Jets’ Flacco on facing Ravens: ‘There’s going to be some different emotions that I haven’t experienced before’

New York Jets coach Robert Saleh made it official today when he announced that Joe Flacco will start at quarterback against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, on Sunday in the season-opener at MetLife Stadium.

According to Saleh, second-year quarterback Zach Wilson(knee) will likely return at the earliest in Week 4 against the Steelers.

The 37-year-old Flacco is grateful for the opportunity to be a starter in the NFL.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve talked about it a lot. It should be an exciting one,” Flacco said. “Listen, anytime you get a chance to lace them up on Sunday and try to put yourself and the team in the best situation you can; it’s a lot of fun; grateful for the opportunity, but yeah, obviously, there’s going to be some different emotions that I haven’t experienced before with this one…

“I think at the end of the day, it is like every other game once the dust settles and the game gets going. It’s a football game. You’re lining up, and you’re playing against the guy across from you. So, I’ve played it enough to know that at some point, that’s going to be the time; maybe the first snap or two will be even extra kind of crazy feelings that go into it, but after that, I’ve been a part of a bunch of playoff games and all those things, and it’s a football game at the end of the day. It’s just a matter of when it settles in and when you can let your mind calm down a little bit.

The 15-year veteran spent 11 seasons in Baltimore and won a Super Bowl with the Ravens. He last played for the Ravens in 2018, where he would eventually lose his job after injury to current Ravens starter Lamar Jackson, but despite losing his job due to injury, Flacco had no ill will towards Baltimore. 

“It’s part of the business, and obviously, your competitive nature has certain feelings about it, but a lot of those things are out of my control to a certain extent,” he said. “Like I said, what I’ve been trying to do ever since then is kind of just keep my head down and work and get better at football and look for the best opportunity.”

This will be Flacco’s last chance to prove that he can still be a starter in the NFL, and fortunately for him, he’ll have at least three weeks to show the Jets he’s still that guy. If he has success, those three games could be even longer. 

Buccaneers sign RB Le’Veon Bell

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed running back Le’Veon Bell, the team announced Wednesday.

Bell was signed after Leonard Fournette, who may go on IR, injured his hamstring Sunday night against the Saints.

The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection, comes to Tampa Bay after playing in five games with the Baltimore Ravens this season.

“He’s been a good receiver in the past and played in this offense in Pittsburgh for a while,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said. “We’ll see what he can learn and what he can give us in the next few weeks.”

Over 93 career regular season games, including 81 starts, the 29-year-old Bell has amassed 1,587 carries for 6,536 yards and 42 rushing touchdowns. He has played an integral role in the passing game, as well, making 395 receptions for 3,258 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since entering the league in 2013, Bell ranks fourth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (9,794) and first among running backs. His 504 first downs since 2013 rank third among all position players and first among running backs, while his 50 scrimmage touchdowns are tied for 10th among all players at his position. Bell has notched three 1,000-yard rushing seasons and three seasons with 1,500-or-more yards from scrimmage.

In the postseason, Bell has played in five games, recording 83 carries for 430 yards (5.2 avg.) and three touchdowns, in addition to 13 receptions for 91 yards receiving and one touchdown.

Allen, Garrett, Tucker named AFC players of the week

Quarterback Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, defensive end Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns and kicker Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 3 (September 23, 26-27).

OFFENSE: QB JOSH ALLEN, BUFFALO BILLS

  • Allen completed 32 of 43 pass attempts (74.4 percent) for 358 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions for a 129.8 rating and added a rushing touchdown in Buffalo’s 43-21 victory over Washington.

  • This is the seventh-career Offensive Player of the Week award for Allen:

    • 2018: Week 17

    • 2019: Week 11

    • 2020: Weeks 2, 9, 13, 15

    • 2021: Week 3

  • Allen trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly (10-time winner) for the most Offensive Player of the Week awards by a Buffalo quarterback.

  • He joins Patrick Mahomes and Derrick Henry as the only players to win a Player of the Week in each of the past four seasons (2018-21).

DEFENSE: DE MYLES GARRETT, CLEVELAND BROWNS

  • Garrett recorded seven tackles and a franchise-record 4.5 sacks in Cleveland’s 26-6 win over Chicago.

  • This marks the second Defensive Player of the Week award for Garrett (Week 4, 2020).

  • He becomes the first Brown to win multiple Defensive Player of the Week awards since defensive end Courtney Brown (Week 5, 2003 and Week 3, 2000).

