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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

BY TYLER BYRUM

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.

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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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Ravens place center Matt Skura on active PUP list to begin training camp

Ravens place center Matt Skura on active PUP list to begin training camp

The Ravens will be without their presumable starting center for the beginning of training camp, at the least.

Baltimore has placed Matt Skura on the active Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, the team announced on Sunday.

By being placed on the active PUP list, Skura can come off the list at any time prior to the beginning of the regular season. Once the season begins, any player still unable to play is moved to the reserve/PUP list, which requires players to sit out the first six weeks of the season.

Skura, who signed a one-year tender this offseason to remain in Baltimore, was on his way to his best season with the Ravens in 2019 before a gruesome knee injury in Week 12 ended his season. The offensive lineman tore three of the four knee ligaments -- his ACL, MCL and PCL -- in Baltimore's victory over Los Angeles last season.

Undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari took over for Skura last season and played well in his place. Even if Skura returns prior to Week 1, Mekari is still expected to compete for the starting job.

During exit interviews last season, Skura said he hoped to return to the field by the beginning of training camp. While that won't be the case, Skura still has nearly six weeks before Baltimore's season opener to get fully healthy.

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Ravens waive defensive tackle Daylon Mack, punter Dom Maggio

Ravens waive defensive tackle Daylon Mack, punter Dom Maggio

The Ravens made a bit of a surprise transaction on Saturday, when they waived defensive tackle Daylon Mack and punter Dom Maggio. 

Mack, a fifth-round pick from a year ago, played in just one game last season before being placed on Injured Reserve. Maggio was a rookie punter out of Wake Forest. 

Mack only played nine snaps in the entirety of his rookie season. He was expected to compete for the backup nose tackle spot with Justin Ellis to play behind Brandon Williams. 

The Ravens boosted their defensive line spot significantly in the offseason, as they drafted Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington, traded for Calais Campbell, signed Derek Wolfe and re-signed Jihad Ward and Justin Ellis.

Maggio is a local product, from Monkton, Maryland. He attended Boys’ Latin in Baltimore in high school. He was set to give the Ravens an extra camp body at punter behind Sam Koch, one of the top punters in the league. 

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