Late For Work 9/8: Ravens Have Become Trendy Super Bowl Pick

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Ravens Have Become Trendy Super Bowl Pick

Peter King was trying to comfort 31 other fan bases as soon as he predicted the Ravens to advance to Super Bowl 50.

"Don't worry, though. I'm never right," the TheMMQB.com and Sports Illustrated reporter tweeted.

Exactly, Peter. That's what Ravens fans are freaking out about. They don't want you to jinx the team.

King isn't the only one. Baltimore is becoming a trendy Super Bowl pick.

There are probably others, but I've found Brian Billick (NFL Network, former Ravens coach), Andy Benoit (SI), Chris Simms (Bleacher Report, former NFL QB) and Matt Miller (Bleacher Report) all picking Baltimore to represent the AFC in the championship game.

King got the chatter going again yesterday with his latest column, predicting Super Bowl 50 will feature a Packers-Ravens showdown. The "good news" for superstitious fans is that King says Baltimore will fall to Green Bay.

"I'm picking a Green Bay-Baltimore Super Bowl. Two teams that blew golden chances to meet in the Super Bowl last year, finally keeping the appointment a year later," King wrote.

Welp, I guess that makes this statement no longer true.

The Ravens' road won't be without challenges. Kings says the two biggest road blocks will be the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North and finding a way to earn home-field advantage. The Ravens are 45-11 at home during the John Harbaugh era, and while they have a stellar post-season road record, King says 12 road playoff games have "worn" on them.

"Imagine if the [Patriots-Ravens divisional] game had been in Baltimore, where the Ravens have won a Patriot-like 81 percent of their home games since 2008," wrote King. "So the emphasis, quietly, in Baltimore is to play home playoff games. 

"If they win the North, that's one home playoff game at least. If they win 12 games, that should be enough for two. What they really need, though, is for the rest of the conference to get as good as the North has been in recent years, so the road to Santa Clara won't be all on the road."

While Ravens Nation is hoping Baltimore can win that home-field advantage and ride it all the way into February, it's not easy for fans to accept all this praise. Many prefer the underdog role.

And for those people I offer this:

Twelve of 13 analysts from NFL.com did NOT pick the Ravens.  

Feel better?

Didn't think so.

What's Going On With Charles James?

What gives?

FoxSports.com's Peter Schrager reported the Ravens would sign "Hard Knocks" lovable star Charles James to their practice squad, yet when the team announced its final three additions, James was not one of them.

Rest easy, friends. It looks like James is still on the way.

"James [is] still going to [the] Ravens' practice squad despite the team not announcing him yet," tweeted The Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.

Added The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec: "Not exactly sure of holdup but he's in Baltimore and plan remains to add him to practice squad. … [I]t's unclear at the moment how the Ravens will make room for him, or if he's now a candidate to join the active roster." 

The Ravens still moved defensive end Brent Urban to injured reserve – designated to return. That might be the first domino to fall that sets off other moves, including James and maybe running back Terrence Magee (see below).

James still looks like he's on board, too.

He was on Twitter yesterday saying the name "The Castle" fits the Ravens practice facility perfectly. He also sent a thank you to Ravens fans for giving him a warm welcome.

James declined an offer to join the Houston Texans practice squad after he spent training camp and the preseason with them, according to Wilson. He actually had several competing offers, but opted for the Ravens.

"The Texans kept the guys they felt were better or would fit their mold better," James told Wilson. "I made my decision I feel was better for me. I just basically chose the best fit for me. I felt it was time for new scenery. It just wasn't a fit to go back. I felt like going to the Ravens is a fresh start, a new beginning. I want to see what they think about me."

James had a solid preseason, as we saw on "Hard Knocks," but the Texans are set at cornerback with Kareem Jackson, Johnathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson, A.J. Bouye, Jumal Rolle and Darryl Morris.

The Ravens could use cornerback depth as they only kept five on the roster. Many are concerned, including CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown, who thinks the Ravens didn't keep enough corners given Lardarius Webb's injury history and rookie Tray Walker "doesn't look ready for prime time yet."

James also brings returner experience. The Ravens already added former Detroit return man and receiver Jeremy Ross to the practice squad, but Russell Street Report's Ken McKusick would like to see James kill two birds with one stone.

RB Montee Ball Clears WaiversMontee Ball cleared waivers yesterday after the Denver Broncos cut him, making him a free agent.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport called it a "bit of a surprise."

After all, Ball was the Broncos' 2013 second-round pick and starting running back when their 2014 season opened. The 24-year-old back played in just five games last year with a groin injury, however. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry in 21 career games and compiled 731 yards in two seasons in Denver. 

"Even with his struggles, Ball should garner interest from some clubs," wrote NFL Media' Kevin Patra.

Everyone in Baltimore wants to know if the Ravens are one of those interested teams, seeing as they only have two healthy backs to start the season.

So far, reports indicate interest is only coming from the Atlanta Falcons, per The Denver Post.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore …

Toussaint Signed By Steelers, Magee Favorite To Re-Sign

While Ball is an interesting option, the arrow in Baltimore still points to re-signing undrafted rookie Terrence Magee.

Magee was competing with second-year back Fitzgerald Toussaint during training camp and the preseason for the No. 4 running back role, which turned into the third running back spot after the knee injury to Lorenzo Taliaferro. Both were waived, but the idea was that at least one would still be around to sign back after Urban gets placed on the designated to return list.

 Well, Toussaint is no longer available. He was signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad.

Even before Toussaint signed with Pittsburgh, reports indicated that it was Magee who won the battle and the Ravens wanted back.

"[T]here is a good chance that Magee, an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana State, is brought back to the organization either to the active roster or the practice squad," wrote Zrebiec.

UPDATE: Ravens have officially placed Urban on injured reserve-designated to return, and signed Magee to the active roster.

Hensley: Perriman May Not Return Until October

Harbaugh said rookie receiver Breshad Perriman had a "chance" to get back on the field this week to prepare for the season opener. The head coach didn't sound too convincing though, and I don't think he was trying to be.

Harbaugh has tried to get away from the return-from-injury predictions. So, EPSN's Jamison Hensley has one, but you may not like it.

"A posterior cruciate ligament sprain can take six to eight weeks to recover," Hensley wrote. "Under that timetable, the earliest Perriman would start practicing is after the season opener. It could take an additional couple of weeks. Of course, this is speculative because the Ravens aren't giving an exact timetable. But no one should be surprised if Perriman misses the first couple of games and comes back sometime in October."

Quick Hits //

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