SPECIAL TEAMS: K JUSTIN TUCKER, BALTIMORE RAVENS

  • Tucker converted four of five field goals, including an NFL-record 66-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Detroit, 19-17.

  • This is the 12th-career Special Teams Player of the Week award for Tucker:

    • 2013: Week 10, 12, 15

    • 2014: Week 3

    • 2015: Week 4, 8

    • 2016: Week 12

    • 2018: Weeks 3, 17

    • 2019: Weeks 5, 6

    • 2021: Week 3

  • He is now tied with Jason Hanson (12) and Matt Prater (12) for the third-most all-time by a kicker. Only Adam Vinatieri (19) and John Carney (13) have earned the honor more.

Ravens defeat Washington to capture their 20th straight preseason victory

The Washington Football Team handled the last preseason game like the last preseason game. Head coach Ron Rivera sat all of the starters on Saturday at FedExField, and ultimately, Washington would fall to the Ravens 37-3.  

“Not to get anybody hurt,” Rivera said about why he rested his starters. “It was something we decided on a few days ago. We didn’t want to get anybody hurt. We had a big camp, it’s been successful, and a lot of guys worked. A lot of people we feel really comfortable and confident in who they are for us. We just felt exposing is not the thing to do, so we didn’t expose them.”

Conversely, Baltimore played many of its starters, but not for long, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, who saw his first preseason action on Saturday and played one series.

According to Jackson, he was happy to be out there against Washington.

“Yeah, just to get my feet wet for the regular season,” Jackson said. “I’ve got to feel that contact, that real contact because you know guys in practice aren’t hitting me or anything like that. It was great to get my feet wet.”

For Baltimore, the concern is running back J.K Dobbins, who left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury. According to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Dobbins will undergo testing on Sunday.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the expectation is that Dobbins had suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Jackson hopes everything will be okay with Dobbins, but he has confidence in the other backs on the team.

“Hopefully, we don’t miss him. He’s a tremendous back,” Jackson said. “We have Gus [Edwards], and we’ve got Ty [Ty’son Williams], but hopefully, he’s good.”

Baltimore got a big-time performance from third-string quarterback Tyler Huntley, who threw for 285 yards and four touchdowns against Washington. 

With the win against Washington, Baltimore won an NFL record 20th straight preseason game. The last time Baltimore lost a preseason game was in 2015. 

“I just think it’s really cool for the guys,” Harbaugh said about winning 20 straight preseason games. “I’ll tell you this; there’s a lot of guys watching on TV with their kids, telling their kids about that accomplishment and the fact that they were a part of that. That’s the most meaningful thing. I think there are other aspects of it, but to me, that’s the thing that means the most.”

It’s time to prepare for the regular season. Washington hosts the Chargers in Week 1, while the Ravens go on the road to play the Raiders on Monday Night Football.  

Ravens’ Lamar Jackson showed rapper Mike Jones some love(VIDEO)

After defeating the Tennessee Titans last Sunday in the wild card game, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was a happy man. Following his first playoff victory, he showed legendary Houston rapper Mike Jones some love. You remember Mike Jones, whose debut album “Who Is Mike Jones?” dropped in 2005. Jones had many hits on that album, including “Still Trippin” and “Back Then.”

Obviously, based on his reaction, Jackson is a big fan of Jones. When USA Today reporter Mike Jones was called on to ask Jackson a question, the former MVP started laughing, and eventually, he explained why.

Watch below:

NFL announces schedule for Divisional Round next weekend

With the wild card round almost done, the NFL has announced tonight the schedule of sites, dates, and times for the Divisional Playoffs on January 16-17.

Saturday, January 16:

NFC:    4:35 PM (ET)  Los Angeles Rams (11-6) at Green Bay Packers (13-3) (FOX, FOX Deportes)

AFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (14-3) (NBC, Universo)

Sunday, January 17:

AFC:    3:05 PM (ET)  Cleveland Browns or Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) (CBS, CBS All Access, ESPN Deportes)

NFC:    6:40 PM (ET)  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5) at New Orleans Saints (13-4) (FOX, FOX Deportes)

Giants’ Williams: ‘We’re basically treating it like the playoffs right now’

Daunting challenges rooted in history, statistics and athleticism will greet the Giants when they face the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow in M&T Bank Stadium.

