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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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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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