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News and analysis on the Ravens, Orioles, Terps and more
John Harbaugh explains protection issues against Texans, J.J. Watt

John Harbaugh credited Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel for staying one step ahead of the Ravens’ pass protections Sunday, specifically when it came to preventing the Ravens from giving extra attention to game-wrecking defensive end J.J. Watt.

“They know what they’re doing when they line up on defense,” the Ravens coach said. “We do the same thing with our guys. … You wonder why [outside linebackers Elvis] Dumervil and [Terrell] Suggs don’t get chipped as much as they do, it’s because we’re not allowing them to do it. It’s a chess game, and they did a good job. They always do. Romeo Crennel is a great defensive coordinator.”

The Texans’ dominant pass rush, and its impact on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, was a chief storyline coming out of Sunday’s 25-13 loss at NRG Stadium in Houston, with Watt’s ability to disrupt the Ravens' attack a big reason the offense racked up just 211 yards.

Harbaugh was asked why he didn’t give reserve rookie tackle James Hurst more help in dealing...

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Ravens 10-pack on road pass-blocking woes, defensive bright spots and more

Welcome to the Monday Ravens 10-Pack, where reporter Jon Meoli hits on 10 stats, notes, and thoughts after a 25-13 loss to the Houston Texans. Read ahead for notes on where it went wrong offensively, some bright spots in stopping the run, and the total disarray of the Ravens' running game. 

1. And so they wait. The Ravens flew to Houston with designs of returning home for a restful but focused holiday week before clinching a playoff spot against the sputtering Cleveland Browns. Instead they must rely on two hated rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos, to beat a third rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, or on a relatively punchless Kansas City Chiefs team hosting and beating a San Diego Chargers squad with everything to play for. On one hand, it’s amazing the Ravens are where they are given the early season circus involving Ray Rice and the futile pass defense. But this fate seems somewhat fitting for a team that whiffed on multiple chances to join the league’s top tier of...

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Barack Obama calls James Franco 'James Flacco'

I’m sure if the word "Flacco" was going to come out of President Barack Obama's mouth any time soon, the hope would be that he was addressing Ravens star quarterback Joe Flacco on a second visit to the White House along with the Lombardi Trophy.

Ravens fans can still dream, but until then, they’ll have today’s hot Internet moment to think of.

While addressing the hacks and threats that led to the Seth Rogen and James Franco film “The Interview” to be pulled from theaters before it was ever released, Obama called Franco “James Flacco.”

“I think it says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state mount an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco," Obama said. "I love Seth, and I love James. But the notion that that was a threat to them, I think, gives you some sense of the kind of regime we’re talking about here.” 

The Internet, being the wonderfully horrible echo chamber that it is, immediately...

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Dean Pees sees bright future for Terrence Brooks after uneven rookie year

A knee injury Sunday cut safety Terrence Brooks’ season short after just 11 games, and defensive coordinator Dean Pees on Thursday kicked himself for trying to fit the first-year safety into too many positions instead of letting him get acclimated to the NFL in just one.

“As a rookie, we moved him around a little bit,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “In retrospect, I probably would have gone back and maybe just put him in one place and just left him there, and let him soak. But we tried to kind of teach him a couple different things. I’m not sure that was the best for him. I’ll take the blame for that.”

Brooks, the 79th overall pick in the NFL draft who starred for the National Champion Florida State Seminoles last season, got off to a slow start in training camp, and practiced with the third-string for much of the summer before improving late in camp.

During later stages of camp, as the Ravens struggled with injuries to cornerbacks, Brooks took game and practice reps as the...

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Ravens' playoff chances above 80 percent, according to projection systems

The scenarios that lead to the Ravens playing in January are rather simple: win the remaining two games, then clear your calendar for the first weekend of 2015.

Whether it’s as a wild-card team or the AFC North champion, the Ravens’ path to the playoffs is straightforward, and they can even clinch this week with a series of scenarios outlined here.

But what are the chances of said things happening? And how big of an impact do the rest of the league’s games have on the Ravens' opportunities.

Again, kudos to those who took the time to crunch this actual data, as opposed to people like me who use a calculator for basic math and just compile it.

Here’s a small roundup of what the numbers-crunchers say about the Ravens’ playoff chances heading into Week 14:

- ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight places the Ravens at 85.7 percent chance of making the playoffs, a number that can raise to 96.8 percent with a win in Houston on Sunday. The website gives the Ravens a 23.5 percent chance of winning the AFC...

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Five Ravens stats that stand out ahead of Sunday's game against the Texans

Every week, reporter Jon Meoli will serve up five stats you should know heading into that week's Ravens game. This week's stats, prepared ahead of Sunday's trip to NRG Stadium for a grudge match against the Houston Texans, focus on the Ravens’ ball security, success on the ground, and yet another measure of quarterback Joe Flacco’s success this year.

17 – The Ravens have been among the league’s best in not turning the ball over this season, and they will have to be again against a Houston defense that ranks first in the league with 31 takeaways, and a league-high 110 points off takeaways. Quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown just one interception in his last five games, and a pair of fumbles by fullback Kyle Juszczyk are the only other turnovers in that span. Ball security will be at a premium, especially in the red zone, where the Texans have forced 11 turnovers.

3.0 – Last Sunday, running back Justin Forsett averaged 3 yards per carry, a full yard lower than his previous season-low in...

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