Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore Ravens’

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: December 14, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in sports
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The NFL just wrapped up Week 14; so let’s take a look and see how our picks did. Schaumburg Stu won the week with a record of 13-3. Dan the Man was 2nd at 11-5 with Mr. Fantasy 3rd at 10-6. That of course means I ended up at the bottom with a 9-7 record. Schaumburg Stu has the overall lead with a record of 136-72. We’re running out of weeks to catch Schaumburg Stu, but Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy now tied for 2nd with an overall record of 128-80. Again I am in the cellar with a record of 119-87. My picks where so bad that my cat went to the bathroom on the notebook page I wrote them down on. With 3 weeks left is there any chance I can get out of last place?

Now last Monday night the NFL match up featured the Baltimore Ravens at the New England Patriots. Now there was a lot of talk about how the #1 rated Baltimore defense would go into New England and shutdown Tom Brady. As we know that didn’t happen. The patriots got out to a 16-0 lead before the Ravens managed a field goal. New England stretched the lead to 23-3 before Baltimore started to make a comeback. Baltimore scored the next 17 points to cut the New England lead to just 23-20. It took Brady and the Patriots just play to make the lead 10 points again as he connected with Chris Hogan on a 79 yard touchdown pass to make it a 30-20 game. Baltimore was able to hit a field goal to make it 30-23, but after Justin Tucker’s onside kick attempt failed the Patriots where able to run out the clock and get the win.

Against the #1 defense Brady was 25 of 38 for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brady was sacked 1 time for -5 yards and also threw an interception. Brady had a quarterback rating of 85.6 in the game and averaged 10.7 yards a pass attempt. The final touchdown pass of the night Brady threw was the 450th of his career. The win was also the 202nd of Brady’s career.

The Patriots improved to 11-2 with the win and are currently on a 4 game winning streak. They have a 3 game lead in the AFC East over the Miami Dolphins. The loss puts the Ravens at 7-6 and knocks then into 2nd place in the AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the AFC North leaders at 8-5. Baltimore won the first meeting between the two teams on November 6th; so they currently have the tiebreaker. Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh in Week 16 for the second game between these two teams that will probably decide who wins the division.

After losing to the Patriots on Monday night the Ravens decided on Tuesday to release kick returner Devin Hester. Hester’s indecision on a punt early in Monday’s game led to the Ravens giving up a safety. Hester was having a good year returning kickoffs averaging 24.5 yards a return, but has struggled on punt returns where he’s averaging just 7.2 yards a return. Hester is 34 years old and if this is his last game in the NFL you have to ask; is he a Hall of Fame player? Hester is one of if the best return man in the history of the NFL. In his career Hester has 295 kickoff returns averaging 24.9 yards per return and he returned 5 kickoffs for touchdowns. Hester has returned 315 punts in his career averaging 11.7 yards per return and a NFL record 14 punts returned for touchdowns. In 2006 Hester returned the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl for a touchdown. Hester made 4 pro Bowls and was voted First-Team All Pro 3 times in his 11 year career. Hester never really blossomed as a receiver, but he does have 255 career receptions and 16 touchdowns. Hester also has 1 career rushing touchdown. There isn’t a full time returner in the Hall of Fame, but has there ever been a return man who was the type of weapon Hester was? If you had a Hall of Fame vote would you vote for Devin Hester?

On Monday the Los Angeles Dodgers where able to bring there closer Kenley Jansen back with a 5 year $80 million dollar deal. Now it’s being reported that the Dodgers other big free agent 3rd baseman Justin Turner will also be returning to Los Angeles on a 4 year $64 million dollar deal.

It’s being reported that Jansen was offered more money by the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins, but took less money to stay with the Dodgers. Jansen has spent his entire 7 year career with the Dodgers and last season became their all time leader in saves. Jansen currently has 189 career saves.

Turner was considered a utility guy until he took over at 3rd base for the Dodgers in 2015. Before locking down the 3rd base job Turner had spent time at 1st base, 2nd base, shortstop and even played some leftfield. Turner had career highs in home runs with 27 and also in RBI’s with 90 last season. Turner also finished 9th in MVP voting last season.

