will take the field in Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Browns with the real refs on the field are face another game with replacements refs.

Baltimore's last game, against the New England Patriots, ended with much controversy with questionable calls from the replacements refs. The Washington Redskins game against the Cincinnati Bengals ended in similar controversy, with the replacement referees incorrectly deciding the game was over prematurely.

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

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.

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