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Baltimore Ravens 2015 Schedule Released

The Baltimore Ravens have released their 2015 regular season schedule to public Tuesday night. The team will need to prepare to hit the road for most of the first half of the season, as five of their first seven games are on the road, kicking off in Denver against Manning and Gary Kubiak’s run-style offense.

Here’s the entire 2015 schedule (minus pre-season games):

Week 1, Sept. 13: at Denver (4:25 p.m.)

Week 2, Sept. 20: at Oakland (4:05 p.m.)

Week 3, Sept. 27: Cincinnati (1 p.m.)

Week 4, Oct. 1: at Pittsburgh (8:25 p.m., Thursday)

Week 5, Oct. 11: Cleveland (1 p.m.)

Week 6, Oct. 18: at San Francisco (4:25 p.m.)

Week 7, Oct. 26: at Arizona (8:30 p.m., Monday)

Week 8, Nov. 1: San Diego (1 p.m.)

Week 9, Nov. 8: BYE

Week 10, Nov. 15: Jacksonville (1 p.m.)

Week 11, Nov. 22: St. Louis (1 p.m.)

Week 12, Nov. 30: at Cleveland (8:30 p.m., Monday)

Week 13, Dec. 6: at Miami (1 p.m.)

Week 14, Dec. 13: Seattle (8:30 p.m., Sunday)

Week 15, Dec. 20: Kansas City (1 p.m.)

Week 16, Dec. 27: Pittsburgh (8:30 p.m., Sunday)

Week 17, Jan. 3:  at Cincinnati (1 p.m.)

Key Matchups:

Week 1 at Denver: Right off the bat, you got to deal with Peyton Manning, in Denver. The upside is Gary Kubiak is their head coach, so the Ravens might know some of the tricks to stop that run/zone scheme that was a success during his time with the team last season. The downside is Kubiak might know the weak spot of the Ravens secondary, which I’m sure Peyton will enjoy. Not an easy game to start out with.

Week 6 at 49ers: a rematch of the “Black-Out” Super Bowl, and a reunion with WR Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. Will the 49ers be as dysfunctional as everyone expects after a wild off-season or will they be contenders in the West.

Week 14 vs. Seahawks: Two winners from the last three Super Bowls face off in Baltimore, the first time since 2003. Baltimore will need to improve their receiving core through the draft if they want to stand a chance against “The Legion of Boom”, but I feel they’ll lean heavily on the running game most of that game. Russell Wilson will also prove to be problematic with his elusiveness in the pocket, but the Ravens have a strong front seven, so getting a hat on him will at least take the passing game out of it, hopefully “Beast Mode” is kept at bay.

Week 16 vs. Steelers: Last game at M&T Bank will be against the Steelers. The teams might look different, the rivalry will be as strong as ever. We have seen how the Ravens responded after the Ray Lewis/Ed Reed era, let’s see how well the Steelers respond post-Polumalu era.

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Is Polamalu a first ballot lock for the Hall of Fame?

As an inspiring journalist, I would consider Troy Polamalu not only one of the top safeties during his era, but possible one of the greatest to every play the game.

As a Ravens fan, I can’t really say I’m that upset to see him go, just as Steelers fans weren’t that upset when Ray Lewis called it a career.

But whether you liked him or hated him, no true football fan can deny the type of level Polamalu played at for the last 12 years with the Steelers. Considered one of the NFL’s most explosive and dynamic players, the former first-round pick for Pittsburgh back in 2003 was a nightmare for teams (mainly QBs) to game plan around, serving as the backbone of the Steelers’ defense. Polamalu retires a four-time first-team All-Pro, with eight Pro Bowl appearance, 2010 Defensive Player of the Year and two Super Bowl championships.

Though his resume show that he should easily be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in five years,  some believe it might not be that simple for Mr. Polamalu.  For starters, Polamalu isn’t even considered the greatest safety the Steelers have every had.  Some might say that Donnie Shell, who played for the “Steel Curtain” defense was equal as a good or even better than Troy during his time in the 1970s, and he’s not in the Hall of Fame either. Yes, he might not have been as dynamic as Polamalu or as big of a name as “Mean” Joe Greene, but Shell was a three-time All-Pro, a five time Pro Bowler with 51 interceptions and a four-time Super Bowl champion.

