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Ravens path to AFC North title gets slightly easier as Steelers' Roethlisberger out for rest of 2019 season

Ravens path to AFC North title gets slightly easier as Steelers' Roethlisberger out for rest of 2019 season

No NFL player, coach, or fan should ever wish an injury upon anyone. But in wake of one injury, the Ravens' quest to win back-to-back AFC North titles has likely become a lot easier.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss the remainder of the 2019 NFL season, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin announced in a statement on Monday. 

Roethlisberger suffered an injury to his right elbow during the team's loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Late Sunday evening, the team medical staff determined he would need surgery, effectively ending his 2019 campaign.

"Ben Roethlisberger had an MRI on his right elbow Sunday evening and it was determined by the Steelers’ medical team that surgery will be required," Tomlin said. "We expect the surgery will be scheduled for this week. He will be placed on our Reserve/Injured List and is out for the season."

Mason Rudolph, the team's third-round pick in 2018, will replace their future Hall of Fame QB for the time being.

Even if Roethlisberger's injury had not occurred, through two weeks, the Ravens looked like the team to beat in the division. Baltimore is undefeated, while Pittsburgh dropped their first two contests.  The Ravens, according to fivethirtyeight.com, have a 72-percent chance to make the playoffs, the fifth-highest percentage in the NFL.

Since 2010, either Pittsburgh or Baltimore has won all but two AFC North titles.

The Ravens get their first crack at Rudolph and the Steelers in just three weeks, when Baltimore will travel to Pittsburgh on Oct. 6.

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What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

The Ravens have a problem in the secondary; no one can stay healthy. 

Baltimore suffered season-ending injuries to Iman Marshall and Tavon Young at cornerback and Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott at safety. Cornerback Jimmy Smith hasn’t played since Week 1 with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and Maurice Canady currently has a hamstring injury, coach John Harbaugh said. 

So on Monday, the Ravens traded for cornerback Marcus Peters from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick. 

Peters, 26, is in his fifth year as a pro and is in the final year of his rookie deal that is paying him just over $9 million against the cap this season. 

A true ballhawk, Peters has an NFL-best 24 interceptions since he entered the league in 2015 as a first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Peters was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and was a Second Team All-Pro that season. He was a First Team All-Pro a year later. 

With a host of injuries at cornerback and in the secondary the Ravens will likely use Peters right away opposite Marlon Humphrey, who has been one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks this season. Peters excels at turning the ball over, something safety Earl Thomas did in Seattle and a statistic in which the Ravens coaches have expressed a desire to improve.

The Ravens rank 13th in yards allowed per game, 30th in yards per play against and 25th in pass defense. Peters figures to help out in those departments.

Smith is expected to return sooner rather than later in the secondary, meaning the Ravens will have to find a way to get Humphrey, Peters, Smith and Brandon Carr on the field in a positive way.

And while Peters’ contract is up at the end of the season, the final 10 games could be a tryout to see how he fits into the team’s short-term and long-term plans. Should he impress, it’s not inconceivable the Ravens could re-sign him and make he, Humphrey and Young the team’s top three cornerbacks headed into the 2020 season.

If they don’t, they’ll be awarded a compensatory pick in 2021. As for what round, that will depend on how much Peters signs for. 

Either way, the move is an aggressive one to shore up a notable area of concern for the Ravens this season. It adds a cornerback who has had incredible success in his young career and adds a piece in the secondary to pair opposite Humphrey. 

The price wasn’t hefty, either. The Ravens moved on from Kenny Young, a linebacker who had fallen out of their plans, and a 2020 draft pick, one of many they possess next year. 

It’s a true low-risk, high-reward situation for a team that still thinks it can contend this season.

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6 moments that show how awesome newest Raven Marcus Peters is

6 moments that show how awesome newest Raven Marcus Peters is

Marcus Peters is a Raven now. Baltimore made it official Tuesday when they sent linebacker Kenny Smith and a draft pick to the Rams for the two-time All-Pro.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Peters has plenty of career highlights. It's hard to narrow it down, but here are some of his best.

He's got a game-sealing pick-six on Monday Night Football against the Raiders. He was fined for his "celebration" as he entered the end zone, but at least he was having a good time.

His entrance into the end zone was not nearly as smooth on this pick-six. His path to the goal line was much more difficult and he had to leave the game after this big hit.

Back when he was still with the Kansas City Chiefs, he showed a knack for finding the ball, stripping it from Jamaal Charles, scooping it up and returning it for a touchdown to open the scoring on Monday Night Football against the Broncos.

He also spent a whole game mic'd up, which was genuinely entertaining.

Peters similarly just ripped the ball right out of Kelvin Benjamin's hands, though he didn't return this one for a touchdown.

Most importantly, he's got a competitive attitude.

The Ravens needed reinforcements in their secondary, and Peters and his highlight-reel plays are on the way to help.

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