The Giants haven’t won in Baltimore since Sept. 15, 1963, when they defeated the Colts, 37-28. Okay, that’s misleading because they’ve since played there just twice, but both of those games – also played in December – were eminently forgettable. In 2004, rookie Eli Manning had an 0.0 passer rating and was replaced in a game for performance reasons for the only time in his career in a 37-14 loss. Eight years ago, the Giants lost, 33-14, as the Ravens gained 533 yards (309 passing, 224 on the ground), and owned the ball for more than 39 minutes. And we don’t need to discuss what happened when the teams met in Super Bowl XXXV 20 years ago.

Now the Giants are 5-9 and hoping to end a two-game losing streak in which they scored just 13 total points. They can win the NFC East title if they defeat the Ravens and Dallas and the Washington Football Team loses at least one of its final two games. But a Giants loss coupled with a Washington victory tomorrow will make Washington the division champions.

“Not to think about the playoffs or anything like that, but we’re basically treating it like the playoffs right now,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “We know what’s at stake and we know that we have to win these last two games basically to go to the playoffs. Starting now is basically our playoffs. That’s kind of how we’re treating this game.”

Baltimore, which has defeated the three other NFC East teams, is 9-5, a record perhaps skewered by a COVID-influenced three-game losing streak that forced them to play a Wednesday night game in Pittsburgh without several players, notably quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens scored 121 points in defeating Dallas, Cleveland and Jacksonville the last three weeks.

“Obviously, they’re getting guys back now healthy,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “They’re really hitting their stride. This is a very good team. It’s going to take everything we have to prepare for them. We have to have our best on Sunday.”

Baltimore will make that difficult. The Ravens are the only team in the top six in the league in both points scored (fourth at 28.8 a game) and points allowed (sixth at 20.5). Baltimore leads the NFL in both rushing yardage per game (172.7) and per carry (5.2). Defensively, the Ravens rank ninth by allowing 343.7 yards a game and their third-down defense is tied for fourth (allowing conversions on just 36.6% of opponents attempts).

The Ravens have plenty of incentive; they’ve not clinched a playoff berth and could miss the postseason at 11-5 if they don’t get help.

Safety Logan Ryan last season played for the Tennessee Titans when they took leads of 14 and 22 points on their way to a 22-12 victory against the top-seeded Ravens in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game in Baltimore.

“The reason why my team had success against the Ravens last year is that we came out, we started fast, we got a lead,” Ryan said. “I think when you get a lead on the Ravens it makes them play behind, it changes their defense and their offensive schemes a little bit from playing from behind. They’re built to play from ahead because they’re really good at running the ball, they’re really aggressive on defense and you want to get those guys behind on the scoreboard early. So, starting fast is a major point for us and be ready to go on Sunday, believe you can win the game. Be ready to go and start fast is definitely a key point for us.”

The Ravens tied the NFL high with seven players selected to the Pro Bowl. One of those excluded was Jackson, the league’s most valuable player in 2019. In 13 games, Jackson has completed 64.8% of his passes and thrown for 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He leads all NFL quarterbacks with a team-high 828 rushing yards and has scored seven touchdowns on the ground. After running for 1,206 yards last year, Jackson is the only quarterback in NFL history with at least 800 yards rushing in consecutive seasons.

Jackson is 9-0 in starts against NFC teams.

“I think this guy is a unicorn in terms of how he can play,” Judge said. “He really makes explosive plays with his legs, along with the arm strength and the plays down the field he’s capable of making right there.

“This player is explosive. He’s very elusive, he’s extremely fast, he has great running instincts, he has very good balance and body control, he’s tough to take down, he breaks a lot of tackles. He can get to his top speed very quickly, but then also decelerate and changes direction at will. This is a guy, he’s a much different type of player at that position than really any other quarterback I can think of in the league. Obviously, he’s having a tremendous amount of success with what he does.”

After facing Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Arizona’s Kyler Murray this month, Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has had to devise a plan for another dynamic, multi-dimensional quarterback in Jackson.

“He’s different, he’s very different,” Graham said. “…This guy is so fast, he’s so big, he’s so dynamic with the ball. When you sell out for the run game, he will throw the ball over your head and it will be a touchdown with the targets they have. With Hollywood (Marquise Brown) and (Mark) Andrews. It’s a unique challenge. I’m looking forward to it. Guys have to get ready for it. It’s going to be fun. We just have to see if we can execute.”

Their hopes of staying in the division race might depend on it.

“The weather’s cold, most teams are physical this time of year, most teams run the ball, most teams want to stop the run,” Ryan said. “It’s really about executing your details, executing the game, being good situationally and when we tend to do that, we tend to win the game. To us, it’s about cleaning up our details and executing and getting ready to play the Ravens.”

