Reed T-Shirt Offers $20,000 For Turnover
How much do the Jets value getting a turnover against the Ravens this weekend?
*To help motivate the turnover-hungry New York squad, newly-signed safety and former Raven Ed Reed *made up a few interesting T-shirts and handed them out to teammates, according to FoxSports.com.
The front of the black shirt featured an Old West-style poster with a picture of a* *football between the words:
In The Air Or On The Ground
"In the post-BountyGate world, the shirt may cause a raised eyebrow or two," wrote ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie wanted to make sure, however, that people knew it was only a joke and motivational tool, and no money would actually be exchanged. "No, I'm not offering 20 grand for a turnover. I like how you tried to work that. It's a shirt, man. I like how you did that. It's funny how you guys twist our words."
Money or not, Reed and the secondary would love to pick off quarterback Joe Flacco Sunday. The Jets only have five interceptions this season and it's been nearly a year since Reed has gotten his hands on a ball. The last regular-season pick he notched was on Dec. 2 when the Ravens lost in Pittsburgh.
Reed said that part of the reason he hasn't been able to notch a pick in so long is because of the respect quarterbacks have for him.
"I know I'm still effective, and I know the quarterbacks across the league haven't been throwing the ball my way," Reed told Baltimore reporters Wednesday.
Will it change this week? Would quarterback Joe Flacco throw his way?
"I hope it changes this week, but it probably won't. We'll see," Reed said.
Flacco could reverse the Jets' trend. The sixth-year quarterback has already thrown a career single-season high 13 interceptions this year and still has six games to go.
When he visited M&T Bank Stadium in Week 3 as a Texan, Reed had little impact on the game, notching just three tackles and no interceptions, passes defended or sacks.
But when asked how sweet it would be if he were able to pick one off against his former team, Reed seemed confident.
"Ask me after the game, when I pick one," Reed said, per the New York Daily News.
Ravens Hope To Confuse Geno
Speaking of turnovers, the Ravens have a good chance of creating a few of their own.
"The Ravens' defensive game plan could revolve around trying to confuse Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who's become a turnover machine during a rocky introduction to the NFL,' wrote The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. "If the Ravens disguise coverage schemes and use elaborate blitz packages, there could be opportunities to exploit Smith's inexperience."
Of the 21 turnovers the Jets have committed this season, a whopping 20 have come from Smith. He has one touchdown to nine picks in the last five games.
"He's definitely a quarterback with the potential to either win the game for them or give it away," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said, per Vensel.
That doesn't necessarily mean it will be pick-city in Baltimore.
The Ravens defense hasn't taken advantage of "less-than-established quarterbacks," says ESPN's Jamison Hensley. Baltimore has lost to Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, and backups in the Bears' Josh McCown and the Browns' Jason Campbell.
But none have struggled as much as Smith.
He's been so bad that Cimini says the Jets are now in the beginning stages of a quarterback controversy as they prepare for a huge road game. Last week there were already grumblings in New York to start backup Matt Sims.
"No doubt, this is the biggest start of Geno Smith's career," Cimini said.
Ravens Have One Of Toughest Schedules Remaining
While four of the remaining six games on the Ravens schedule are home contests, the strength of their opponents make things difficult.
Of the eight teams that are either tied or one game behind the final AFC playoff spot, the Ravens have the fourth-toughest schedule, according to Hensley. The Ravens' last six opponents have a combined record of 31-29 (.517).
Below are the three most difficult schedules of AFC teams still in the hunt:
San Diego Chargers: .689
Oakland Raiders: .600
Miami Dolphins: .525
The Ravens' remaining opponents are: vs. Jets (5-5), vs. Steelers (4-6), vs. Vikings (2-8), at Lions (6-4), vs. Patriots (7-3) and at Bengals (7-4).
Week 12 Picks: Jets vs. Ravens
Analysts overwhelmingly picked the Ravens to keep their playoff hopes alive by knocking off the Jets Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Of the 38 predictions below, 34 predict Baltimore will be the victor.
The Baltimore Sun: 7 of 7 pick the Ravens
Jeff Zrebiec (Ravens 19, Jets 13): "With Rex Ryan and Ed Reed back in town, how could this game be anything but a defensive struggle? The Ravens will win it because their offense will make fewer mistakes."
Aaron Wilson (Ravens 24, Jets 17): "Geno Smith will throw at least two interceptions, and the Ravens will remain relevant in the topsy-turvy AFC wild-card race. The Ravens' resurgent running game, however, will return to earth against the Jets' top-ranked run defense."
