Ravens Bus Gets In Minor Accident In New Orleans
One of the Ravens' team buses was hit by a car Sunday evening as the team traveled from the New Orleans airport to the hotel in advance of the Monday night matchup against the Saints.
Qadry Ismail, former Ravens wide receiver and a member of the Ravens' broadcasting team, was the first to tell of the news via Twitter.
After the collision, both the bus involved and the car driven by a female motorist stopped, while the other five buses proceeded to the hotel, per CSNBaltimore.com. According to the report, the bus rejoined the Ravens caravan just five minutes later on the way to the hotel without further incident.
The Ravens confirmed the accident and that no injuries occurred in a statement given to CSN's Brent Harris, which read:
"One of our team buses was involved in a minor collision after being hit in the rear by a car at a slow speed. There was no damage to the bus, nor did the driver of the car or anyone on the Ravens bus sustain injury. Everyone is OK and we've arrived safely at our hotel."
Ravens Must Beat Saints To Stay Out Of Last Place
Dang you, Billy Cundiff.
You too, A.J. Green.
Cundiff kicked a 37-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired for the Browns to come from behind and beat the Atlanta Falcons, 26-24. Meanwhile, a healthy Green put up 121 receiving yards to help the Bengals to a solid 22-13 win over the Houston Texans.
"Sunday went well for both the Bengals and Browns, who did the Ravens no favors," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.
That puts the pressure on the Ravens, who need to win tonight to get out of last place. Here are the standings prior to the showdown on national television (Pittsburgh is on a bye):
If the Ravens win …
They will be in second place and just a half-game behind the division-leading Bengals. At 7-4, Baltimore would win the three-team tiebreaker over Pittsburgh and Cleveland because the Ravens have the best record in games played between the three of them.
If the Ravens lose …
They will be in last place with the worst record in the division at 6-5. That would put them 1.5 games behind the division leader.
People keep saying the Saints are going to be angry with their back against the wall, but the Ravens may be more desperate. If New Orleans loses, it will still be tied for first place in NFC South with the Atlanta Falcons (4-7).
Hensley's Prediction: Ravens Will Lose To Saints
Well, if you ask ESPN's Jamison Hensley, the Ravens will be in last place when we wake up in the morning.
"This is a game that the Baltimore Ravens need to win if they want to consider themselves a playoff team," Hensley wrote. "There are no excuses for the Ravens – well, except for the fact that [they're] using a makeshift secondary to try to slow down a future Hall of Fame quarterback."
And that's exactly where Hensley believes the Ravens will falter.
Despite the Saints' (4-6) struggles this season, quarterback Drew Brees has still thrown more touchdowns and passing yards than anyone in the league since 2006. Plus, New Orleans has still scored at least 20 points in 28 of its last 29 games at home, which is "very attainable" against the revamped secondary with Lardarius Webb, Anthony Levine and Danny Gorrer, says Hensley.
Hensley is 8-2 with his Ravens predictions this season, and he envisions a 30-20 Saints victory.
Schmuck: To Stop Brees, Flacco Must Hand Off
If Brees is the x-factor in Monday Night Football as Hensley believes, then there is one sure way to limit his success.
It's not hoping a remade secondary will step up, and it's not relying on a monster pass rush with Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil (although that will help).
It's limiting the number of times Brees gets his hands on the ball in the first place, says The Sun's Peter Schmuck. And to do that, the Ravens need to run, run, run.
"If you want to keep their high-powered offense out of the end zone, you have to keep the ball out of the hands of wily quarterback Drew Brees," Schmuck wrote. "For the Ravens to do that, they might need to take the ball out of the hands of Joe Flacco. Not completely, of course. Flacco is still the man, but the Ravens need to make sure they use more than their share of the clock. …
"Kubiak and the coaching staff couldn't have asked for a better scout game than the Bengals' 27-10 victory over the Saints. Cincinnati carved up the New Orleans defensive line for 186 rushing yards, 152 of them from rookie running back Jeremy Hill."
Harbaugh Takes 'Playful Jab' At Lack Of Monday Home Games
Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about the Saints home primetime winning streak of 12 games and what that means to them.
"Getting to play on Monday night at home, is there something to that? I wouldn't really know," Harbaugh said with a smile. "I don't know much about that. We don't get those chances too often."
Hensley described it as a "playful jab" as the Ravens are set to play their eighth road Monday night game since he became coach in 2008. Harbaugh has only coached one home Monday night game during that time.
"Everybody has got their scheduling quirks," Harbaugh said. "There's no point in complaining about it. I'm not afraid of speaking my mind on it. But what difference does it make? We've got to go play Monday night in New Orleans. They haven't lost [a prime-time game] there since 2009. It's our job to do something about that."
Ranking Ravens Rookies
We've (rightfully) heard about how fantastic the 2014 draft class is as a whole. Plenty of the rookies could make a big impact on the Ravens for a long time to come.
The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli takes it a step further, ranking all the first-year players in terms of who will mean the most to the franchise in the long-term:
5) Guard/Center John Urschel: "The Ravens are set at guard with Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele, but they'll find a place for the Penn State product somewhere. He filled in well for Osemele earlier this year, and even if he's not a permanent starter soon, his spell as such will be good for the Ravens."
4) Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan: "Jernigan might be the most impactful on a per-snap basis, but the Ravens' defensive line rotation will limit what he's able to do. However, he's one of the most efficient run-stoppers in football and gets after the quarterback. Neither will change down the road."
3) Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro: "Taliaferro has showed the ability to be a featured back in limited spells this season. The third-round pick could be the Ravens' starter as early as next year if Justin Forsett's big season prices him out of Baltimore."
2) Safety Terrence Brooks: "Brooks has taken his lumps as a rookie but figures to be part of the long-term solution at safety alongside Will Hill, which would give the Ravens a pair of back-end ball hawks. Brooks represents a huge upgrade over everything else the Ravens have at the position."
1) Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley: "A starter from the moment he arrived, the Ravens' next great inside linebacker has all the physical tools and mental acuity to continue that legacy. He's already wearing the headset in his helmet and commanding the defense as a rookie."
- Saints running back Pierre Thomas is poised for a return (rib injury) as the Saints hope to hold off the Ravens and stop a two-game losing skid. Thomas last played Oct. 19. [ProFootballTalk.com]
- Defensive tackle Terrence Cody is "starving" to get on the field. He's still waiting to get his first game action since last season and it's been nearly three weeks since he was activated from the physically unable to perform list. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Since winning the Super Bowl in New Orleans in 2012, the Ravens have struggled to keep pace. Baltimore is 14-12 since lifting the Lombardi Trophy, and 15 teams have more wins during that span. [The Baltimore Sun]
- The Ravens will throw multiple looks at tight end Jimmy Graham to slow him down. [ESPN]
- Josh Gordon is back from his suspension, and he's already making a big impact as he was targeted a whopping 16 times yesterday against the Falcons. The Ravens didn't have to worry about Gordon the first time they matched up with Cleveland, but they will in Week 17. Here's a look at the type of damage he did. [Vine]
- A few Ravens players went down to D.C. to check out NBA star LeBron James and the Cavs take on the Wizards, including backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receivers Jacoby Jones and Steve Smith Sr.
- It must be the mom in me, but I couldn't resist embedding this emotional post-game interview with Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, whose baby girl was born early Sunday morning. With little sleep, Hilton still found the end zone and celebrated by rocking the football to sleep as if it were his daughter. [CBS.com]