*Wide receiver Golden Tate will not play because of a calf injury. Tate is fourth on the team with 35 catches for 388 yards. He has two touchdown receptions.

Quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle), linebacker Blake Martinez (ankle) and cornerback Darnay Holmes (knee) are questionable.

Via: giants.com

Jags’ Marrone on Ravens: ‘This team was clearly the better team today’

The Jacksonville Jaguars went into Baltimore with little to no shot to beat the Ravens. Obviously, the Ravens(9-5) are a better team than the Jaguars, so for Jacksonville to win this game would have been a long shot, and ultimately, they were routed 40-14.

Jacksonville(1-13) has now lost 13 straight games.

“I mean, I can tell you what I told them in the locker room,” Marrone said after the game. “I told them that, ‘Hey listen, we came out here today and this team was clearly the better team today. There’s a lot of things that—there’s some things, obviously, I thought we did well and then—but for the most part, I’m not going to point those out. Obviously, we weren’t good enough at all those…’ I told the players after the game, kind of gave them—talked to them about our schedule next week, talked about our mindset, talking about playing our last home game, and really trying to put this game behind us quickly and move forward.

The Jaguars knew last night that they would be without their punter Logan Cooke, who did not make the trip to Baltimore due to illness. In his place, K Aldrick Rosas did the punting for Jacksonville. Rosas had three punts with an average of 36 yards, and he fumbled a snap. According to Marrone, losing Cooke was not the reason they lost, but it did change things.

“We were looking at, or I was looking at, the analytics of it for gain of field position, where Aldrick [Rosas] was as far as punting,” Marrone said. “So basically, we kind of expanded that zone more so, where if you’re looking at fourth-and-6 or less, you have a 40 percent chance of really making it. And if we go more than that, then obviously the number decreases, and you’ve got to make some decisions. So I guess my point is, obviously, like anything, you make adjustments when things occur. Did I feel forced to do that? No, I just thought that was the best chance for our team to win the game. And I want to make sure that just because Logan wasn’t able to play, that didn’t cost us the game.”

Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew, who made his first start for the team since October, threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, but he was sacked five times and lost a fumble. After the game, Marrone did not name a starter for next week against the Bears.

“I don’t know,” Marrone said about who will be the starter next week. “I know everyone is going to talk to me about—that’s a question afterward. I knew you guys, I just think right now, I’m really, I really want to be in there to support these players and these coaches right now. And I’m not ready to say this or that, and all this other stuff, or really comment on playing time. And that’s not a knock on Gardner, and it’s not a knock on me not having a decision in my mind right now. My mind right now is totally focused. These guys, it’s tough to see. I know we’re pros, I know it’s like that, but when you see guys trying, they just, whatever it is that causes us not to get there or come with the win.”

Sunday was not all bad news for the Jaguars. The Jets won today, and with the victory, Jacksonville and New York have the same records, but due to strength of schedule(Jaguars having an easier strength of schedule), if the Jaguars and Jets end up with the same record, Jacksonville will get the number one pick. Therefore, the Jaguars could possibly get their hands on Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, so all is not lost for Jacksonville.

Lamar Jackson tops Pro Bowl voting by fans

Baltimore Ravens quarterback LAMAR JACKSON received 704,699 total fan votes to lead all NFL players in balloting for the 2020 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon. Fan voting ended on Thursday, December 12.

Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON (539,768 votes) ranked second overall, while Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES (468,838 votes), Minnesota running back DALVIN COOK (431,748 votes) and Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY (406,477 votes) rounded out the top five.

Four of the top five vote-getters – Jackson, Mahomes, Cook and McCaffrey – are under the age of 25. Additionally, nine first or second-year players led their conference in votes received at their respective positions.

The BALTIMORE RAVENS led all clubs in total votes received. The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERSNEW ORLEANS SAINTSGREEN BAY PACKERS and SEATTLE SEAHAWKS rounded out the top-five teams to receive the most fan votes.

Pro Bowl rosters will be announced on Tuesday, December 17 live on NFL Network’s Pro Bowl special “NFL Total Access: Pro Bowl Players Revealed” at 8:00 PM ET.

Players for the game are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players who will be selected to the Pro Bowl. The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its All-Star teams. It was also the first professional sports league to offer online all-star voting in 1995.

The 2020 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon, which kicks off at 3:00 PM ET, will be televised live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and simulcast on ABC and Disney XD – the third time the game will be available on both broadcast and cable networks.

