Nice to not meet you, Dwight

The Baltimore Sun

News item: Ravens rookie Joe Flacco will get an up-close look at superstar QB counterpart Peyton Manning today when the Ravens play the Indianapolis Colts at brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium.

My take: Here's hoping he doesn't get an even closer look at All-Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney over the course of the afternoon.

News item: The Ravens begin a span of six weeks that features five road games, including the one in Houston that filled in their bye week.

My take: That's why today's game might determine how we look at this team for the rest of the season. If the Ravens win, they'll be in great shape going to Miami next week and coming home to play the beatable Oakland Raiders after that. If it doesn't play out that way, it's going to be hard to make a mathematical argument for a playoff run with the four NFC East teams looming in the second half.

News item: Orioles officials returned from organizational meetings in Sarasota, Fla., where club president Andy MacPhail gathered information for the second offseason of his rebuilding project.

My take: The free-agent market doesn't open for a month, so this would seem to be a perfect time to get in Brian Roberts' face and find out whether he's serious about signing a contract extension. Might want to throw a multiyear offer at Nick Markakis while MacPhail's at it.

News item: The Chicago Cubs exercised a $7 million option to retain pitcher Rich Harden for the 2009 season, despite continued uncertainty about the health of his pitching shoulder.

My take: Harden isn't exactly the picture of durability, but $7 million is a nice price in this market even if he misses 10 starts next year.

News item: Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington has been ruled out of today's game with a shoulder injury, joining Samari Rolle on the sideline for one of the games when the team needs them most.

My take: I'll take the glass-half-full approach and predict that fill-in cornerback Frank Walker will intercept Manning at least once in his first start since 2006.

News item: Kicker Matt Stover finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having his job security questioned after missing three of his first seven field-goal attempts this season.

My take: There's nothing wrong with Stover and no reason to think about replacing him. He'll finish the season close to his career success rate. I would bet you a buck if I had any money left after last week's stock market crash.

News item: Former New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons kicker Morten Anderson, already the NFL's all-time scoring leader, wants to kick a point-after Dec. 7 for the Saints so he can be the oldest player to ever appear in an NFL game at 48 years, 110 days.

My take: Don't really see the point because Brett Favre will just break that record when he comes out of retirement for the 11th straight year in 2018.

News item: Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones is expected to play today, even though he reportedly got into a scuffle last week with a bodyguard hired by the team to keep him out of trouble.

My take: Glad to hear it. I was starting to think "Pacman" was losing his edge.

News item: Fox broadcaster Tim McCarver put a verbal smackdown on superstar Manny Ramirez on Wednesday, calling Manny's campaign to get himself traded out of Boston "despicable."

My take: I agree that it wasn't very nice, but I can't help but root for the Los Angeles Dodgers to reach the World Series and set up a win-win situation. Either Manny goes against the Red Sox - which is a great story line - or Manny and Joe Torre go for a world title while the Sox and New York Yankees watch from home, which is even better.

News item: The Washington Redskins have moved up to No. 3 in's NFL Power Rankings.

My take: I'm just glad they aren't No. 1, or Dan Snyder might spark a worldwide arrogance shortage.

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon most Saturdays and Sundays.

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