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Rob Gronkowski's injury potentially opens door wider for Ravens playoff chances

Rob Gronkowski's injury potentially opens door wider for Ravens playoff chances


In Week 14, the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots will square off in a matchup with huge playoff implications.

The Patriots, however, will probably be without their second biggest offensive weapon, Rob Gronkowski. 

On Friday, Gronkowski is scheduled to undergo surgery for a herniated disc in his back, according to multiple reports, making his status for next week's matchup unlikely.


Already missing three games this season, the three-time All-Pro tight end has been one of Tom Brady's main targets throughout the year. The 27-year-old is tied for the Patriots second-most receiving yards with 540 while also scoring three touchdowns.

While Gronkowski is not the only threat for the Ravens' defense, with New England having seven different receivers scoring a touchdown, the Patriots are more successful when the TE gets more touches. In games where he has 90 or more yards the Patriots are 4-0.

For Baltimore (6-5) every game has playoff implications from here on out as the team battles the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) for the AFC North crown. It will not be a game for New England (9-2) to take lightly as they tied with the Oakland Raiders for the top playoff seed in the AFC.

A Ravens win over the Dolphins in Week 13 coupled with a Patriots loss to the Rams would set up a Week 14 showdown in which the Ravens could jump the Pats to the No. 2 spot in the AFC playoff picture. 

Officially there is no time frame on Gronkowski's possible return but it is expected for him to be out for eight weeks. 


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Hayden Hurst sending signed jersey to fan he headbutted in TD celebration

Hayden Hurst sending signed jersey to fan he headbutted in TD celebration

Ravens tight end and self-proclaimed #HockeyGuy Hayden Hurst is spreading the holiday cheer as he makes amends for a celebration injury he caused a fan in the stands.

Over Week 14 in Buffalo, Hurst caught a 61-yard toss from QB Lamar Jackson and rushed in to the end zone for his second touchdown of the season. With excitement, Hurst leaped in to the stands to celebrate with fans. In the process, there was some helmet-to-head contact.

Shortly thereafter, Hurst found this tweet that was sent out after the Ravens beat the Bills:

Thanks to social media, a connection was made, and the lucky fan with not only get his gloves but a signed jersey as well.

With warning to future fans down front, Hurst has well established that he is, indeed, a Hockey Guy and will continue to "crash the boards" aka leap in to the stands. 


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Ronnie Stanley absent from practice for second day in a row with concussion

Ronnie Stanley absent from practice for second day in a row with concussion

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — While the Ravens appear to have dodged a sticky situation with Lamar Jackson, the same can’t be said for left tackle Ronnie Stanley. 

He missed Tuesday’s practice with a concussion, and didn’t practice on Monday either. Meaning, the odds don’t look great for Stanley's chances to play on Thursday against the Jets. 

“I’m not going to get into injuries,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday when asked about Stanley’s injury specifically. “We just got done playing the game 24 hours ago. We’re going to play a game Thursday night. The guys that are ready to play will play, the guys that aren’t won’t. So, just look at the injury report and take it from there.”

Should Stanley be unable to play, the presumed starter would be James Hurst, a sixth-year tackle. Hurst has played in every game thus far, but hasn’t played meaningful snaps at tackle for a long stretch of time all year. 

Parker Ehringer, on the roster as a guard, played a bit of everything in college at Cincinnati, and could be called upon to be the backup swing tackle on Thursday.

It’s the second injury the offensive line has faced in recent weeks, as former starting center Matt Skura was lost for the season with a knee injury. Because of that, left guard Bradley Bozeman has had new partners on his left and his right in recent weeks.

“Me and James are good, we call each other brothers,” Bozeman said. “Me, Ben (Powers) and James, they say we all look alike...but we work together a lot. We’re good on our combinations, so it’ll be fine. No matter what happens, we’ll be good.”

If the Ravens have a new left tackle in Hurst on Thursday, there’s still a strong level of confidence in the NFL’s best rush offense. 

“That’s part of the O-line,” Bozeman said. “People go down, people get hurt. But it’s next guy up. All these guys are prepared and ready to roll. I’m not worried about a single guy that’s coming into play.”