The NBA is going to use the D-League to test four and five person refereeing crews instead of the customary three in an effort to collect data and see if having additional officials involved affects the game. The first game with the extra referees will be December 26th and that will be the first of 9 games to feature extra officials. This isn’t the first time the D-League has been a laboratory of sorts for the NBA. The D-League has been a testing ground in the past for possible rules changes, along with changes in technology and equipment. This season, some of the innovations being brought to the D-League include a coach’s challenge, a reset timeout and a 3-minute overtime period. The experimental crews will have three different configurations. There’s a four-person crew with two officials in lead spots, and two others split between slot and trail positions. Another four-person test will have two officials in the slot, with the others in the trail and lead. And the five-person crew will feature the existing three person system, but with two other officials in stationary lead positions on opposite ends of the court. The NBA went from two-person crews to three-person crews for the 1988-89 season. There’s been talk of larger crews for years, and a four person crew was studied during summer league play at Salt Lake City back in July.

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games last season games last season nd see how we did with our NFL picks for Week 12. It was a good week for everyone, but Mr. Fantasy led the way with a record of 14-2. HIs two losses where the Seattle Seahawks; like I’m sure everyone lost on and he had the Denver Broncos over the Kansas City Chiefs. Dan the Man and I finished a game behind Mr. Fantasy at 13-3 while Schaumburg Stu was well over .500 as well at 11-5, but for a change he ended up last. Overall Schaumburg Stu is still in the lead with a record of 113-64. Dan the Man is in 2nd place at 109-68. Mr. Fantasy gained some ground, but is still in 3rd place at 106-71 and I am still in the cellar with an overall record of 100-77. Will have to see if we can continue to pick this well in Week 13.

Now I’m an avid fantasy player. I play in yearly leagues for the big four sports and would like to think I’m an above average player. I play in yearly leagues and I also play daily fantasy on the FanDuel website. I try to take in my share of fantasy news be it through the television or what I can read online. I’m always interested to see who they think the hot players are going to be and hopefully they’ll give a reason why they’re going with that player. When it came to quarterback for Week 12 it was a lot of the names that you’ll always hear; Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson where three of the guys that most experts liked in Sunday’s games. Now the name I didn’t hear as a hot play for Sunday was Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers. I think most of not all experts had Kaepernick as a below average play against the Miami Dolphins defense. In just one of those odd fantasy twist Kaepernick ended up being the highest scoring fantasy quarterback for Week 12. Kaepernick was 29 of 46 for 296 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kaepernick also ran the football 10 times for 113 yards. Now Kaepernick did throw an interceptions and was sacked 2 times for 14 yards, but in a basic Yahoo Public Fantasy :League Kaepernick was worth 34.14 fantasy points. According to Yahoo Kaepernick is owned in just 24% of their leagues. So the question becomes; is he a good pick up for the final 5 weeks? This week Kaepernick faces a Chicago Bears defense that is missing quite a few players due to injury and suspension. In Week 14 he faces the New York  Jets. Week 15 it’s the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 16 it’s the  Los Angeles Rams and to wrap the season up Kaepernick goes up against the Seattle Seahawks defense. It looks as though you could get some use out of Kaepernick if you’re looking for quarterback help down the stretch.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals 19-14 on Sunday and while it wasn’t that interesting of a game it was the way it ended that has everyone talking. With 1:05 left in the game the Ravens got the football on there own 21 yard line. After three running plays that gained 7 yards total the Ravens where facing 4th down and 3 yards to go with 55 seconds left in the game. The Ravens took a delay of game call to make it 4th and 8 yards to go, but more importantly there was just 11 seconds left in the game. Baltimore sent out Sam Koch to punt, but when the ball was snapped to Koch he started to back up slowly into his own end zone as the clock counted down. Now to give Koch the time he’d need to run out 11 seconds all the blockers on the Ravens punt team held which every Bengals player that was closet to the and in some cases even tackled them. Koch worked his way to the back of the end zone and was able to run the clock out with yellow flags all over the field as I think every referee had throw his flag. What Ravens head coach John Harbaugh knew was that the game could end on an offensive penalty; so why take the chance on punting the football. This way there was no chance of a blocked punt or a punt return and he also took away the Bengals chance to throw a “Hail Mary” and win the game. Now there where quite a few people who didn’t like this play, but the Ravens didn’t do anything wrong. I thought that it was very smart of them to go this route. Just imagine the heat that Harbaugh would be taking if the punt had been either blocked and recovered by Cincinnati for a touchdown or if they would’ve returned that punt for a touchdown and what if they would’ve throw that “Hail Mary” for a game winning touchdown. This could turn out to be a big win for the Ravens as they improved to 6-5 and are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 1st place in the AFC North. Baltimore does currently hold the tiebreaker over the Steelers as they won their first head to head meeting, but the teams play again Week 16 in Pittsburgh.

