Late For Work 10/31: Updated AFC North Standings; 8 Fixes Ravens Need To Make

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Ravens Fall In AFC North Standings, But Can Take Over Top Spot Sunday

It sure would have been nice to lend kicker Justin Tucker for one day to the Washington Redskins.

Maybe that way the Ravens would still be in second place of the AFC North this morning instead of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a chip-shot 34-yard field goal in overtime, forcing a 27-27 finish in London Sunday morning. The kicking wasn't inspiring all game, as Hopkins had already missed from 55 and Bengals kicker Mike Nugent missed an extra point and a 51-yarder.

The Ravens could have greatly used a Bengals loss, but at least we can be entertained by this amazing video of a Redskins public relations official shutting down a German reporter from interviewing Hopkins on the sideline after the game.

German media tries to interview Redskins Kicker...gets denied mid-interview 

(via @hopp3lch3n) pic.twitter.com/c3gqxzz3WG — NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) October 30, 2016

Shameful day for #NFL kickers...Thankful for @jtuck9. — Brian Bower (@sportguyRSR) October 30, 2016

The Bengals' tie was enough to boost them above the Ravens in the AFC North race with a better win percentage. (The Bengals have played one more game than Baltimore and Pittsburgh).

AFC North Team

W

L

T

Pct.

Pittsburgh Steelers

4

3

0

.571

Cincinnati Bengals

3

4

1

.438

Baltimore Ravens

3

4

0

.429

Cleveland Browns

0

8

0

.000

Despite falling in the rankings, the Ravens have a chance to take the division's top spot with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens may actually have health on their side as they prepare for the rivalry. Linebacker Terrell Suggs (biceps) and guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) returned to practice last week, while wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (ankle) and linebacker C.J. Mosley (hamstring) are "expected back" after the bye, says ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports as to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's status.

Whether Big Ben is out there or not, the Ravens badly need this win to remain relevant in the division and AFC wild-card hunt.

"We're seven games in, we're one game out of first in the division, and we're playing the team that's first in the division, which is our archrival," Head Coach John Harbaugh said last week. "What more could you ask for than that?"

8 Fixes Ravens Need To Make To Start Winning Again

As nice as it will be to get several Ravens Pro Bowlers back from injury, WNST's Luke Jones says it won't be enough to turn the Ravens' season around after dropping four straight.

"[T]heir returns alone won't magically transform a bad team — which is what the Ravens were in a winless October — into a great one," he wrote. "Keep in mind that their potential presence will also be accompanied by a tougher schedule in November and December."

The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec outlined eight "smaller fixes" that will help give the Ravens a better chance of winning during the second half of the season:

1) Go Back To The Fundamentals
"From Flacco's footwork to offensive-line penalties to subpar tackling and pursuit angles, the Ravens have experienced consistent and significant breakdowns with their fundamentals."

2) Help Flacco By Any Means Necessary
"[A]bsolutely anything and everything should be done to try and help Flacco out of a slump that deepens by the week."

3) Settle On An Offensive Line
"One bit of optimism this week came from the offensive line, whose first-team players practiced together for the first time in weeks. … The Ravens need stability in front of Flacco."

4) Get The Ball Into The Hands Of Kenneth Dixon"I'm not advocating for Terrance West to lose his starting job. … But Dixon having a bigger role doesn't have to come at West's expense. They can be used as a one-two punch."

5) Find Red-Zone Options
"The Ravens aren't big and physical enough to run the ball down teams' throats, and their passing game hasn't been accurate enough to consistently get into the end zone. They need to try different things and different personnel."

6) Get More Speed On The Field On Defense
"[I]t's obvious that the defense needs an injection of speed."

7) Play The Young Pass Rushers More
"Terrell Suggs has vowed to return from his torn biceps in time for Week 9 … But that shouldn't mean diminished roles for guys like Matthew Judon, Za'Darius Smith and [Kamalei] Correa."

8) Make Decision On Devin Hester Sr.
"The Ravens have given Hester far more chances than other returners with ball-security troubles have gotten under Harbaugh." 

Flacco Inducted Into Delaware Hall Of Fame

Quarterback Joe Flacco spent his bye weekend with his alma mater at the University of Delaware, where he was inducted into school's Hall of Fame.

Of course, Flacco's children were by his side when he was recognized at halftime of the Delaware vs. Towson football game Saturday.

Flacco starred for the Blue Hens in 2006-07, earning All-American honors in 2007 when he led Delaware to an 11-4 record and a berth in the NCAA FCS title game.

He set a whopping 20 school records, including completions in a game (40) and season (331), consecutive passes without an interception (174), passing yards in a season (4,263), 300-yard passing games (11), and career completion percentage (.634).

"The university means so much just because of what I'm doing today and how much of an opportunity this place gave me to go out there and take advantage of what I feel like I do best," Flacco told Zrebiec after the induction ceremony. "It's nice to come back here and see some friendly faces and be part of this."

Z. Smith Fined For Hit On Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ravens outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith was fined $18,231 for his roughing the passer on Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, per multiple reports.

The high hit came on second-and-19 in the fourth quarter and gave the Jets a first down. It allowed New York to eat up the clock that Baltimore could have used for a comeback bid in their 24-16 loss.

With Suggs and Elvis Dumervil (foot) out, the Ravens relied more on Smith and rookies Judon and Correa in the pass rush. The young group faired decently well as Judon notched two sacks and Correa caused a fumble.

Quick Hits

My best friend.... I love you!!

A post shared by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

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