The welcome to the NFL moments for Darius Kilgo were plentiful during his first season with the Denver Broncos this fall. The former Maryland defensive tackle endured two-a-days at rookie minicamps last May, appeared in the Broncos' season opener against Baltimore in September and watched Tom Brady try to lead a last-minute New England comeback in the AFC championship game last week. And there's a bunch more ahead for him in the next week.
There will be no storyline unturned during the week-long buildup to the enticing Super Bowl 50 matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, but there will be one that dominates all others. It is, of course, the matchup between 39-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning and soon-to-be-named NFL Most Valuable Player Cam Newton — the once and future kings of the NFL.
Gary Kubiak's loss was the biggest of the offseason for the Ravens. He just has that type of presence about him. Some guys are born to lead, some guys are followers. Kubiak was born to be a head coach and he might end up being one of the best ever when he is done.
Technically, long-time Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor will play in a Pro Bowl before his former teammate Joe Flacco. But remember, Flacco was asked to go to last year's Pro Bowl and turned down the invitation.
Cam Newton's talent on the field and easy embrace of showmanship has long made him an invaluable ambassador for Under Armour, the Baltimore-based athletic apparel and footwear brand. And his value to the company is about to skyrocket as the Panthers, who defeated the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, prepare for Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7.
Antonio Brown left last weekend's wild-card win over Cincinnati after taking a shot to the head from Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Brown has not practiced all week while following the NFL's concussion protocol.
Days after a teammate referred to how dispirited Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is on his way back from a torn Achilles, general manager-executive vice president Ozzie Newsome said the team was ¿looking forward to getting him back in here.¿
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was asked before the Bengals-Broncos game Sunday night what Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was going through in the wake of an Al Jazeera report that links Manning to use of human growth hormone.
The Ravens are again looking up at the Bengals and Steelers in the standings, and the gap between the three franchises is wider than it has been in several seasons. When the Ravens (4-10) face the Steelers and Bengals over the final two weeks of the regular season, they'll be playing out the string while their division foes are priming themselves for potential playoff runs.
For Za'Darius Smith, a fourth-round NFL draft pick this year out of Kentucky, it will be his second opportunity to build on a strong performance. In the weeks that followed his big game against the Steelers, when he sacked quarterback Mike Vick on back-to-back plays, Smith's impact waned.
This week's five stats that stand out focus heavily on the Pittsburgh Steelers passing game, the Ravens' ability to stop them, and of course, the injuries that have hampered the Ravens this season but haven't slowed Pittsburgh.
Heading into Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Ravens have started two quarterbacks, Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen, in the past three weeks, and a third, Ryan Mallett, could get an opportunity before season's end.
An examination of the in-game win probabilities and expected point values of every play this season reveals costly turnovers, big opposing passing plays, and crushing penalties to be the biggest swings in the Ravens' 12 close games.
This is what the 2015 season has come to for these Ravens who play the two-time defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks on Sunday without their starting quarterback and possibly their backup, too. And that's just the beginning for an offense that has been torn apart by injuries, leaving seldom-used reserves as sudden starters, and former practice squad players as important contingency plans.