The World Champion Chicago Cubs reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Jon Jay on a 1-year $8 million dollar contract. Jay missed about two months of the 2016 season when he was hit by a pitch and broke his forearm. The injury limited Jay to 90 games last season with the San Diego Padres. Jay hit .291 in those 90 games and has a career batting average of .287. Jay has played 7 seasons in the majors; his first 6 where with the St. Louis Cardinals before playing last season in San Diego. Jay has played all three outfield spots in his career and has a career fielding percentage of .995. It appears as though the signing of Jay ends any chance of Dexter Fowler returning to the Cubs. It looks as though Alberto Almora Jr. will be given a chance to be the everyday centerfielder with Jay serving as a back up to Almora and possible a late inning defensive replacement for leftfielder Kyle Schwarber.

Also on the free agent front one of the top names looks to be off the board as it’s being reported that Yoenis Cespedes as re-signed with the New York Mets on a 4-year $110 million dollar deal. Cespedes will get $22.5 million next season, $29 million in 2018 & 19 then his salary goes to $29.5 million for the 2020 season. The deal also includes a full no trade clause. It’s no surprise that Cespedes re-signed with the Mets as they seemed to be the front runners as soon as he opted out of his deal after last season.

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The NFL gave us another terrible Thursday night game as this time we got to see the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 28-7. With the win the Ravens took a 1/2 game lead in the AFC North. Of course the Pittsburgh Steelers still have to play in Week 10. The Browns on the other hand dropped to 0-10.

Now believe it or not the Browns had a 7-6 lead at halftime. Neither team as able to put up any points in the 1st quarter; so you got a hint of how the rest of the game was going to go. The Ravens got on the board first with a Justin Tucker 25-yard field goal. The Browns then out together a 7 play 75 yard drive that ended when Cody Kessler hit tight end Seth DeValve for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Cody Parkey extra point made it 7-3 Cleveland. Tucker got the Ravens 3 more points as he hit a 40-yard field goal the 2nd quarter clock expired and the teams went into half time with Cleveland leading 7-6. Of course as we know by the final score the Browns didn’t score again in the game. The Ravens used a 9 play 64 yard drive that culminated with Joe Flacco throwing a 4 yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Wallner. The extra point made it 13-7 Baltimore. The teams traded interceptions before the Ravens put together their next scoring drive. This time it was 6 plays covering 47 yards and it ended when Flacco connected with Steve Smith Sr. on a 11 yard touchdown pass. The Ravens successfully made the 2-point conversion when Flacco hit fullback Kyle Juszczyk. That gave the Ravens a 21-7 lead. With the game pretty much over the Ravens out together a 12 play 90 yard drive for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. The touchdown was a 27-yard pass from Flacco to Breshad Perriman. The Tucker extra point got the game to it’s final score of 28-7.

Flacco went 30 for 41 with 296 yards 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Terrence West led the Ravens in rushing with 65 yards on 21 carries while Perriman racked up the most receiving yards for the Ravens going for 64 yards on 3 receptions and a touchdown.

Cody Kessler went 11 for 18 for 91 yards and a touchdown. Josh McCown took some snaps for the Browns as well and went 6 for 13 for 59 yards with 2 interceptions. Isaiah Crowell was the Browns leading rusher in the game with 23 yards on 9 carries. Terrelle Pryor Sr. led the Browns in receiving as he caught 5 passes for 48 yards.

Some now the question is; will the Browns win a game this season. It look as they would get their first win three weeks ago against the New York Jets, but they found a way to give that game away. The rest of the Browns schedule looks like this. Week 11 vs. the Steelers, Week 12 vs. the New York Giants, Week 13 is the Browns bye week. Week 14 they host the Cincinnati Bengals, Week 15 they’re on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Week 16 they’re home against the San Diego Chargers and then they end the season Week 17 in Pittsburgh for their second game against the division rival Steelers. Let me know if you see a win in there because I don’t think I do. The other question for the Browns is with as bad as this team has been will they be replacing head coach Hue Jackson at the end of the season? Jackson is regarded as a quality coach in the NFL and I’m not sure he’s the issue with this team. Even if the Browns do make a coaching change is there a guy out there that could make this team better as the head coach. Of course you’d have to wonder if any of the top names would touch a job like the Browns.

We had some baseball free agent signings and a trade during the last couple days of the General Manager meetings. The Atlanta Braves made two of them. First they signed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to a 1 year $8 million dollar deal with an option for 2018. Dickey will be 43 years old at the starts of the season and has spent the last 4 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Braves then added to there starting rotation by signing Bartolo Colon to a 1 year $12.5 million dollar deal. Colon turns 44 in May and has pitched the last 3 seasons for the New York Mets.

