Baltimore Ravens Rumors & News

Poll: Who Takes The Final AFC Playoff Spot?

While the NFC is crowded with a bunch of playoff caliber teams, the AFC only has five teams above .500. The Steelers and Patriots are the clear favorites at 8-2, while the Chiefs, Jaguars and Titans look like solid bets to make the postseason. The intrigue stems from what AFC team will win that sixth and final playoff spot, despite the franchises in the hunt looking mostly average to put it nicely. At the moment, the Ravens are second wild card at 5-5. The Bills are also .500 with the Chargers, Bengals, Raiders, Dolphins, Jets and Texans all trailing by a game at 4-6. It looks like nine wins could be enough to sneak into the postseason, with even eight wins being a distinct possibility when looking at the remaining schedule.

Tyrod Taylor (Vertical)

Baltimore Ravens (5-5): The Ravens are clearly led by their defense. The team has collected 16 interceptions over the first ten games of the season, with the unit led by the likes of Jimmy Smith, Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams. The secondary is very strong and deep and the front seven has been much better at stopping the run since the aforementioned Williams returned from injury. The offense on the other hand, has trouble moving the football to say the least. Joe Flacco ranks as the 31st QB in the league so far this year with the team having to overcome injuries from many of their best offensive players including Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead among others. It goes without saying that this type of offense will struggle to keep up with the likes of the Pats and Steelers in the playoffs, but Baltimore seems to be best positioned to make a run at the second wild card when looking at their schedule and current roster.

Buffalo Bills (5-5): The Bills have taken a nosedive since what was a promising early season start. Head coach Sean McDermott has turned to rookie Nathan Peterman to take over for veteran signal caller Tyrod Taylor, which led to horrible results. The team appears to be in shambles after being blown out by the likes of the Saints and Chargers over the past two weeks. LeSean McCoy is still dynamic and gives them a clear identity on offense, and the defense has playmakers all around. But this has not been winning franchise this past decade and without a clear signal caller to lead the way, their playoff prospects are clearly not looking as good as they were when this month started.

Miami Dolphins (4-6): The Dolphins 2017 season is going downhill fast after dropping four games in a row since opening the year 4-2. The team already got rid of a main component of their offense in running back Jay Ajayi, and while the team’s ground attack hasn’t suffered too much, the defense has been plagued by inconsistent play in the secondary with two inexperienced corners on the outside. Neither Matt Moore or Jay Cutler look like playoff quarterbacks right now and Adam Gase seems to be losing control of the team. The second AFC wild card from a year ago has so much negative momentum going for them at the moment, it seems difficult to envision them going on a run with the roster they have. There is offensive and defensive talent to build around for the future, but it’s going to take some extra magic to get this team turned in the right direction after what has transpired over this past month.

New York Jets (4-6): The Jets were a pleasant surprise early on, proving a lot of people wrong who said they were clearly tanking for a young quarterback when the season began. However, New York has come back to earth with the team showing obvious flaws, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Josh McCown has performed admirably with many unproven players that surround him, however you wouldn’t say the passing game is a real threat. The running game is inconsistent and the passing game has been mediocre apart from a few big plays per game from either Robby Anderson or Jermaine Kearse. The defense has a lot more talent, but I think much of the Jets success stems from an easy early season schedule. Their slate gets much more difficult after the bye they just had, so it’s going to be tough to hang around when you haven’t proved to be able to beat playoff caliber teams this season. It’s an encouraging year for Todd Bowles for sure, but a playoff berth does not seem likely.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-6): Despite the team looking lost at many points through the first 11 weeks of the season, the Bengals did enough to win an “elimination” game in Denver. Andy Dalton is on the better end of the QB spectrum when looking at this list and A.J. Green is still on of the best receivers in football. Joe Mixon hasn’t broken out as many thought, but he’s still a very talented runner that is getting more and more experience. The defense has been opportunistic, but isn’t a great unit. The team is really just mediocre, but that type of roster may have a place in the postseason this year because of the evident drop off in talent in the conference. Cincy has already lost to Baltimore at home, which puts them in a hole, but they have a playoff pedigree and the talent to separate themselves from the teams in the hunt.

Houston Texans (4-6): Houston looked primed for a playoff spot with the way Deshaun Watson was playing in his first stint in the NFL. Unfortunately, thanks to a knee injury, the former Clemson QB is out for the season and the team’s postseason outlook looks much worse because of it. Tom Savage led the Texans to their first win of the season since Watson went down when they beat the Cardinals today, but it’s tough to see the them consistently win games with Savage at the helm. The team has taken hits all season long in regards to injury with J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Will Fuller and Watson all missing time, plus they had to deal with Duane Brown holding out early in the season. It’s a credit to Bill O’Brian for keeping them relevant at this point in the season, but without their key playmakers, it’s going to be tough to win at least the four games they need to in order to sneak into the playoffs.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-6): Philip Rivers and co. could be in a much better position if they had solved their field goal kicking problems earlier in the season, but the newly located franchise still makes a solid case for being that final AFC playoff team. Rivers’ play has dropped off in his 14 year in the NFL, but he still ranks way above most of the quarterbacks in this race. The offense also have two of the better players at their positions in Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon to go along with breakout candidates in the second half of the season like Austin Ekler and Mike Williams. The defense is led by two great pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram who are always capable of making a game altering type play. The offensive line and defensive backfield have their weaknesses, but the Chargers are more talented than many teams vying for this second wild card.

