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Serious questions await Pats' D, Ravens' O

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Serious questions await Pats' D, Ravens' O

The New England Patriots have put a better defense on the field as it has allowed only 264.5 yards per game, but they've faced limited offenses in the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals.

The Ravens' offense, which sputtered in a 24-23 lost the Philadelphia Eagles last week after thrashing the Cincinnati Bengals in the opener, is at a crossroads, too.

Which performance in the first two weeks represents these teams' actual identities on offense and defense?

Baltimore's rejuvenated receiving corp failed to get separation against the physical secondary of the Eagles as Joe Flacco only completed 22 of 42 passes against their Cover 1 scheme, using just one safety over the top to play the deep zone.

In the Patriots, the receivers will face a lot of Cover 2, which means safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory playing the deep zones.

"In Cover 2, they have to slow you down and it kind of makes it tougher," said Torrey Smith, Baltimore's fastest player who only has four catches for the season. "They do a good job at putting their hands (on) you so we just have to work our technique."

With linebackers Jerod Mayo and rookie Dont'a Hightower, the Patriots still can stuff the run in Cover 2. They held Titans running back Chris Johnson to four yards on 11 carries and Cardinals runner Beanie Wells to 44 yards on 14 carries.

Ray Rice has 167 yards on 26 carries, which is better than six yards per carry this session.

In last year's AFC title game, Rice gained just 67 yards on 21 carries. In a 2010 regular season matchup, it took 28 carries for Rice to get 88 yards.

Smith being able to stretch the field would go a long way in loosening up the Patriots' defense.

"I'm not panicking at all," Smith said. "I haven't had the ball thrown too many times my way. It's not that I'm not open or Joe is not looking for me it's just the progression at times. We'll get there."

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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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