The Blue Jays also made two signings. They inked Cuban infield prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a 7 year $22 million dollar contract. Lourdes is the younger brother of Houston Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel and is considered one of the top international prospects. Gurriel, a Wasserman client, was declared a free agent several months ago but waited to sign until after the completion of his 23rd birthday in order to be exempt from international spending limitations. Unlike his older brother, he’ll require some more time in the minor leagues before surfacing at the big league level. Gurriel Jr. had a showcase last month where it’s reported that 60 to 70 scouts representing 20 different teams showed up for it. Gurriel Jr. worked out at shortstop and centerfield and ran 6.65 in the 60 yard dash. It’s unclear where the Blue Jays play Gurriel Jr. as they have Devon Travis at 2nd base, Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop and Kevin Pillar in centerfield. All 3 of those players are under the Blue Jays control until 2020. It’s possible Gurriel Jr. fills a super utility type role until he fills a full time position. The Blue Jays also signed Designated Hitter (DH) Kendrys Morales to a 3 year $33 million dollar contract. Morales is 33′ he’ll turn 34 in June and spent the last two season with the Kansas City Royals. With the signing of Morales you have to wonder if the Blue Jays will pursue their own free agents Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista. While Encarnacion can play 1st base Morales is pretty much strictly a DH as he’s played just 30 games at 1st base over the last 3 seasons.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made a signing as well. They inked Jesse Chavez to a 1 year $5.75 million dollar deal with the intention of giving him a chance to win a spot in the starting rotation. Chavez started last season with the Blue Jays before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chavez appeared in  a total of 62 games last season; all in relief. Chaves did make 26 starts for the Oakland A’s in 2015.

There was another signing. but it didn’t involve a player. The Milwaukee Brewers announced that they extend manager Craig Counsell though the 2020 season. Counsell took over as Brewers manager in May of 2015 after the team fire Ron Roenicke. Counsell is 135-169 as manager, but it looks as though he’ll be the guy on the bench through the teams rebuild. Financial terms of Counsell’s deal weren’t announced.

Then the trade. The Philadelphia Phillies acquired 2nd baseman/leftfielder Howie Kendrick from the Dodgers for 1st baseman Darin Ruf and 2nd baseman/outfielder Darnell Sweeney. It’s not clear how the Phillies will use Kendrick, but he’ll provide a veteran presence on a young team. By dealing Kendrick who wasn’t happy with his role in L.A. the Dodgers cleared some payroll to pursue free agents. Could this be a deal that actually works for both teams?

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Week 4 in the NFL started off right for Dan the Man, Mr. Fantasy and I as we had the Baltimore Ravens getting their 1st win of the season and luckily they did. Schaumburg Stu was the only one who took the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the game and to be fair they where just a couple of missed field goals away from Stu being 1-0 to start the week. As for me I have to make some quality picks that are different from Mr. Fantasy’s; so I can cut into his early season lead.

All in all from a fantasy perspective it wasn’t a great night unless you owned the starting running backs from either team. Le’Veon Bell had 22 carries for 129 yards and scored a touchdown o the ground for the Steelers. He also added 7 catches for 21 yards. While his passing yardage won’t really add up for you if you’re in a PPR (Point Per Reception) league those 7 extra points are nice to have. I’m sure fantasy owners where starting to question their selection of Justin Forsett early in there drafts this season, but he did what he could to change their minds on Thursday night. Forsett had 27 carries for 150 for the Ravens, but sadly for his fantasy owners didn’t find his way into the end zone.

Did you have to plug Michael Vick into your fantasy line up this week? If you did he didn’t hurt you, but he didn’t score big for you either. Vick went 19 for 26, but only for 124 yards; he did throw 1 touchdown and wasn’t intercepted. Vick also ran the football 9 time for 33 yards, but surprisingly he was sacked 4 times. Joe Flacco went 20 of 33 for Baltimore. He threw for a total of 189 and did have 1 touchdown, but he was also intercepted 1 time as well. Flacco did run 3 times, but he went for a total of 0 yards and he was also sacked 5 times and did lose a fumble as well.

When the quarterbacks aren’t throwing for a lot of yards that of course means your wide receivers aren’t racking up a lot of yards for you. Antoino Brown had 5 catches, but he went for just 42 yards and didn’t find his way into the end zone. It was Darrius Heyward-Bay who caught the Pittsburgh touchdown pass. Heyward-Bay had a total of 4 catches for 31 yards and that touchdown. Kamar Aiken was the ravens leading receiver on the night. Aiken had 5 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown. Steve Smith Sr. was injured early in the 3rd quarter and didn’t return to the game; so his night ended with him have 4 catches for just 24 yards. If you’re in a deep league and happened to take Ravens receiver  Michael Campanaro he added some fantasy points for your team this week. While Campanaro did have just 2 receptions for 16 yards; he did have an end around in the red zone that ended up being a 9-yard rushing touchdown. Campanaro is also te main return man for the Ravens. He had a kickoff return for 24 yards and a punt return for 14 yards if those stats count in your league.