NFL PRO BOWL TOP-FIVE VOTE-GETTERS

POS.

NAME

TEAM

VOTES

QB

Lamar Jackson

Baltimore Ravens

704,699

QB

Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks

539,768

QB

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs

468,838

RB

Dalvin Cook

Minnesota Vikings

431,748

RB

Christian McCaffrey

Carolina Panthers

406,477


NFL PRO BOWL TOP VOTE-GETTERS BY TEAM

TEAM

Baltimore Ravens

San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

AFC & NFC LEADING VOTE-GETTERS BY POSITION

POS.

CONF.

NAME, TEAM

VOTES

POS.

CONF.

NAME, TEAM

VOTES

QB

AFC

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore

704,699

DE

AFC

Joey Bosa, L.A. Chargers

252,555

QB

NFC

Russell Wilson, Seattle

539,768

DE

NFC

Nick Bosa, San Francisco

358,911

RB

AFC

Nick Chubb, Cleveland

316,008

DT

AFC

Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh

221,693

RB

NFC

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota

431,748

DT

NFC

Arik Armstead, San Francisco

273,403

FB

AFC

Patrick Ricard, Baltimore

152,877

OLB

AFC

T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh

251,248

FB

NFC

Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco

384,200

OLB

NFC

Preston Smith, Green Bay

166,347

WR

AFC

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston

275,684

ILB

AFC

Devin Bush, Pittsburgh

150,548

WR

NFC

Michael Thomas, New Orleans

371,365

ILB

NFC

Bobby Wagner, Seattle

207,026

TE

AFC

Mark Andrews, Baltimore

331,796

CB

AFC

Marcus Peters, Baltimore

231,601

TE

NFC

George Kittle, San Francisco

340,624

CB

NFC

Richard Sherman, San Francisco

259,476

T

AFC

Orlando Brown, Baltimore

188,787

SS

AFC

Jamal Adams, N.Y. Jets

186,068

T

NFC

David Bakhtiari, Green Bay

194,207

SS

NFC

Vonn Bell, New Orleans

98,449

G

AFC

Marshal Yanda, Baltimore

192,580

FS

AFC

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh

209,245

G

NFC

Zack Martin, Dallas

121,529

FS

NFC

Marcus Williams, New Orleans

93,593

C

AFC

Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh

152,128

P

AFC

Brett Kern, Tennessee

93,586

C

NFC

Travis Frederick, Dallas

140,449

P

NFC

Michael Dickson, Seattle

101,965

K

AFC

Justin Tucker, Baltimore

187,814

ST

AFC

Tyler Matakevich, Pittsburgh

87,863

K

NFC

Wil Lutz, New Orleans

106,747

ST

NFC

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco

113,638

RS

AFC

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City

91,358

RS

NFC

Deonte Harris, New Orleans

84,085

Ravens, Chiefs, Patriots, Bills, Seahawks, 49ers can clinch playoff spots in Week 14

It’s that time of the year when teams begin to fight it out for the 12 playoff spots in the NFL, and at this point, the New Orleans Saints are the only team in the NFL that has clinched a playoff berth.

As we enter Week 14, six teams can clinch playoff spots.

Here are the playoff scenarios for Week 14 in the NFL:

AFC

CLINCHED: None

BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-2) (at Buffalo (9-3), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:

  1. BAL win + PIT loss or tie OR

  2. BAL tie + PIT loss

Baltimore clinches playoff berth with:

  1. BAL win OR

  2. BAL tie + HOU loss or tie OR

  3. BAL tie + TEN loss or tie OR

  4. HOU loss + IND loss or tie + OAK-TEN tie

BUFFALO BILLS (9-3) (vs. Baltimore (10-2), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Buffalo clinches playoff berth with:

  1. BUF win + OAK loss or tie + HOU loss + IND loss or tie

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-4) (at New England (10-2), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:

  1. KC win + OAK loss

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-2) (vs. Kansas City (8-4), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches playoff berth with:

  1. NE win OR

  2. NE tie + PIT loss OR

  3. NE tie + HOU loss or tie OR

  4. NE tie + TEN loss or tie OR

  5. HOU loss + IND loss or tie + OAK-TEN tie

NFC

CLINCHED: New Orleans Saints – NFC South Division

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-2) (at New Orleans (10-2), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

San Francisco clinches playoff berth with:

  1. SF win + LAR loss or tie OR

  2. SF tie + LAR loss

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-2) (at L.A. Rams (7-5), Sunday, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Seattle clinches playoff berth with:​

  1. SEA win or tie