Late For Work 4/21: Schedule Opinions and Predictions

Plus Ozzie obeys the 6th Commandment and the Steelers sign a backup QB.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 9:15 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Schedule Opinions and Predictions

The Ravens’ 2010 schedule is (finally) here, and September’s lineup makes for a clear indicator as to this team’s potential.  The opinions and predictions are endless.

Don’t be bashful – tell us what you really think. What will be the Ravens’ record when all is said and done?

ESPN’s James Walker: Baltimore usually feels like it gets the short end on a lot of things, and the Ravens have a legitimate complaint with the opening month of the schedule. The Ravens play three of their first four games on the road.

The Ravens will know where they stand right away when they open the season to play the Jets. Both teams are early Super Bowl contenders in the AFC and it should be a very interesting matchup on “Monday Night Football” Sept. 13. Of course, former longtime Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is now the head coach of the Jets. Both teams have similar personalities. So expect a lot of trash talk leading up to this game.

Sporting News’ Mike Florio: Ravens benefit from Steelers’ troubles. When the Steelers traded receiver Santonio Holmes to the Jets, the Ravens were thrilled. No longer would they have to be torched two (and maybe three) times a year by Holmes. The Ravens dodged another bullet by getting the Jets in Week 1, when Holmes will be suspended. And if Roethlisberger gets at least a four-game suspension, the Ravens will go to Pittsburgh on a day in early October when Ben isn’t there.

The Baltimore Sun Writers

Jamison Hensley: 10-6. Ravens survive tough road schedule to make playoffs for third straight year. The only way the Ravens fail to do so is if Joe Flacco goes down with an injury.

Mike Preston: The schedule matters very little for the Ravens. The key is for coaches John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron to get the passing game to mesh, and for quarterback Joe Flacco to step up his game late in the season and into the post season. Ravens win the AFC North with an 11-5 record.

Kevin Van Valkenburg: Assuming Joe Flacco stays healthy, the Ravens will go 12-4 and make their third playoff appearance under John Harbaugh. They still may have some trouble in close games and as a result they lose to New Orleans, the Jets and split with the Bengals and Steelers. But the team takes another step forward and is a real Super Bowl threat with an actual offense this year.

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco thinks Ravens vs. Jets will be a Top 10 game of the season: Rex Ryan earned his head-coaching job as defensive coordinator of the Ravens. Now he gets to face his former team for the first time. Ray Lewis and his mates would love to ruin Ryan’s day. Lucky for Ryan, it will be Mark Sanchez taking the bullets — not him. Joe Flacco vs. Mark Sanchez isn’t bad either.

Oh, and me: Two years in a row the Ravens eked their way into the playoffs through the wild card back door. This time, the purple and black get in by winning the division and an 11-5 record.

Ozzie Obeys The Sixth Commandment

If the schedule hadn’t been released last night, this one would have been LFW homepage headline worthy.

Sporting News declared Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome as the league’s best personnel decision-maker in the league. (Sorry. No link. This was a print-only list). The criterion used was simple:

The Sixth Commandment: What you do with the firsts shall last.

“The top personnel men for the NFL’s 32 teams have made a total of 235 first-round picks, and there’s no way to find out who’s the best at making the big selections without grading each and every choice,” the magazine explained. “So we did.”

Newsome has made 16 first-round selections since 1996, and the grades he received were as follows: A: 9 B: 3 C:0 D:4 F:0. His first two picks in Ravens history, tackle Jonathan Ogden and linebacker Ray Lewis, are headed to the Hall of Fame.

The Top 5 executives are as follows:

1. Ozzie Newsome, Ravens
2. Bill Polian, Colts
3. Marty Hurney, Panthers
4. Bill Parcells, Dolphins
5. Mike Tannenbaum, Jets

Several weeks ago LFW debated which front office was better between the Steelers and Ravens. It should be noted that Sporting News gave a No. 12 ranking to Coach Mike Tomlin and Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert of the Steelers.

Browns President Mike Holmgren was No. 20, while Bengals Owner Mike Brown was No. 22.

Steelers Acquire Leftwich, Insurance Policy

Anticipating a league suspension for Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers acquired an insurance policy by trading a seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Bucs for veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That brings the quarterback total in Pittsburgh to four. One of them will have to leave once Roethlisberger returns.

The Steelers are expecting to learn today what punishment Big Ben will receive from Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The paper is also reporting the Steelers have received trade feelers from other teams about Roethlisberger and have not ruled out the possibility of dealing their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

Quick Hits

  • Rex Ryan on the league scheduling the Jets in five prime-time games, including three Monday nighters: “The league is smart,” tweeted Schefter.
  • Linebacker Jason Taylor signed with his former team’s divisional nemesis, the New York Jets, and will therefore be set to play the Ravens opening night, according to USA Today.
  • The Baltimore Ravens recently conducted a private workout with University of Miami tight end Jimmy Graham, according to National Football Post.

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