Ravens gear up for showdown with Chiefs

An already hot start for the Baltimore Ravens will reach an even higher level of hype as they get ready for a prime time showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams have a 2-0 record and feature the last two players to be named MVP.

Lamar Jackson is the reigning MVP and looking to follow 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes’ progression from top player in the league to Super Bowl champion. Jackson is already off to an excellent start, after completing 77 percent of his passes to go along with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Monday Night’s Chiefs vs. Ravens game will have big time implications for the playoffs since these two teams are likely to have the best record. A Ravens’ win in Baltimore this week could mean the AFC Championship will go through M&T Bank Stadium instead of Kansas City.

The game also features two Super Bowl winning coaches in John Harbaugh and Andy Reid. To make things even more interesting, Harbaugh coached special teams and defensive backs for Reid before being named the Ravens head coach.

There is no doubt that this game is special for Harbaugh. Normally, coaches don’t get into the pregame hype, especially right after a win. That wasn’t the case for Harbaugh.

“You can’t help it, you think about it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s probably the first thing that goes into your mind once you get in the locker room. You kind of start talking about the game and then everybody is talking about it in the locker room, about the next one, too. Honestly, it’s that way every week, but Ravens gear up for showdown with Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Jackson led Baltimore to 15 points in the fourth quarter but they couldn’t pull out the win.

Despite the loss, Baltimore held the top seed in the playoffs while Kansas City was the number two seed. The rematch, which would have been a dream matchup was eliminated by the Tennessee Titans when they defeated the Ravens, ending Baltimore’s 14-2 season on a sour note.

Jackson and the Ravens are on a redemption tour this year. They’ll host the Titans later. But first up to bat will be the Chiefs. Both teams stand in the way of Jackson’s ultimate goal, to win it all. That’s all that matters to him.

When asked about his past accomplishments such as winning the Heisman Trohy and having an MVP award, Jackson made it clear that the Lombardi trophy is the one he has his eyes set on.

“I’m focused on winning a bigger trophy,” Jackson said. this probably as much as any week, we’re thinking about the next one,” Harbaugh said after Baltimore’s convincing 33-16 win over the Houston Texans.

“I don’t think you can ignore it. You can’t sit there and pretend. Every game is important, they all count for wins, and you don’t want to mess up one that the fans or somebody else might not think is important. But who wouldn’t get excited for a game like this? When you’re playing a team that is the defending champs, the favorites to win the whole thing again— going forward— the type of players they have, the coaches they have? You’re going to get excited about it. It’s not something that we downplay. We don’t ignore it. We try to embrace it and make the most of it.”

The Chiefs and Ravens were on a collision course for the AFC Championship last season. They had a week 3 clash that was one for the ages when the Chiefs beat the Ravens 33-28

Should Ravens fans get ‘opt out’ season ticket opportunity?

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the impact it will have on football is in question. Two preseason games have been canceled. The National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) voted to eliminate all four preseason games this season. The possibility of having a season without fans in the stands is becoming a likely option.

Multiple teams have started to allow their season ticket holders to opt out of their season tickets for the 2020 season without losing their seat license. The plan came to existence as rising concerns about limits being placed on stadium capacity started to become a realistic possibility.

Currently, the Baltimore Ravens are not one of the teams to offer an “opt out” plan but that could change in the near future. Earlier this year, the Ravens pushed the final season ticket payments back from May 15 to June 15 to accommodate their fans.

“We’re constantly monitoring the serious impact this public health crisis is having on our fans and community,” Ravens senior vice president of ticket sales and operations Baker Koppelman stated to SI.com in March. “Priorities have shifted for many people, and rightfully so. We hope this adjustment offers some relief at a time when families and businesses are forced to deal with more pressing needs.”

The NFL has not developed a league-wide policy for fan attendance this season. Each team is being allowed to determine fan attendance at games as it pertains to the corona virus guidelines set by the state where the team plays their home games.

According to Maryland.gov, the state’s key COVID-19 health metrics continue to trend in a positive direction, with the statewide positivity rate dropping to a new low of 4.51 percent and total current hospitalizations falling to 403. 

M&T Bank Stadium has provided a legitimate home field advantage for the Ravens over the last two regular seasons. The Ravens hold a combined 13-3 home record since 2018. But both seasons ended with a home loss in the postseason.

There will almost definitely be a limit on how many fans will be able to attend the games in the stadiums. The process to determine which fans will be allowed to attend games still has to be addressed. Hopefully, the decision will be made by the time the stadiums are reopened this month.  

With training camp set to begin on July 28, 2020 for all teams, fan attendance won’t be an option for practices at the Under Armour Performance Center or any of the other NFL facilities. Attending games may not be an option either.

Ray Lewis offers words of encouragement to George Floyd’s family

Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis spoke to George Floyd’s family earlier this week. Floyd was laid to rest on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, after he killed by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin. Lewis shared some of the things he told the Floyd family during a virtual meeting with University of Maryland, Baltimore Interim President Dr. Bruce Jarrell.

“I told them that they are not alone. There are so many people across the world feeling so much pain and anger. People are frustrated of injustice, of what’s right. The color of your skin should not define who you are or what you do in life,” Lewis said. “I told George Floyd’s family that God don’t make mistakes. People have found their ways of doing what they want to do and evil finds even the strongest.”

The tragedy sparked protests and riots across the country. It took Lewis back to a time when he was a sophomore in high school in 1991 when Rodney King was brutally beaten by members of the Los Angeles Police Department. He said he remembered asking his mother why are black people treated differently. His mother’s inability to answer him other than to say, “the world wasn’t fair,” still resonates with Lewis today.

“This one here has bothered me froma different place,” Lewis said. “I’ve had sleepless nights because I think when you think about what’s happening, the thing I fear the most is our kids are experiencing things that even our parents can’t explain to them.

“People are just frustrated of injustice. The color of your skin should not define who you are or what you do in life. Our only way out of this is through love. We have to feel each other again. We have to love each other again. The question is: How do we replace all the pain, hurt, confusion, and injustice with love, hope, communication and integrity?”

The way that Floyd was killed stirs up emotions within any person with a conscience. Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck depriving him of oxygen while he was held on the ground in handcuffs. Two other officers also held him down and another officer stood guard as people watched the tragedy take place. This went on for almost nine minutes before Floyd took his last breath.

Floyd’s death has impacted the United States in a different way. More people are making their disgust known.

“It’s therapeutic to get that pain out,” Lewis said. “When you turn that pain into an open dialogue, you start to see change. Eventually, that pain becomes a vision. Then, that vision becomes a mission. That mission becomes your purpose. And that purpose becomes your destiny.”

You can’t tell people how to deal with these issues and if you’re a black man, you live it.

“My advice to the world is that our only way out is love,” Lewis said. “But we have to strategically put together the right connection to hold the people accountable.”