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A two-horse race again

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A two-horse race again

Halfway through the season, the wheat starts to separate from the chaff, the contenders from the pretenders. And one surprise, to many, is that the AFC North again appears to be a two-horse race.

Cincinnati was a preseason sleeper pick by many to shove its way past the Steelers and/or Ravens to the top of the AFC North this season after making the playoffs last year, but the Bengals still can't seem to stand prosperity.  The Bengals have not had back-to-back winning seasons since 1981-82, and despite all the preseason optimism surrounding quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green, a winning season doesn't look very likely this year either, as the Bengals stand 3-5.

For the Bengals to post a winning record, they will need to go 6-2 over the final eight games facing a schedule that includes games at San Diego and Pittsburgh and home games against the Ravens and Giants. For all their strides forward, they still have been unable to beat either the Steelers or Ravens, going 0-4 last year and 0-2 so far this year against their rivals. Can't move to the top of the division that way.

The demise of the Steelers, meanwhile, seems to have been greatly exaggerated. Despite talk of sniping and infighting between first-year offensive coordinator Todd Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and key injuries on both sides of the ball, the Steelers have won four of their past five games to move to 5-3.

The Ravens haven't exactly scored a lot of style points, but this isn't gymnastics; the scoreboard said they won, and all wins count the same. And after eight games, they have more of them (6) than any other team in the division.

So as the second half of the season begins in earnest this week, as the weather turns nasty and the temperature drops, it's the Ravens and Steelers, duking it out yet again, as it ought to be.

And they will face each other twice in the next four weeks. Should be fun.

 

 

 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

Kick off your holiday weekend with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. One of the most obvious needs for the Ravens is help rushing the passer, and they're hoping to find some of that help on the interior in the form of free agent Gerald McCoy. The longtime Buccaneer DL visited Cleveland last week, but left town without agreeing to a contract.

Reportedly interested in playing for a contender, the former top-five pick is scheduled to visit the Ravens on Tuesday.

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is still struggling to throw the ball, as he noted things aren't right yet when it comes to accuracy. Media members noticed the ball wobbling through the air on many throws, and Jackson told them he thinks his hand is too high on the ball. If he's going to successfully run Greg Roman's new offensive scheme, Jackson will eventually need to be able to hit his receivers in stride with greater regularity.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including how quarterback Lamar Jackson has fared during OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Following a January surgery on his left ankle, safety Tony Jefferson remains sidelined after the first week of OTAs. Originally, Jefferson was expected to return 4-6 weeks after surgery. However, now that it's 5 months later, his return timetable is becoming more and more concerning. 

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke with Ravens media Thursday about his progress not only learning the new offense implemented by Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman, but learning the names of his new teammates as well. After another day of OTAs, Jackson was his biggest critic despite a solid day of running plays namely passing drills. “I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said to Ravens media. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

MORE RAVENS NEWS