Another discussion that pops up when you talk about Polamula is whether or not he is considered the best safety in his era. Let say in another month or so, former Baltimore Raven safety Ed Reed officially calls it a career (currently a free agent), both he and Troy would be eligible at the same time in five years, but the committee could only select one over the other ( which is possible since the Hall can only select five modern-day candidates in at a time, and there could be some big names up for consideration during this time).

Who would get in first? Both play with similar, yet distinct styles that opposing offensive coordinators had to be thoroughly prepared for. If you go by stats you probably would say Reed (643 Tlks, 64 INTs, 11 FF, 13 TD) over Polamalu ( 710Tlks,35 INTs, 13 FF, 4 TDs). If you want to look at championships, you would have to go with Polamalu’s two over Reed’s one. We can go back and forth with what this guy did or what this guy didn’t do, but if you had to choose between the two to go into the Hall of Fame first, it’s almost a coin flip in my opinion.

One thing that is certain is that it will be challenging for either of them to get in on their first try, safeties are among the most under-represented positions in the Hall of Fame. Though there are 24 defensive backs enshrined, only 7 of them are considered true safeties (others played both corner and safety).

Though the road to Canton might not be as bright as some Steelers fans would had thought it was for Troy Polumalu,  it doesn’t effect the lasting legacy he left on the field, the amazing plays that left our jaws on the floor, and the constant headaches he gave some of the teams over his career (especially for Ravens fans). There is no question, whether it’s  five years from or more, Troy will be receiving his bust up in Canton at some point down the line, probably sooner rather than later.

Enjoy you’re retirement Troy, though I may not have liked who you played for, those Ravens-Steelers games won’t be the same without seeing No. 43 run around in the secondary, with his signature black curls flowing in the air.

Should the “Final Four” be moved out of Indianapolis?

Sometimes you have to wonder “Can’t we all just get along?”

In case you haven’t heard, a law has been passed in the state of Indiana that has the nation, organizations and some media figures in an uproar.

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), signed into law by Governor Mike Pence last week, makes it legal to discriminate against LGBT customers in the name of “religious freedom”.The bill has set off a wave of criticism from all over the country, calling for the resignation of Pence and moving major sporting events like the upcoming NCAA Men’s Final Four and the 2016 Women’s Final Four out of Indianapolis.

ESPN reporter Keith Olbermann called for not only the NCAA but the NFL, who took quick action after a similar law was passed in Arizona before Super Bowl 49, as well as the NBA to cease doing business in the state. He went on to suggest the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, should move their offices if the state chooses not to repeal the law.

Here’s the entire segment:

Now, I would like to throw in my two cents on the matter, but before I begin I want people to understand where I’m coming from and understand my mindset (or at least part of it). Now, I grew up as a Christian, in fact I would consider myself Christian to this day. I had a pretty basic Christian upbringing as a child, went to church, attend sunday schools and youth groups, read my bible, etc. Obviously there are certain things were are told from the Bible that we as Christian should try to incorporate it into our everyday lives (don’t steal, don’t kill, respect your parents,etc.). Now though there are rules that we should live by, one of the biggest things to remember is to love each other or love your neighbor as yourself. Now there is a lot of things going on in the Bible, but love is probably one of the bigger messages that book has to offer. Loving your neighbor as yourself is probably something not only Christian, but pretty much everyone has at least heard about at least once.

Now, I don’t want to make this post all about religion, I wanted to just make a point.

My mindset when it comes to topics like homosexuality is that though I was taught that being gay was a sin, I’m still going to treat you with the same respect I would treat anyone else that I know or see on the street. You being different from myself isn’t going to change the way I act around you, life is way to short for all that. We all have done wrong or done something that others would agree with, does that mean that makes them less of good person than yourself. I get that people don’t agree with that kind of lifestyle and have their own opinions about the matter (which they can have), but don’t we all have more important things in our own lives to deal than worrying about how a homosexual chooses to live there lives?

Though it might be too late for the NCAA to move the men’s Final Four tournament out of Indy, I think it’s best to move the women’s tournament as well as any other operations in the near future, and I think other big name organization should follow suit if something isn’t changed. Some might say “Oh it’s the business has the right to serve whoever they want”, but to say I’m not going to serve you because you look a certain way or you don’t have the same views as me or because you’re different is absolutely ridiculous to me,IT’S FREAKING 2015 FOLKS, GET OVER YOURSELF!!!!

