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BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-5) at CHICAGO BEARS (5-4)
The Ravens try to get their offense in gear Sunday when they face an injury-riddled Bears team.
Baltimore has averaged a paltry 17.8 PPG and 279 total YPG (67 rush YPG) in the past four contests, including 189 total yards in a 20-17 overtime win versus the Bengals last week to end a three-game losing skid. Chicago, which is 2-4 SU (1-5 ATS) in the past six games, will play this contest without QB Jay Cutler (ankle) and top CB Charles "Peanut" Tillman (triceps) who were both injured in last weeks 21-19 home loss, which dropped the club to 0-4-1 ATS at Soldier Field. But the good news for QB Josh McCown and the Bears is that the home team is 8-0 SU in this series since 1980, and the Ravens are 1-4 (SU and ATS) on the road this year. However, Baltimore doesn't usually have two horrible offensive games in a row, going 17-6 ATS (74percent) after being held to 200 or less yards in its last game since 1992, and going 13-4 ATS (77percent) after being outgained by 100+ total yards in its last game under John Harbaugh. But Chicago has two big trends in its favor as underdogs coming off a division game against an opponent off two straight division games are just 11-33 ATS (25percent) in the past five seasons, and favorites allowing 370+ total YPG against an opponent giving up 335 to 370 total YPG are 39-13 ATS (75percent) in the second half of the season over the past 10 years.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco is having his worst season as a pro, toting a career-low 77.3 passer rating with 6.7 YPA, 12 TD and 11 INT. Last season, Flacco had 33 TD and just 10 INT including playoffs. He's already been sacked 30 times, hitting the deck five times in three of his past four contests. But the team's offensive woes (4.5 yards per play, 2nd-worst in NFL), can't be put all on Flacco and the passing game, which has thrown for a serviceable 234.4 YPG (17th in league). The rushing offense has been abysmal, gaining a league-low 2.8 yards per carry and 73.1 rushing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL). Top RB Ray Rice has been slowed by a hip injury all season, gaining just 289 yards on 115 carries (2.5 YPC), while reaching 50 rushing yards just once this year. The Ravens have also been poor on third downs (35.6percent, 24th in NFL), but have been strong in red-zone efficiency (57.1percent, T-12th in league). Turnovers have also been a big problem lately with the team's 13 giveaways over the past six games. On defense, Baltimore has been excellent in stopping the run, allowing only 3.7 YPC (5th in NFL) and 102.6 rushing YPG (10th in league). The Ravens have also done a fantastic job when it has mattered most, ranking second in the NFL in red-zone efficiency defense (33.3percent) and 4th on third downs (32.4percent). But the Bears have some skill players that will give this unit a major challenge on Sunday.
Chicago QB Josh McCown has plenty of talented receivers to work with, including RB Matt Forte, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Alshon Jeffery and TE Martellus Bennett. This talent is a big reason why McCown has completed 62percent of his passes for 952 yards (7.6 YPA), 6 TD and 4 INT in his six career games since joining the Bears in 2011. Forte's 4.4 YPC is why his team ranks 8th in the NFL in this category, but Chicago has also been a great passing team with 261.7 YPG (8th in league). Forte has compiled 1,023 total yards and 7 TD this year, while Marshall (786 rec. yards, 8 TD), Jeffery (735 rec. yards, 3 TD) and Bennett (421 rec. yards, 4 TD) have been the main targets through the air. Chicago has also done a great job of protecting its quarterback, allowing just 14 sacks all year (3rd-fewest in NFL), which has resulted in the team committing just three turnovers in the past five games combined. On defense, the Bears continue to give up too many yards with so many major injuries such as CB Charles Tillman (triceps), LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), LB D.J. Williams (pectoral) and DT Jay Ratliff (hernia), who are all out indefinitely. Chicago has allowed 6.1 yards per play (3rd-worst in NFL), 129 rushing YPG (2nd-worst in league) and 27.4 points per game (6th-worst in NFL). The red-zone efficiency defense has been decent (51.7percent, 11th in league), but the Bears have been subpar on third downs, allowing a 41.3percent conversion rate (7th-worst in NFL). And although its 20 takeaways have certainly helped this year, the team has forced only three turnovers in the past three games.
NFL is reviewing Bradham situation
We take these situations seriously. Apuestas Deportivas Online Bingo Play Slots Online in US NFL Picks We dont condone these actions, Whaley said in response to Bradham being ticketed Saturday morning for marijuana possession. Its something thats unfortunate, and well deal with it as it comes.
Bradham was stopped at 2:01 a.m. Saturday along Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda for a window-tint violation, according to the Tonawanda News. The officer who pulled Bradham over detected a strong scent of marijuana, the report stated, and Bradham eventually produced a bag with the banned substance.
He was issued tickets for marijuana possession and illegal tints on his windows.
Whaley said the case is being reviewed by the NFL as a violation of the leagues personal conduct policy.
Its handled at the league level, he said. Its under review as we speak. Well wait for the ruling from the league, and then after that, everything else we will keep in house.
Whaley did not have a timetable on when that review would be complete, saying it could take anywhere from a week to a month.
Bradham has met with coach Doug Marrone and Paul Lancaster, the teams director of player engagement. Following the leagues review, Whaley will sit down with Bradham personally.
Coach has been preaching accountability. And this is an instance hes going to have to step up and be accountable for his actions, Whaley said. Hopefully it shows to the whole team, anything you do, youre going to be held accountable.
The message is, Hey, when youre in this league, its a privilege. Its not a right. You have to respect the shield, youve got to respect the Buffalo Bills, youve got to respect your teammates, the coaches, the whole organization, so when you step outside of this, youre representing not only the NFL, yourself, your family, but youve got to do it with the utmost respect.
Bradham spoke in measured tones about the situation.
Its a legal issue. It was a mistake on my behalf, he said in an afternoon meeting with reporters at St. John Fisher College. I just dont want to be a distraction. Thats the main thing.
Bradham said he regretted his actions.
Oh, yeah, most definitely. Its a bad decision, he said. There will be some kind of conduct, he continued, acknowledging the likelihood of some kind of disciplinary actions, but well keep that between us and the team as far as that.
Bradham, a second-year linebacker out of Florida State, has started the first two preseason games.
Pretty much just trying to stay focused on what we have going on here at training camp, practice and being focused in meetings and everything, Bradham said. Obviously, I had a matter that happened to me. I mean, I have to abide by the rules. I know that.
The Buffalo Bills continued to trim their roster Tuesday with the release of guard Keith Williams.
A 6-foot-5, 330-pounder, Williams was designated as waived/injured by the team.
A former sixth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011, Williams played in two games for the Bills late last season after spending 13 weeks on the practice squad.
His release means the Bills have 81 players on their active roster. They must get that number down to 75 by 4 p.m. Aug. 27.
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