ProFootballTalk.com: 2 of 2 pick the RavensMichael David Smith (Ravens 17, Jets 13): "Two bad offenses against two good defenses. Expect a low-scoring game, and one that the home team will win. This won't look like a playoff game, but both teams are right in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC, where there are six available playoff spots but only five good teams."
Mike Florio (Ravens 20, Jets 13): "The good news is that the Jets' win-one-lose-one trend ends. The bad news is that it ends with two straight losses. The best news is that Ed Reed knows where the Dave & Busters is in Baltimore."
Sports Illustrated, Don Banks: (Ravens 20, Jets 10):
"Rex Ryan had a darn good 10-year run in Baltimore as a defensive coach, and you might even have forgotten that he stayed and served as John Harbaugh's defensive coordinator/assistant head coach in 2008, after the Ravens bypassed him in favor of Harbaugh as Brian Billick's replacement that season. But that's probably not Ryan's primary motivation in this game. His Jets really need a win to stay in the lead for the AFC's second wild-card berth, and New York has to be eager to fumigate the stench from last week's collapse in Buffalo. But the Ravens need it every bit as much to keep their wild-card hopes alive, and their home-field advantage should be enough to finally end the Jets' win-one, lose-one trend."
CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: (Ravens 20, Jets 15):
"The Jets are on the road again after looking terrible last week at Buffalo. The Ravens showed some offensive life in losing to the Bears; Ray Rice did some good things. But they won't run it against the Jets' top-ranked run defense. That means it's all about Joe Flacco on offense, and I will take him against Geno Smith."
NFL.com, Elliot Harrison: (Ravens 23, Jets 6):
"Basic quarterback stuff for the Jets and Ravens. Geno Smith must play turnover-free – not necessarily mistake-free, but turnover-free. The Ravens' passing offense, meanwhile, stinks. If the Jets don't give Joe Flacco any short fields to work with, they'll be fine, because there's no way Baltimore can run on this New York defense (which is allowing 73.8 rushing yards per game and 2.94 yards per carry). Flacco's job will be to play efficiently. He's not hitting enough of the high-percentage throws, which is why his completion mark sits at 58.6. That's 26th in the NFL ... right where it was in 2011."
The Sporting News, Vinnie Iyer: (Ravens 23, Jets 6):
"The Jets on the road against a good, swarming defense? Both they and we learned the hard way in Buffalo it's a recipe for a meltdown as rookie Geno Smith isn't ready for such hostile environments in the elements. The reigning Super Bowl champions, a game behind New York, should be able to sniff that a wild card is well within reach. The Ravens got Ray Rice going again in Week 11, and their defense can make it another rough day for Smith. John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco don't want their playoff streak to end, and the team works to keep it alive this week."
FoxSports.com, Peter Schrager: (Ravens 27, Jets 14):
"If you told a Jets fan in August they'd have a 5-5 record with a grip on the No. 6 seed, he or she would say, "Where do I sign?" Unfortunately, all of New York City is ready to bench Geno Smith. The Ravens defense is playing too well for me to take Geno on the road in this one."
- @RavensInsider: Ray Rice on big Jets' defensive line: 'They're not just big and powerful, they can move. We've got our work cut out for us' [Twitter]
- "Nose tackle Haloti Ngata was again the only Ravens player sidelined from practice Thursday, and he appears headed for another game-time decision Sunday," wrote Jeff Zrebiec. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @jeffzrebiecsun: Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was nominated for the Salute to Service award, presented by NFL and USAA. [Twitter]
- @Ravens: We're excited to announce that @Zendaya will be in Baltimore to sing the National Anthem before our Thanksgiving game vs. Pittsburgh! [Twitter]
- @Ravens: Happy Birthday to @jtuck9! RT to wish him a HBD & check out some of his best photos here. [Twitter |BaltimoreRavens.com]
- In response to what Ed Reed told Baltimore reporters on a conference call this week about Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips: "There's disappointments in this league and in life. And I believe the way you deal with those things tells a lot about what you are and who you are," Phillips said. "When we let Ed go, I went down to the training room, I looked him right in the eye, shook hands with him and I said, 'Thank you. … It was an honor to coach a guy that's going to be in the Hall of Fame and I wish you good luck.' The truth is the truth." [Houston Chronicle]
- @BaltimoreLuke: The #Ravens moved up their practice time [Thursday] to get players out earlier for extra rest. Remember they have a quick turnaround next week. [Twitter]
- This is great! In NFL Characters Unite, Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain meets 8-year-old Jesse, whose family is currently homeless. Jesse is embarrassed by his ragged hand-me-down clothes and is bullied and teased because of it. McClain knows exactly what the embarrassment of living homeless feels like, and has an inspiring meeting with Jesse to help. [CharactersUnite.com]