I look at this situation and wonder how this is any different from what African-American went through during the civil rights movement, not being served inside restaurants because of the “law” says the owners didn’t legal have to serve them because they didn’t like their skin color. How can you say “I’m against racial inequality but if your gay, you need to find somewhere else to go”.

What’s the difference, your still alienating a specific group of people. How is that “justice for all”. This is supposed to be a country that gives equal opportunities to those who put in the work and strive to make something of themselves. If this is the case, my question to Gov. Pence,the state of Indiana and anyone who agrees with this law is what kind of message do you think you’re sending to not only the gay community but anyone who is different from you when you pass this bill?

The word “equality” doesn’t come to mind.

Has Free Agency Effected Ravens Draft Plans?

The first week of the “new” NFL league year has left the league in turned upside down. This has been one of the more exciting starts to an off-season in quite some time. Teams are trading their star players left and right, players are returning to their previous franchises’ and of course millions of dollars are being thrown like monopoly money.

Certain teams have used this off-season to show the rest of the league they are ready to throw everything on the table to win the Lombardi right now (like the Bills, Chiefs and Eagles),while some try to make do with what they have and build towards the future at the moment.

This is something the Baltimore Ravens have been doing for years under General Manager Ozzie Newsome and its been working. This off-season has been no different…

For the Ravens, this off-season has been a little bit smoother than the last year’s. The team lost the “original raven” in Ray Lewis to retirement, they traded away the play-off warrior founded in Anquan Boldin, they were coming off an 8-8 record, missed the playoffs for the first time under John Harbaugh, the Ray Rice scandal was all the nation was taking about and it seemed the team, as a whole, took a few step backwards. Of course the move to acquire Steve Smith from the Carolina Panthers really saved what had been a terrible off-season.

This year, things weren’t as crazy, but the drama was still pretty present after loss to the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoff. The team thought they were keeping Gary Kubiak as their offensive coordinator, but he pulled the Ol’ Baltimore Colts/Mayflower stunt and headed to ELWAYLAND up in Denver (no hard feelings Gary). Then, we realized that we still have a good bit of dead money to deal with after cutting Rice during the season, which meant we had little cap space to make any moves (which was huge) and we might not be able to keep, possible any of the unrestricted free agents that were going to hit the market. Then, POOF…it’s March, and free agency is quickly approaching and a lot of money i needed, well that normal means cuts (i.e. Jacoby Jones,Terrance Cody and Chris Canty). Then we lose Torrey Smith to the 49ers (blow to the wide receiving core), then Pernell McPhee to the Bears (blow to the linebackers),then Owen Daniels to the Broncos (blow to an already weaken TE core), then as soon as the Free Agency doors open up…BOOM, Haloti Ngata is traded away to the Detroit Lions (huge blow to the D-Line and the defense altogether).

Obviously, something need to be done to make space for the team’s need and with some of those guys gone means there’s money to be spent:

  • RB Justin Forsett   (Three year deal/ $9 million)
  • S Kendrick Lewis  (Three year deal)
  • CB Anthony Levine (Two year deal/ $2.2 million)

But that Ngata trade still kinda stings, but Ozzie knows what he is doing.

But, even with guys like NT Brandon Williams and DT Timmy Jernigan being very capable replacements for Ngata, they can’t truly replace a player like that, he is a one of a kind, though he was declining due to age and injury, we saw how much of an impact he was during the playoffs after being suspended for four games. Now fans want to know what the priority is now heading into the draft. Is the secondary still number (ranked 31st against the pass in 2014), is replacing Torrey Smith for a bigger wideout our biggest concern or is replacing that big hole left by Ngata now more important than anything else?

Let’s not forget, there are still plenty of qualified free agents out there right now to help replace some of the needs the Ravens now have (and the list keeps piling up), but how much money is Ozzie planning to use?

I don’t have the answers to a lot of these questions, it seems the mock draft for us keeps bouncing around from WR being our top concern to DL to DB. All I can say is IN OZZIE WE TRUST!