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Late For Work 6/20: More Or Less? Ravens Only Win 9 Games

Ngata is one rich dude. Flacco, Ryan headed in opposite directions? Over/underrated Ravens.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 8:57 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

More Or Less? Ravens Only Win 9 Games

Could 2012 be the first season the Ravens don’t make the playoffs during the John Harbaugh era?

If Baltimore finishes in third place in the AFC North with a total of nine wins, like ESPN’s Jamison Hensley predicts, a playoff berth could only be obtained through a wild-card spot. And even that would be a long shot with seven losses.

Baltimore’s fate may be decided by the head coach’s ability to keep his team focused despite off-the-field distractions.

“It’s difficult to go against a team that has gone to the playoffs every year under coach John Harbaugh, but this is the year when the off-the-field distractions cause the Ravens to drop off a bit,” Hensley wrote.

Looking to cleanse the bitter taste left by the AFC championship loss last season, the Ravens will have to get it done for some amount of time without reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs.  The team must also look beyond the contract situations of starting running back Ray Rice and quarterback Joe Flacco, while filling the void at left guard (Ben Grubbs) and getting left Bryant McKinnie in shape for another grinding NFL season. Then there’s the sensitive issue of Ed Reed, who had an unexcused absence from mandatory minicamp last week.

While Hensley doesn’t think the Ravens will overcome, not everyone agrees.

Both Hensley and the “The Professor” John Clayton gave their predicted 2012 records for each AFC North team, and Clayton’s crystal ball sees a 10-6 finish for the Ravens, good enough for first place (tied with the Steelers) in the division.

What are your thoughts? Are the predictions from the pair too high, too low, or spot on?

JAMISON HENSLEY               JOHN CLAYTON

Steelers 11-5                          Ravens 10-6
Bengals 10-6                          Steelers 10-6
Ravens 9-7                             Bengals 8-8
Browns 4-12                           Browns 4-12

Haloti Ngata Is One Rich Dude, Says Forbes

Haloti Ngata is one rich dude if the numbers from Forbes are true.

Not only is he the 12th-highest paid athlete in sports, but apparently he has earned more money in salary and bonuses ($37.1 million) in the last 12 months than any other athlete playing a team sport.

“So, take note quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice as you’re negotiating new deals,” wrote Hensley.

One of the best players at the defensive tackle position, Ngata signed a five-year deal in September reportedly worth $61 million. (By the way, our boy Ryan Mink was there for the signing and has a pretty interesting blog about it coming later today.)

Ngata’s total earnings: $37.3 million
Salary/winnings: $37.1 million
Endorsements: $200,000

The only NFL player to rank ahead of Ngata in total earnings was quarterback Peyton Manning (No. 10), who got the edge with $10 million in endorsements. Lubriguard – one of Ngata’s endorsements – just wasn’t enough to keep up with Manning.

Unless he finds a way to get more endorsements, it’s unlikely Ngata would make a repeat performance on the list seeing as he won’t have another multi-million dollar signing bonus in the next 12 months.

The 11 highest paid athletes ahead of Ngata are: 1) Floyd Mayweather, 2) Manny Pacquiao, 3) Tiger Woods, 4) LeBron James, 5) Roger Federer , 6) Kobe Bryant, 7) Phil Mickelson, 8) David Beckham, 9)  Cristiano Ronaldo, 10) Manning and 11) Lionel Messi.

Flacco, Ryan Headed In Opposite Directions

Since coming into the league together in 2008, Flacco and Matt Ryan’s careers have looked rather similar.

But this may be the season that one pulls far ahead of the other, says CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora.

Flacco has completed 1,190 passes (60.8 completion percent) for 13,816 yards, 80 touchdowns and 46 interceptions over his career. During the same span, Ryan has completed 1,232 passes (60.9 completion percent) for 14,238 yards, 95 touchdowns and 46 interceptions.

Flacco has the edge in playoff wins, however, notching at least one each year of his career with Ryan still winless in the post season.

“Matt Ryan continues to come up small and occasionally seems overwhelmed when the stage gets biggest,” La Canfora wrote. “I suspect the Falcons will be hard-pressed to post the kind of win totals that have been the norm the last two years. That division is ripe for some upheaval.”

While some believe the Ravens will take a step back without Suggs (see first section), La Canfora says it’s because of the Ravens’ defensive setbacks, and a legit cast of offensive options for the first time in his career, that Flacco will shine.

“Already accustomed to overcoming odds, you could argue that Flacco is once again positioned to fail,” La Canfora wrote. “He’s in the last year of his deal with no new contract in sight. On the other side of the ball, Terrell Suggs is hurt and no longer leading the defensive charge. It is because of those factors that I expect Flacco – who has to this point proven unflappable and equipped to meet challenges – to have the best season of his career.

“He cast aside his Steelers demons in 2011, and I suspect the quarterback will break out in 2012 and prove many detractors wrong. The offensive line gives me pause, most certainly, but I believe Flacco will end up making himself a bunch of money with his play this season, and develop a particular rapport with his young tight ends.”

Quick Hits

    • Newly signed veteran guard Bobbie Williams is bringing the phrase “Hungry and Humble” to Baltimore. His Ignition workout team posted this video of Williams describing the meaning behind the words. [YouTube]

  • Pete Prisco picked an overrated and underrated player for each NFL team. For the Ravens, he says receiver Anquan Boldin is overrated, while Lardarius Webb is underrated. [CBSSports.com]
  • MaakeKemoeatu: need to drop 20 more pounds. I’m already under what the team want. I just feel better playing at 20 pounds lighter [Twitter]
  • BryantMckinnie: A bad attitude is like a flat tire, if u don’t change it, you’ll never go anywhere. [Twitter]
  • Crushboy31 [Bernard Pollard]: At the movies with my son to see Madagascar a second time!!! Bottle water and Reese’s pieces check… [Twitter]
  • Fantasy analysts discuss who should be the top ranked player, Ray Rice or Arian Foster. [ESPN]

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