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Steelers target improvement in red zone

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Steelers target improvement in red zone

Too often for their liking last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense acted like the high-performance sports car that sputtered and stalled when it was time to pull away from a traffic light.

The Steelers were second in the league in total yards in 2014, but ranked lower in red-zone performance. According to Football Outsiders, they ranked eighth in efficiency inside the 20-yard line and 19th in success rate at just under 52 percent, as computed by TeamRankings.com.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said the team needs to address the drop-off in the red zone.

"I think it's an area of emphasis for us," Haley said, as reported by ESPN.com.

To that end, the Steelers are working on short-yardage packages during organized team activities.

“When we get down in there tight, where football gets tough, we have to get the ball in the end zone, whether it’s running or throwing it,” Haley said.

But most of all, Pittsburgh can’t afford to come away with nothing. Settling for a field goal still is preferable to putting up zero points, which Haley recalled happened 10 times last season.

"We have a very good kicker [Shaun Suisham]," Haley said. "Really, how we changed our mentality, once we hit the 35 in decent weather conditions, we have to assume we have a chance to get three points. If we don't end up with at least three, then we’ve hurt ourselves. Too many times last year [zero points] occurred for different reasons, whether it was a turnover or sack. Those add up surprisingly quick."

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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!

A post shared by Baltimore Ravens (@ravens) on

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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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