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Telling road game for reeling Ravens

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Telling road game for reeling Ravens

A lot of questions will be answered about the Ravens on Sunday, but against the 2-5 Cleveland Browns?

Exactly. While AFC North games are always tough regardless of records, a lot is riding on this game not just for the Ravens' place in the standings but to set the tone for the second half the season.

The Ravens, who beat the Browns 23-16 on Sept. 27 in Baltimore, are coming off a bye week. They've yet to play like the dominant team they appeared to be when starting the season after losing LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb to season-ending injuries  and falling to the Houston Texans by 30 points last month.

Will their fortunes change starting in Cleveland on Sunday?

5 reasons why they will:

  • Bye-partisan: Coach John Harbaugh has had an extra week to prepare for a team that he has already beaten. He's 4-0 after bye weeks, and even though this game is on the road the Ravens still have better overall talent and a coach who is a meticulous planner.
  • Commitment to run: Ray Rice has averaged just 15 carries per game through the first seven games. He should have at least 20 and up to 25 depending on weather conditions. Harbaugh knows they have gone away from him too much and plans to make amends for that. And that includes RB Bernard Pierce, who averages more than 5 yards per carry, and FB Vonta Leach.
  • Sizzle effect: The defense has been miserable in every area except hustle, but now that Terrell Suggs, aka T-Sizzle, is all the way back from his Achilles injury just his presence should inspire them to play better if not from an Xs and Os perspective. The offense failed the Ravens against the Texans, putting them in a 29-3 hole in the first half with turnovers and a safety. Not the defense.
  • Better QB play: Maybe Joe Flacco isn't top 5 at his position, but he's much better than the one who has averaged 189 ypg passing on the road. He's performed in games with much bigger implications than this one (see last year's AFC title game) and he'll at least pull it together vs. the 26th-ranked defense in the NFL. His last 300-yard game passing came in Week 4 against this same team.
  • Pocket protection: After giving up four sacks in the first meeting, the Ravens' offensive line is better suited to handled the slow-developing stunts, which should give Flacco more time. Harbaugh indicated he'll make some adjustments with personnel groupings which could mean help on the edges where the tackles are vulnerable to speed. Rookie RT Kelechi Osemele, who injured his ankle against Houston, is healthy despite being on the injury report. He two-foot hopped a stool in the locker room from a standing position without difficulty and will be better because of the experience.

5 reasons why they won't

  • Stalled: The no-huddle doesn't work as well away for a team that was 4-4 there last season. Now they're 1-2 and they've scored just one touchdown on the road in the last 10 quarters. These are problems that are more common with young and inexperienced teams, not veteran ones.
  • X-factor: WR Josh Gordon, an undrafted rookie, was a non-factor and off the radar until recently. He has now become QB Brandon Weeden's primary target in a sub-par receiving corp that has been notorious for dropped passes. Gordon is 6-foot-3, has had four TD catches in the last four games and a team-leading 379 yards receiving (22.3 yards per catch).  Without Gordon being a factor, Weeden threw for 320 yards in the first game against a Baltimore defense that can give up big plays.
  • Missing piece: CB Joe Haden makes the Browns' secondary better. He didn't play in the Sept. 27 game, serving a four-game suspension imposed by the NFL for taking a banned substance.
  • No separation: There's always an excuse for why Ravens receivers can't get open. It's not press coverage by opposing DBs that gives them problems (it does). It's simply a communication issue with Flacco. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones were supposed to be the pieces to make this team a deep threat. They've yet to show they can consistently get open. Now Smith has to deal with a big, physical Haden.
  • Thin line: DE Pernell McPhee only had a half sack, but he won't play Sunday. He's struggled with leg injuries all season since getting six sacks last season. DT Haloti Ngata still is bothered by an injured shoulder. While the line has been sub-par this season, they're now even weaker without that depth.

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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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