The top fantasy player of the night may have been Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker. Tucker hit both his extra points ans was 3 of 3 on field goals with a long of 52 yards. He of course was much better than Steelers kicker Josh Scobee who did make both his extra points, but was 2 of 4 on his field goal attempts with a long of 45 yards.

Pittsburgh did have a couple of defensive players make double digit tackles. Lawrence Timmons led the Steelers with 11 tackles and did add a sack. Stephon Tuitt had 10 tackles and also recorded a sack. Three other Steelers recorded sacks; James HarrisonSean Spence and  Cameron Heyward got them. Ross Cockrell got the lone interception in the game. Baltimore only had 1 player get double digit tackles as Daryl Smith made 13 with 1 sack. Za’Darius Smith did have 2 sacks for the Ravens and Elvis Dumervil had the other sack for Baltimore.

The most interesting series during the last week of the baseball season had the Texas Rangers hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with not only the AL West on the line, but also the final wild card spot. Thursday night saw the Rangers get the win 5-3 and clinch themselves a playoff berth. Adrian Beltre went 2 of 3 with 3 RBI’s in the victory and Elvis Andrus added 2 hit for the Rangers. Derek Holland got the win to improve his record to 4-3. Holland went 6 1/3rd innings giving up 3 runs on 3 hits while walking 3 and striking out 6. Ross Ohlendorf, Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson held the Angeles scoreless and closer Shawn Tolleson picked up his 35th save of the season working the 9th inning. Albert Pujols got have of the Angels hits on the night going 2 for 4 (a double and a home run) while scoring 2 runs and driving in 1. Erick Aybar and Shane Victorino had the Angels other RBI’s on the night. Andrew Heaney (6-4) took the lose for the Angels pitching 4 1/3rd innings giving up 4 runs in 5 hits while walking 5 and striking out just 1. While this win locks up a playoff spot for the Rangers the rest of series will decide if they’re the AL West champions or if they’re the 2nd wild card team. Will also know if the Angels are in or out of the playoffs.

Friday night saw the Angels even up the series by picking up a 2-1 win scoring a run in the top of the 9th inning off Rangers closer Tolleson to do it. The Angels took the lead right out of the gate scoring a run in the 1st inning. Aybar led the game off with a single. After 2 strikeouts Pujols singled to move Aybar to 3rd. C.J. Cron picked up the RBI singling to rightfield to drive in Aybar and give the Angels a 1-0 lead. The Rangers got even in the bottom of the 4th inning on a Shin-Soo Choo home run; his 22nd of the season. In the top of the 9th Mike Trout led off the inning with a triple. Pujols followed that up with a single driving in trout for a 2-1 Angels lead. The Rangers couldn’t come through in the bottom of the 9th inning as Mitch Moreland (fly out), Josh Hamilton (strikeout) and Andrus )ground out) against Angels relievers Mike Morin and Joe Smith who picked up his 4th save of the season filling in for injured closer Huston Street. Jered Weaver started the game for the Angels pitching 6 innings. Weaver gave up 2 hits and 1 run while walking 3 and striking out 2. Morin got the win while pitching just 1/3rd of an inning to improve his record to 4-2. Martin Perez started the game for the rangers pitching 7 innings giving up 4 hits and 1 run while walking 1 and striking out 4. Tolleson took the lose pitching 1 inning giving up 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 1; the loss drops Tolleson’s record to 6-4 on the season.

With 2 games left in the regular season the Angels find themselves 1 game behind the Houston Astros for the final wild card spot in the American League. The Angels are starting Hector Santiago against the Rangers this afternoon. Texas is going wit Colby Lewis on the mound. Santiago is 9-9 with an ERA of 3.52 in 31 starts/ Lewis is 17-9, but has an ERA of 4.53. It’s must win time for the Angels to keep there playoff hopes alive as a loss and an Astros wins eliminates them. The Astros by the way are playing an inter-league series against the Arizona Diamondbacks to end the season. Tonight the Astros send out Colin McHugh who is 18-7 with a 3.98 ERA against Jeremy Hellickson for the Diamondbacks who is 9-11 with a 4.50 ERA this season.

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