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> Alone Atop The Nfc South And Eager To Impress The
postare Sep 7 2019, 04:51 AM
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BALTIMORE - Things were going so well for the Carolina Panthers before Pittsburgh came to town. Carolina was 2-0, alone atop the NFC South and eager to impress the nation on Sunday Night Football. Unimpressed, the Steelers amassed 264 yards rushing and cruised to a 37-13 victory. The events of last weekend do not bode well for the Panthers, who face another AFC North opponent with a solid running attack on Sunday: the Baltimore Ravens. You can watch the game live at 1pm et/10am pt on TSN2 and TSN GO, with pregame coverage on live NOW. Not only did the Ravens (2-1) manhandle the Steelers 26-6 on Sept. 11, but theyre coming off a 160-yard rushing performance in a 23-21 win at Cleveland. For Carolina, playing against AFC North competition means fortifying their shoulder pads and making sure all helmets are fully secured. I think, really, its just their physical nature a€” the way they play, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of the division, which also includes Cincinnati and Cleveland. Its only the fourth week of the season, but the Ravens have thus far been forced to delve deep into the depth chart to keep first-year offensive co-ordinator Gary Kubiaks scheme afloat. A three-tiered running back system (Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro) has been employed in the wake of the release of the suspended Ray Rice; rookie James Hurst will be making his first NFL start in place of injured left tackle Eugene Monroe (knee); and tight end Owen Daniels is expected to become more of a target after Dennis Pitta was lost for the season with a dislocated his right hip. Good offences arent made up of one guy here and one guy there. They are made up of a collection of guys that play physical, play fast and can do a lot of things, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. And I think we have that. Former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is one of the fast, physical guys. Following a 13-year run in Carolina, Smith plans to make life miserable for his former teammates as a member of the Ravens. When Im on your team, you love me, Smith said. When Im not on your team, you despise me. Here are some things to know about the Panthers-Ravens matchup: SOMETHING TO PROVE: The Panthers allowed a whopping 7.8 yards per carry against the Steelers, in part because LeVeon Bell and LeGarrette Blount found big holes after patiently waiting for blocks to develop. A couple of times we got knocked out of our creases and allowed the double teams to work, Rivera said. When that happens, youve got to do one of two things: hold your point a little bit better, or stay in your crease as a D-lineman. We just didnt do that very well. INTRODUCTIONS REQUIRED: This is only the fifth time the Panthers and Ravens have faced each other. Flacco has been in NFL since 2008 and faced Carolina only once, never before at home. The previous time these teams met, Brian St. Pierre threw two interceptions for the horrid Panthers, who fell to 1-9 after losing at home 37-13 in 2010. Oh, by the way, current Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was at Auburn in 2010. Hes never played against Baltimore. SLIM PICKINGS: The Panthers are averaging just 72.3 yards per game on the ground and it may be a while before things get much better. Newton is still recovering from rib and ankle injuries and isnt much of a factor to run the ball. He carried just twice for 7 yards against the Steelers. Rivera expects to get DeAngelo Williams back Sunday, but fullback Mike Tolbert is out for eight weeks and Jonathan Stewart is battling a severely sprained knee and may not play, leaving the Panthers quite thin in the backfield. THREE-PRONGED ATTACK: Each of the Ravens three running backs provides a varied challenge to the Panthers. Pierce is a straight-ahead pounder; Forsett has slipped his way to 6.3 yards per carry; and Taliaferro, a rookie, mixed power and finesse in running for 91 yards in his NFL debut last week. All three backs are similar, but they have their own different characteristic style of the way they run, Rivera said. We have to make sure we understand who the back is and then play from there. CAMS DOUBLE: Carolinas 6-foot-5, 245-pound wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is off to a great start, leading all rookies with 253 yards receiving to go along with 16 receptions and two TDs. Smith called his replacement a 6-foot-5 Cam Newton with dreads. Said Smith: They look very similar but hes very athletic and catches the ball well. I think it doesnt surprise me what hes done thus far in his ability to catch the ball because he did that in college (at Florida State). Max Kepler Jersey . The D-Backs came into being in 1998 and appear destined to finish second in the AL West after the Tsunami that is the Los Angeles Dodgers swept over them. I thought it might be interesting to see what the D-backs have done over their 16 years compared to what the Blue Jays have done over their past 16 campaigns. Paul Molitor Twins Jersey . The Blue Jackets got goals from Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner and R.J. Umberger and Curtis McElhinney posted his first shutout since 2011 in a 4-0 victory on Friday night. .85 million contract with the two-time Gold Glove outfielder. Parra earned his second Gold Glove last season when he set a club record with 17 outfield assists. Michael Pineda Jersey . -- Arizona coach Bruce Arians says there "were obviously very, very many problems" with the officiating in the Cardinals 24-21 loss at Philadelphia. Justin Morneau Twins Jersey . Moments after his Brooklyn Nets teammates ran out onto the court to congratulate him following their 100-98 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, Johnson could only shake his head at scoring only 13 points on 6-of-19 shooting.Chicago, IL ( - The Chicago Cubs formally ushered in another new era by introducing former Tampa Bay Rays skipper Joe Maddon as their new manager on Monday. The team also announced that Maddon agreed to a five-year contract in which financial terms were not disclosed, though ESPN reported the deal to be worth $25 million and includes incentives tied to making the postseason. The Cubs moved quickly to obtain Maddons services after the two-time American League Manager of the Year opted out of his contract with the Rays on Oct. 24, shortly after Tampa Bay general manager Andrew Friedman left the organization to become the president of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maddon, who guided the small-market Rays to four playoff appearances and the 2008 AL pennant over the past seven seasons, joins a long-suffering Cubs franchise that has endured five consecutive losing campaigns and last won the World Series in 1908. This is a 1-in-107 a year opportunity for me, said Maddon during Mondays press conference. The challenge is so outstanding. How could you not want to be in this seat? The Cubs future appeared bright even before the hiring of the enthusiastic and ever-optimistic Maddon, though. Chicagos present farm system is ranked among baseballs strongest and the Cubs are expected to be significant players in free agency this offseason, something Maddon never experienced during his successful nine-year run with the low-budget Rays. Those factors, coupled with Friedmans departure and the presence of Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein -- who nearly hired Maddon as the Red Sox manager in 2004 while then Bostons GM -- played a role in Maddons decision.dddddddddddd. I knew there was a lot of common ground philosophically, said Maddon. I know that the synergy between the front office and the manager is really, really important. This is a really good fit for me personally. I feel very comfortable here. The 60-year-old takes over a Cubs team that showed improvement in Rick Renterias lone season as manager, with Chicago posting a 73-89 record in 2014 after winning 66 and 61 games the previous two years. Despite those strides, Epstein informed Renteria last week of his intention to pursue Maddon and make a switch. Renteria was offered another position within the organization but predictably declined. Even though they annually operated with one of the lowest payrolls in the majors, the Rays were a consistent contender for much of Maddons reign. Lauded for his ability to work with young players and to maximize the available talent on hand, the charismatic manager guided Tampa to six consecutive winning seasons that began with the unexpected 2008 World Series run. The Rays, who had never won over 70 games in their first 10 seasons prior to that 2008 breakthrough, also reached the playoffs in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Maddon amassed a 754-705 overall record in Tampa Bay, easily the most of any manager in club history. ' ' '
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