Wait. Flacco vs. Brady Not Good Enough For Primetime?
The defending Super Bowl champs only getting one home primetime game is "weak."
That's how WNST's Luke Jones sees it.
"That's not to blame or point the finger at any one entity, it's just to me unfortunate," he said.
The Ravens were set to play the Patriots on NBC's Sunday Night Football (Dec. 22) in front of a national audience, but the league announced yesterday that the two have been bumped to 4:25 p.m. on CBS in favor of Eagles vs. Bears, a game that may have bigger playoff implications.
While there can be some positives to the schedule change, when reading fan reaction, there's a feeling of disrespect, as if the team wasn't worthy of such a big stage.
Presumably, the league made the change because it thinks Eagles-Bears will draw bigger TV ratings than a rematch of the past two AFC championship games.
"A [championship] rematch … isn't good enough for primetime anymore," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
WNST's Glenn Clark isn't buying the notion that ratings will be better, especially because the star power at quarterback pales in comparison to two Super Bowl MVPs.
"What possible reason would NBC have for wanting Nick Foles and Josh McCown on a Sunday night more than they want Tom Brady and Joe Flacco?" Clark asked NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.
"I think the Bears and Eagles would actually be a slightly better draw ratings-wise," Rosenthal said.
"Are you serious?"
"They really are, yeah."
"It's Tom Brady!"
"The Patriots do well. I know your fans might not like to hear this, but out of those four teams, the Ravens draw the worst."
"Well, they have the smallest market. I understand that, but if this was Ravens-Bengals, I would understand it. … Tom Brady is one of the most transcendent stars in all of football. I can't buy for a second that NBC just gives up Tom Brady for the sake of giving him up."
Rosenthal mentioned there may be an element of politicking in the decision.
He noted CBS had to give away Denver and Kansas City to NBC in Week 11, and CBS probably wasn't "thrilled." Now CBS gets a "major, major improvement" with Ravens-Patriots and it will be seen by most of the country anyway.
"To me, that makes way more sense as an argument, and this is some level of politicking," Clark said. "That makes way more sense to me than NBC saying, 'Please, by all means, take away Tom Brady from us on a Sunday night because that doesn't sound very good."
While the Ravens won't get the pageantry of the primetime spot, football coaches and players are creatures of habit, and having an afternoon game could be better in terms of preparation and not having to adjust to playing into the wee hours of the morning.
As Jones explained, "In the grand scheme of things, not the end of the world."
Torrey: Snowballs Not 'Proud Moment' For Ravens Fans
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson ripped Ravens fans, calling them the "worst" fan base in the NFL, after they threw snowballs at him and the Vikings Sunday.
While receiver Torrey Smith still believes Ravens fans are the league's best, he thinks Peterson has a legitimate gripe.
"(You could) see snowballs flying, which is never cool. It was definitely disrespectful," Smith told FoxSports.com. "It's not a proud moment of our fans because we feel like we have the best fans in the league. It wasn't all of them, but we're better than that. We know that and we got to do better."
USC Targeting Ravens Coach For Job
New University of Southern California Head Coach Steve Sarkisian is looking to build a coaching staff and is targeting a Ravens assistant.
Ravens Assistant Offensive Line Coach Todd Washington has been offered Sarkisian's offensive line coaching opening, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
Washington reportedly has not made a decision yet whether to accept the offer. He has been on the Ravens staff for three seasons.
Zrebiec: Surprised Haven't Seen More From Upshaw
With outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil on the sidelines Sunday with an ankle injury, second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw saw 60 of the 66 defensive snaps – the most he's seen all season.
With such a boon to his playing time, The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec thought he'd have a bigger impact. Upshaw finished the game with one assisted tackle, one quarterback hit, one pass defended and one costly roughing the passer penalty.
"The Ravens players and coaches have praised strong-side linebacker Courtney Upshaw at every opportunity this season, specifically talking about his willingness to do all the little things that don't necessarily show up on the stat sheet," wrote Zrebiec.
"But I'm still surprised that we haven't seen more from Upshaw in his second full season, especially after he came on so strong last year. … In 13 games this season, Upshaw has just 26 tackles and one sack. I expected more production from him after he had 55 tackles, 1 ½ sacks and two fumble recoveries last year."
Power Rankings: Week 15
The Ravens keep climbing up the charts, but with a brutal remaining schedule, not everyone is convinced they will hold on to a playoff spot – except one Mike Florio, who says its "inevitable."
ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio: No. 11 (jumped three spots)
"A sixth straight playoff appearance that seemed inconceivable not that long ago suddenly seems inevitable."
MMQB.com, Peter King: No. 12 (N/A)
"Maybe I overrate the return of Dennis Pitta to give Joe Flacco his security blanket back. But I don't think so. Baltimore has three losable games left (at Detroit, New England, at Cincinnati), and Flacco needs all the receiving he can get with the running game still not out of the woods."
Fox Sports, Brian Billick: No. 12 (jumped two spots)
"Joe Flacco has thrown a career-high 17 interceptions with three games remaining, but the Ravens are 4-1 in their last five and are over .500 for the first time since Week 5."
SportingNews.com, Vinnie Iyer: No. 12 (jumped two spots)
"The Ravens have lived and died by the close game, home or on the road, during their championship defense. As you can see, that's led to uneven results. Their ability to outlast the Vikings in a wild finish maintained their wild-card position."
The Baltimore Sun, Matt Vensel: No. 12 (N/A)
"After a season in which their offense has been maddeningly inconsistent, it now seems that the defense is the most likely candidate to do them in. Their lack of a killer instinct nearly cost them twice Sunday."
ESPN, Panel of six voters: No. 14 (no movement)
"Baltimore has a tough schedule to finish the year, with road games in Detroit and Cincinnati around hosting the Patriots. The last AFC wild-card spot is no given."
CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: No. 14 (jumped four spots)
"The schedule is brutal in the final three weeks, starting this week in Detroit. They will earn it if they get into the playoffs."
SB Nation, Jason Chilton: No. 14 (dropped one spot from last week)
"If Brown can keep it up, the return of Dennis Pitta and signs of life from Ray Rice can help Flacco engineer a passable passing game down the stretch. Whether that's enough to help a team utterly dependent on home cooking win the pair of road games it may need to secure a playoff spot, however, is another question."
NFL.com, Elliot Harrison : No. 15 (jumped one spot)
"How clutch was that Joe Flacco throw in the snow to Marlon Brown? It just doesn't get any better than that, especially considering no one knew who the heck Brown was before the season. A lot of people questioned the $120 million contract Flacco landed in March, but Sunday's end-of-game performance versus the Vikings says a lot. Ah, hell, people will still question it."
- "I think there's more to come on the Mike Tomlin sanction, which means I erred when I reported Friday on NBC Sports Network's Pro Football Talk that the penalty for the Steelers will likely end with the $100,000 fine from the league. It won't, and I apologize for the mistake," wrote King. "The league will either take a late-round pick from the Steelers (which, if the team gets a sixth- or seventh-round compensatory pick, would mean in essence that the team won't get compensated for losing a mid-range free agent next spring) or diminish the value of a pick or picks by lowering one or more of them." [MMQB.com]
- The Ravens placed 37-year-old receiver Brandon Stokley on injured reserve yesterday after he suffered another concussion Sunday. "Stokley is a class act who has had a nice career. Let's hope it doesn't end on these terms," Zrebiec wrote. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @jeffzrebiecsun: With Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson, Ravens have enough WR depth to get by with Stokley out. … Dennis Pitta being used a lot in the slot also lessens the need for another WR to be added. [Twitter]
- "[W]ith the return of Flacco's favorite target, no AFC contender got the kind of adrenalin shot the Super Bowl champs got over the weekend. I look at the Ravens this way, as their D starts to play better and they show some sparks running it: Don't let them in the tournament. They'll knock off somebody," wrote King. [MMQB.com]
- @RavensInsider: Bengals can clinch the AFC North title with a win Sunday combined with a Ravens loss or tie to the Lions [Twitter]
- @gdowning14: Avoiding another blackout has been a priority during this year's Super Bowl preparations: [Twitter |New York Times]
- @mzenitz: The Bills released former Ravens WR Tommy Streeter from their practice squad today [Twitter]
- @Ravens: Amen! MT @TeamFlacco: We want to congratulate Joe. On Sunday he became the winningest quarterback over the first 6 seasons of an NFL career. [Twitter]
- Which team can be a more dangerous wild-card team, the Dolphins or Ravens?