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Where does Lewis rank in history?


Where does Lewis rank in history?

It's only a matter of time before Ray Lewis walks onto the stage at Canton, Ohio, for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is certain to come in his first year of eligibility, which will be five years after he has retired.

But where exactly does Lewis rank among the Hall of Famers? There's no easy way to compare Lewis with players of a bygone era such as Dick Butkus or Ray Nitschke, but there's no doubt that Lewis is right at the top of the list of the greatest linebackers of all time.

In NFL Network's recent look at the top 100 players of all time, Lewis checked in at No. 18. Only one linebacker ranked higher: Butkus at No. 10. And ESPN's Any-Era team, created to speculate on which current NFL players would do well in the old-school, smash-mouth, mud-caked NFL, named Lewis No. 1 on its list.

Here is how Lewis compares with some of those who he will one day join in Canton:

Dick Butkus (No. 10 on NFL Network's top 100 list): It's hard to visualize old-school Bears football without Butkus ranging side to side and absolutely crunching someone.  There might have never been a harder hitter in the NFL. Butkus went to eight straight Pro Bowls, but in terms of longevity, Lewis beats him badly;  Butkus' career was cut short by a knee injury, and he played 119 games over nine seasons from 1965-73. Lewis has nearly doubled those totals, with 227 games over 17 seasons.

Jack Lambert (No. 29): Like Lewis, Lambert anchored a team known for its defense, and no teams in the 1970s wanted to mess with the Lambert in the teeth of the Steel Curtain. Lambert played in nine straight Pro Bowls and in 146 regular-season games over his 11-year career. Also like Lewis, Lambert could drop back in coverage; he finished with 28 career interceptions, three shy of Lewis' current total, and his season-best of six (twice) equals Lewis'. Lambert, though, has the thing that Lewis says he wants most: Super Bowl rings. Lambert earned four of them.  

Chuck Bednarik (No. 35): It's pretty much impossible to compare Lewis with Bednarik, who was one of the last phenomenal two-way players in the NFL. You want old school? Bednarik, who played center on offense and was a punishing linebacker on defense, played 58 minutes of the NFL title game in 1960, and made a game-saving tackle on Jim Taylor that gave the Eagles that title.  

Ray Nitschke (No. 47): Nitschke, like Lewis, was still a mauler well into his mid-30s, playing until he was 36 years old. Nitschke anchored a defense that won the first two Super Bowls, and he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1962 NFL Championship Game, which preceded the Super Bowl. Nitschke played 190 games over his career, which though approaching Lewis' total, still falls basically two full seasons short.

Willie Lanier (No. 53): The pride of Morgan State, Lanier was another old-school hitter who Lewis would have fit right in with. Lanier anchored a Chiefs defense that held Minnesota to seven points in the Chiefs' 23-7 win in Super Bowl IV, and during a career from 1967-77 he went to the Pro Bowl eight times.

Mike Singletary (No. 58): Singletary was the heart and soul of Buddy Ryan's 46 defense in Chicago, which is often mentioned with the 2000 Ravens as one of the greatest ever. Singletary went to 10 straight Pro Bowls with the Bears and was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year (1985, 1988). He later worked with Lewis as the Ravens inside linebackers coach from 2003-04.

Junior Seau:  Seau isn't enshrined in Canton yet, but only because he isn't eligible yet. Seau is one of the very few linebackers whose longevity -- at least as of now -- surpasses Lewis. Seau played 20 seasons from 1990-2009, with 12 trips to the Pro Bowl. He reached the Super Bowl twice, but will be among the best modern players to never win one.

Patrick Willis:  No, he doesn't belong in Canton yet, or in the same breath as Lewis, but perhaps as much as anyone he represents the next generation of bruising inside backers. Willis has been in the league only since 2007, but has been named to the Pro Bowl every year. Lewis told ESPN in 2011 that Willis "reminds me of myself -- a lot."

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season


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.