Must Listen: Reed's Falsetto In Holiday Karaoke
It almost seems unnatural for a man's voice to hit that high of a pitch.
But seven-time Pro Bowler Ed Reed is known for being exceptional.
After taking a one-day hiatus to celebrate Christmas, Late For Work is back and ready to catch you up on all your Ravens news, but I couldn't completely move on from the Christmas spirit without sharing this fun holiday karaoke moment.
I'm not going to say* *Reed was in tune the whole time, but he (and his falsetto) is entertaining and takes you to church with this version of Silent Night (posted Dec. 4). His Ravens backup singers include Bryant McKinnie and Cary Williams (who never actually sings into a mic).
It's a must listen:
Suspension 'Unlikely' For Reed
Now on to more serious news, which should make Reed breathe easier.
A suspension for the Ravens safety is "unlikely" after getting flagged for his hit on Giants receiver Victor Cruz Sunday, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. A fine is probable, according to the NFL Insider, adding that the situation is still under review.
Replays show Reed delivered a shoulder blow to Cruz's upper body, with part of his shoulder grazing Cruz's facemask. Reed received a personal foul penalty for making contact to the helmet and neck area of a defenseless receiver.
The league deemed Reed a repeat offender earlier this season* *after his third illegal hit in three seasons, and suspended him for one game. It was overturned by an independent arbitrator, who replaced the suspension with a $50,000 fine.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Reed did "everything he could" to avoid an illegal hit and that all his players* *are trying to do the right thing, but it's tough to do so at full speed.
"This hit could fall into a grey area in how it's interpreted under the NFL rulebook," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio.
"If the NFL doesn't try to suspend Reed for yet another illegal hit after he was fined $50,000 for his third one in three seasons, it suggests that the league believes based on the decision by Ted Cottrell to overturn the last suspension that a suspension wouldn't stick this time, either. The fact that the suspension was quickly overturned made the NFL look wishy-washy, even though the appeal is handled via an independent process."
Pierce A Future Starter?
Rookie backup running back Bernard Pierce appears to be getting better and better as the season goes on.
And after his 123-yard performance Sunday, including a 78-yarder in the fourth quarter, The Sun's Matt Vensel believes the Ravens may have a future starter on their hands.
It took 16 weeks, but Vensel says fans and media are starting to see in Pierce what Ravens brass saw when they used their third-round pick on him in April's draft. Some raised their eyebrows at the selection because starter Ray Rice was in the middle of contract negotiations, plus Baltimore was in need of more offensive linemen.
"But the Ravens always covet the top player on the board, and they coveted Pierce, a bruising running back out of Temple, so much that they traded up in the third round to secure him," Vensel wrote. "But throughout the season, as his workload has slowly picked up, it has become obvious to us what the Ravens saw in Pierce all along:
"He may be a future starting NFL running back, not just a physical change of pace from Rice."
No-Brainer: Ravens Should Go Full Speed vs. Bengals
It's the hotly debated question of the week: should Harbaugh rest his players and get them as healthy as possible for the playoffsor should he go all out for a win and a possibly improved postseason seeding?
"Don't know why anybody's fretting over this. It's a no-brainer," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck.
If the only thing at stake was moving up from the No. 3 to No. 4 seed, then sure, the Ravens would have greater reason to take it easy Sunday in Cincinnati.
But The Sun columnist says the Ravens need to treat Sunday like a must-win situation because they can't afford to risk losing momentum. That's the way the New York Giants got on a roll to win the Super Bowl last year after overcoming a mid-season slump.
"The Ravens need to show this week that the playoff-bound Bengals are no match for them when they're a team in full, and show both the Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts what they might be in for at M&T Bank Stadium in the first round of the playoffs," Shmuck wrote.
After a three-game losing streak, the football world questioned the Ravens' ability to win just one game, but a beat down of the defending champs changed everything.
"They found their stride. They rebuilt their confidence. They regained their swagger. Full speed ahead," Schmuck concluded.
As for the Bengals, who have zero possibility of moving up in the playoff seeding, they are also faced with the same question. According to Head Coach Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati will be playing to win.
"I don't really have any beat-up guys. So, the only thing that is at stake is you go out and play to win the game every time," Lewis said via the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Power Rankings: Week 17
The Ravens' 33-14 drumming of New York restored some belief that they could be a strong playoff contender, but one game wasn't convincing enough to move them above the No. 10 ranking in the lists below.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: No. 11, no movement
"Where did that performance against the Giants come from last week? That was impressive. Can it carry over?"
ESPN.com: No. 10, moved up one spot
"The Ravens will go as far as Joe Flacco takes them. Since he was drafted in 2008, Baltimore is 12-1 when he throws for more than 300 yards."
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: No. 10, moved up one spot
"The Baltimore Ravens' offense in the first half on Sunday: 290 yards, 7.3 yards per play, 24 points, 6-for-8 on third down, no turnovers. The Ravens hadn't put up that much yardage in the first half since September of last year. Fans miss Cam Cameron. Except not at all."
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: No. 11, moved up three spots
"Even with a win over the Giants, the Ravens have the look and feel of an underachiever."
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: No. 11, moved up four spots
"The real Joe Flacco – he would tell you – stood up to mash the Giants Sunday. And now for the bookend game of the season. In Week 1 … the Ravens beat the Bengals by 31. Now they'll meet at Cincinnati in a game that really doesn't mean much."
- King named Flacco his Offensive Player of the Week, saying: "The league's most embattled quarterback not named Mark Sanchez completed 25 of 36 for 309 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, to give the Ravens a rout of the Giants -- and a division title. If we're going to berate Flacco when he's not good, let's praise him when he's dominant, as he was Sunday."
- After watching Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees wreak havoc Sunday against Eli Manning, similar to the way Chuck Pagano once did, Vensel believes that's the way defensive plays need to continue to be called heading into the playoffs. "[For the Ravens] to have a chance against quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the postseason, they will need to keep the heat turned up," Vensel wrote. "It doesn't have to be Pagano's kind of chaos. But a little more aggression on defense might help them go a long way."
- @teamsizzlefilms: MERRY CHRISTMAS RAVENS' NATION! [Twitter]
- @ellerbe59: Man down lol too stuffed right now [Twitter]
- @anquanboldin: Merry Christmas everyone, hope you guys have a safe and happy holiday today. Who got an 81 jersey under their tree this morning? [Twitter]
- @kosevendeuce: Just me and mi madre. We don't say much. It was the best week/Christmas I can remember just kickin it with her. #peaceful ..goodnight tweeps [Twitter]
- @bryantmckinnie: Well its been fun seeing my family, bout 2 get on this road & head back 2 Bmore. Jersey it was fun [Twitter]
- @torreysmithwr: Movie time with the Fam...Batman...then I'll be out for the night and ready to work tomorrow [Twitter]