Oakland Raiders (4-6): Despite being blown out of Mexico City at the hands of the Patriots, the Raiders still have a path to getting to the postseason. On the glass half full side, the team has the best QB of this group in Derek Carr, who is a true playoff caliber signal caller with weapons all around. We’ve seen them put it together at times, although it’s nothing like the system they had moving in 2016. The offensive line is still a strength and Marshawn Lynch has been better in recent weeks too. The defense and schedule is the big question here. With a well below-average secondary makes it tough for the team to limit big plays, so they’re going to have to win a lot of shootouts if they hope to win this final postseason spot. The schedule is much tougher than others in the race, so upsets are going to have to be pulled, but the talent is notable and they should remain in the hunt considering the general lack of quality football that’s been played by team’s hoping to overtake them in the final six weeks of the regular season.

 

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Demote Breshad Perriman

  • The Ravens have demoted former first-round receiver Breshad Perriman (and made him a healthy scratch for Week 11), tweets Rapoport. Perriman has managed only seven receptions in 2017, his third NFL season, and ranks among the league’s worst wideouts through 10-plus weeks, per Football Outsiders. However, Perriman’s reduced role may only last a single week, as Baltimore wants to see how the 24-year-old pass-catcher responds, per Rapoport.

Ravens Activate RB Danny Woodhead

The NFL’s worst passing offense is about to get a much-needed boost. The Ravens announced (via Twitter) that they have activated running back Danny Woodhead from the injured reserve. The veteran will be eligible to play tomorrow against the Packers. To make room on the roster, the team waived tight end Gavin Escobar.

Danny Woodhead (vertical)After signing a three-year deal with the organization during the offseason, Woodhead was placed on the injured reserve in September after he struggled to recover from a hamstring injury. While running back Alex Collins and his 5.6-yards-per-carry have looked solid, the team is in dire need of some receiving help. The Ravens currently rank dead last in passing yards and 27th in passing touchdowns, leading to an underwhelming 4-5 record. The 32-year-old Woodhead should certainly help in that regard, as he’ll provide quarterback Joe Flacco with another dependable target.

While the veteran missed the majority of the 2014 and 2016 seasons, he showcased his talents in 2013 and 2015. During those two campaigns, Woodhead averaged 78 receptions for 680 yards and six touchdowns. It may take the running back several weeks to get back in the swing of things, but he’ll presumably replace Javorius Allen as the Ravens’ main pass-catching back. The 26-year-old has been solid this season, hauling in 39 receptions for 189 yards.

Escobar, a 2013 second-round pick, joined the Ravens in October after having spent his entire four-year career with Dallas (plus a brief stint with the Chiefs). The 26-year-old went on to play in a pair of games for Baltimore, although he didn’t compile a single stat. In 64 career games, Escobar has 30 receptions for 333 yards and eight touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Stanley Doubtful for Week 11

The Dolphins season has taken a dive in recent weeks. After starting the year 4-2, the team has lost control of the final AFC Wild Card spot, losing their past three games by a combined 67 points, thanks to blowout defeats at the hands of the Ravens and Panthers. However, while their reliance on Jay Cutler and midseason trade of Jay Ajayi have’t helped, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald opines that the secondary has been one of the major reasons why the Dolphins are not in position to be playoff contenders, particularly in regards to loss of Brent Grimes when the franchise opted to cut him before the 2016 season.

  • The Ravens have already lost their best offensive lineman for the year in Marshal Yanda and have another troubling injury situation unfolding regarding left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Even after a bye, the second-year lineman is doubtful to play with a concussion, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Obviously, all concussions should be taken seriously, but his absence should be a concern considering that Baltimore has really had to shakeup their protection for Joe Flacco with the injuries to Yanda and second-year guard Alex Lewis. James Hurst would likely get the start in place of Stanley, which is a significant downgrade for a team that is looking to gain momentum in securing the final AFC wild card spot over the last seven weeks of the regular season.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/14/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: WR Dres Anderson
  • Waived: WR KeVonn Mabon

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: OL Cameron Hunt
  • Placed on injured list: OL J.P. Flynn

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Ravens Release RB Bobby Rainey

Bobby Raineys third tenure with the Ravens has come to an end. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports (via Twitter) that the team has released the veteran running back. The team has also signed offensive tackle Andrew Donnal, who was waived by the Rams last week.

Bobby Rainey (vertical)After being released by the organization following the preseason, Rainey re-signed with the Ravens in early October. He proceeded to appear in four games for Baltimore, hauling in five receptions for 18 yards. He was primarily utilized on special teams, as he returned 11 kicks for 338 yards and one touchdown and a pair of punts for 22 yards. As Zrebiec notes, Rainey’s release in an indication that Michael Campanaro is set to return from a shoulder injury.

Donnal was waived by the Rams last week. The 2015 fifth-round pick had spent his entire three-year career with the organization, including a 2016 campaign where he appeared in 16 games (four starts). As Zrebiec points out, the Ravens are now restoring nine offensive lineman, and the team could look to move on from one of those players when running back Danny Woodhead is set to be activated.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Bring CB Maurice Canady Off Of IR

The Ravens announced they have activated cornerback Maurice Canady off of injured reserve. To make room on the roster, wide receiver Chris Matthews has been released. "<strong

Canady went down with a knee issue in July, making him one of many Ravens to succumb to the injury bug. A sixth round pick in the 2016 draft, Canady looked great in this year’s spring practices and was in line to be the team’s top slot cornerback. He could work his way up to a similar role now that he is healthy. Canady has yet to record an official statistic in his four NFL games.

Matthews was added to the Ravens’ roster on Sept. 4 when Canady was first placed on IR. The 28-year-old had three catches for 25 yards in six games this season. Unfortunately, a thigh injury has sidelined him for the last two games.

With Matthews out of the picture, the Ravens have just four healthy receivers on the roster in Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, and Chris Moore.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/31/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/31/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

  • Released: T Storm Norton

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/17

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Promoted to active roster: OL Maurquice Shakir
  • Released: WR Griff Whalen

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers