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Torrey Smith eyes 'monster' season

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Torrey Smith eyes 'monster' season

Now it can be told: the sports hernia Ravens receiver Torrey Smith dealt with down the stretch of last season was, well, no small thing.

The biggest thing about it, Smith said after Mondays training camp practice, is everything I was doing was painful.

Wait ... everything?

Well, I was fine cutting and fine once I got going, Smith said, but actually getting going, the transition to that, was painful (and) when it started to get cold, that was terrible.

Smith still put together a highly productive season, grabbing 50 passes for 841 yards, with seven of his receptions going for touchdowns a record for a Ravens rookie. He caught a last-minute game-winner against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, scored a touchdown in the AFC title game and generally made a name for himself as one of the NFLs best young deep threats.

But dont expect him to beat his chest over his accomplishments. Rather than focus on what he accomplished, he said he has watched films of the catchable balls he dropped and the plays he didnt make which were more numerous than he wanted.

I have high standards for myself, he said, and looking back at the end of the year and seeing all the plays I left on the field, it could have been a monster season for me. I know (now) that as long as I can be consistent, I can reach those goals. I just want to get better and better every time I walk off the field. Being consistent on my technique, on catching the ball, in my routes, thats what Im working toward.

Smith underwent surgery to repair the hernia after the season and was back to full speed for the spring practice season. The Ravens love whatre seeing from him in his second training camp. A year ago, he was admittedly clueless, having come to camp cold, without the benefit of spring OTAs and minicamps due to the lockout.

I could barely walk and chew gum at the same time, Smith said. I was so busy thinking about my assignments and worrying about things I shouldnt worry about. For me, coming in this year, understanding the offense, just trying to develop as a player, its a lot less stressful.

This year, he has been the best receiver in camp, a playmaker and frequent target of quarterback Joe Flaccos. Ravens coach John Harbaugh cant praise him enough.

This is a guy who comes to work every single day and all he thinks about is how he can get better, Harbaugh said. Hes the most efficient improver, if thats a word, that Ive ever seen. He gets the most out of every day. I think thats why hes going to continue to become a great player.

CAMP NOTES

Although Bryant McKinnie was in full pads for the first time, the Ravens went with Michael Oher and rookie Kelechi Osemele as their starting offensive tackles. But McKinnie drew praise from Harbaugh.

He worked hard. He made it through the whole practice. I thought he looked athletic. He looked like he was moving well. Now he just has to stack (good practices), Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh said he reached out to Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid after hearing that Reids oldest son had died at the teams training camp at age 29. Harbaugh was an assistant under Reid in Philadelphia for almost a decade.

With the sun burning down, Harbaugh pulled guard Marshal Yanda and receiver Jacoby Jones from practice early just to give them a break. Theyd done enough, he said.

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NFL Playoff Picture: A lot on the line for the Ravens heading into Week 16

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NFL Playoff Picture: A lot on the line for the Ravens heading into Week 16

Week 15 in the AFC was verrrryy interesting.

The Los Angeles Chargers went into Kansas City and handed Patrick Mahomes a loss.

Tom Brady may have to play during Wild Card weekend for just the third time in the Brady-Belichick era, and the sixth a final playoff spot is still up for grabs as the Baltimore Ravens could be eliminated this weekend.

Here's a look at where things stand in the AFC heading into Week 16.

AFC Playoff Standings:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3, 4-1)

The Chiefs have already clinched a playoff berth, but their Thursday night loss to the Chargers made things much more interesting in the AFC West. 

If they win out, the Chiefs will still claim the AFC West and the No. 1 seed. A loss over the next two weeks, however, could shift their seeding around. 

Remaining Games: @Seahawks (8-6), Raiders (3-11)

2. Houston Texans (10-4, 3-2)

The Texans moved up in the standings thanks to the New England Patriots losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Deshaun Watson closing out a win against the New York Jets.

The Texans could easily finish 12-4 after their remaining two matchups.

Remaining Games: @Eagles (7-7), Jacksonville (4-10)

3. New England Patriots (9-5, 3-1)

The Patriots' loss to the Steelers Sunday has put them in a sticky situation. 

A first-round bye is potentially in jeopardy, something Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren't used to, and a road game in the second-round seems plausible. Their remaining games, however, could easily bounce them back from their two-game losing streak.

Remaining Games: Buffalo (5-9), Jets (4-10)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1, 3-1-1)

A win Sunday over the Patriots didn't move the Steelers any in playoff seeding, but did keep them half a game up of the Ravens for the AFC North.

It will be a race to the finish line for Ben Roethlisberger and co. as the AFC is anything but steady and they face Drew Brees and the Saints in Week 16.

Remaining Games: @Saints (12-2), Bengals (6-8)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3, 3-2)

The Chargers secured a spot in the playoffs with their 29-28 win over the Chiefs in unexpected fashion.

They could also ruin the Ravens' season Saturday as a win will knock them out of the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

Remaining Games: Ravens (8-6), @Denver (6-8)

6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6, 2-3)

There are so many scenarios for the Ravens heading into Saturday's game against the Chargers. One of those includes them taking over the AFC North, and the other involves missing the postseason for the fourth year in a row.

If the Ravens win Sunday and the Steelers lose to the Saints, they will lead the AFC North. But if the Ravens lose and the Steelers, Colts and Titans all win the Ravens head back to Baltimore with nothing to show for their 2018 season. 

Not only do the Ravens have to travel across the country on a shorter week, but it will be the first time Lamar Jackson faces a top-10 defense. It's all in their hands.

Remaining Games: @Chargers (11-3), Browns (6-7-1)

In The Hunt:

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6, 3-2)

The Colts slowed down the Dallas Cowboys hype train in their shutout win Sunday. 

The Colts will need some help to make it to the playoffs and a Ravens loss on Sunday could do just that.

Remaining Games: Giants (5-9), @Tennessee (8-6)

8. Tennessee Titans (8-6, 3-2)

A shutout win over the New York Giants kept the Titans' playoff hopes alive.

The Colts have the advantage over the Titans at the moment based on their head-to-head record, but that could all change in Week 17 when the two faceoff against one another. 

Remaining Games: Redskins (7-7), Colts (8-6)

9. Miami Dolphins (7-7, 4-1)

Miami has been able to stay in the mix, but their 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday could have spelled the end.

They now must win out and need a lot of help from other teams to see January football. 

Remaining Games: Jacksonville (4-10), @Bills (5-9)

10. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1, 2-1-1)

The Browns need somewhat of a miracle to make the playoffs, but their season certainly hasn't been boring.

In order to make it to the postseason, the Browns have to win out AND the Titans and Colts both have to lose Week 16 AND the Titans and Colts have to tie in their Week 17 matchup. 

Eliminated: Oakland Raiders (3-11), New York Jets (4-10), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10), Buffalo Bills (5-9), Cincinnati Bengals (6-8, and the Denver Broncos (6-8). 

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4 must-see moments from the Ravens' Week 15 win over the Bucs, including Marlon Humphrey's big day

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4 must-see moments from the Ravens' Week 15 win over the Bucs, including Marlon Humphrey's big day

It was a wet and dreary day in Baltimore as the Ravens earned a 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Winning four of their last five games, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens extended their run to the postseason in a total team effort.

Here are four must-see moments from the Week 15 win.

1. Humphrey's big day

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey further cemented he's worthy of a Pro Bowl nomination during Sunday's game. The 2017 first-round draft pick laid a huge hit on Bucs running back Ronald Jones in the first quarter for a loss.

Then Humphrey picked off quarterback Jameis Winston early in the fourth quarter to earn his first interception of the season and a career-high four passes defensed on the day. 

2. Chris Moore puts Ravens on the board

After a slow start, the Ravens finally got on the board late in the second quarter thanks to a five-yard touchdown by wide receiver Chris Moore.

Jackson ran to the left to throw off the Bucs defense before shovel passing that ball to Moore who ran it into the endzone from the right. Simple yet effective.

3. Gus 'the bus' drives to the endzone

Running back Gus Edwards has taken the Ravens' running game to new levels. Ranked 27th in the league heading into Week 11, the teams run game is now ranked second in the NFL after Sunday's performance. 

This 10-yard touchdown run gave the Ravens some breathing room early in the third quarter as they took a 17-9 lead. An introvert in the locker room but an extrovert on the field, Edwards has 100 consecutive rushes without a loss of a yard marking the longest active streak in the NFL.

Edwards finished the day with a game-high 104 yards on 19 carries and his third 100-yard game this season.

4. Jackson in action...again

Five games as the starter and we know for certain that Jackson can, and will, run the ball down the field.

Facing 3rd-and-seven, the QB magically avoided a sack and ran for 11 yards to pick up the first down.

Even though Jackson's effort was offset by a 15-yard unecessary roughness penalty against running back Kenneth Dixon, the play was still impressive.

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