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Around the NFL: Ravens Visit Titans in Wildcard Rematch

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Possibly the hottest team in the NFL entering the postseason, the Baltimore Ravens will visit the Tennessee Titans on Sunday looking to avenge last season’s Wildcard round loss.

Winners of five-straight, Baltimore is rolling entering the postseason with an offense that is averaging 37.2 points per game over the streak. Their recent showings can be attributed to their ground game, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson and rookie running back J.K. Dobbins. Baltimore is coming off a 404 rushing yard performance in the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, which set a new franchise record and was the fourth-most in a single game since 1950. Dobbins ran for 160 yards and two scores, while Jackson added 97 yards of his own.

Jackson is hoping to improve upon his turnover-plagued playoff performance against Tennessee last season, where he tossed a pair of costly interceptions and lost a fumble attempting to come from behind. Last year’s MVP accounted for an astounding 508 total yards (365 pass, 143 rush), but the Baltimore struggled to overcome a deficit, a problem that has bled into 2020. Jackson and the Ravens need to get off to a fast start in order to keep the entire playbook in play and put Tennessee on its heels.

Baltimore may be an excellent rushing team, but the NFL’s rushing leader wears No. 22 for the Titans. Arguably the NFL’s best non-quarterback offensive player, Derrick Henry produced just the eighth 2,000-yard rushing performance in league annals, again demonstrating to a passing league that you can still win football games on the ground. Henry rushed for over 200 yards three times this season. The record for such games over the span of an entire career is six.

Henry bludgeoned Baltimore for 133 yards and a touchdown when the two clubs met in Week 11, a 30-24 Titans win. Owning the league’s second-best scoring defense, Baltimore has the scheme and personal to slow Henry down this time around, but that is much easier said than done. The best case scenario for the Ravens would be to stifle Henry on the ground, forcing Baltimore to take to the air on their talented secondary.

The winner of Ravens-Titans will head to Kansas City next weekend if the Steelers defeat the Browns tonight. A Cleveland win would mean one of these two will head north to Buffalo for the Divisional round.

 

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SN’s Mike Asti on Sports Central: Changes Happening for Steelers, Future in Doubt

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When your seasons ends the way the Pittsburgh Steelers season ended, there are going to be changes, in fact some may even argue it be would be insane to not make changes.

Steelers Now’s Mike Asti appeared on the Sports Central Show with Cory Giger to discuss recent news concerning the coaching staff and how different the Steelers will look during the 2021 season.

Cory even responds to Mike’s latest show of his own about the Mike Tomlin-Ben Roethlisberger era and what the not too distant future may be like for one of the NFL’s marquee franchises.

“Sports Central” airs daily on WRTA 98.5 and 1240 AM.

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Report: Lions Expected to Hire Rams Exec Brad Holmes, Ending Kevin Colbert Speculation

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he Detroit Lions are expected to hire Los Angeles Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes as their next general manager, according to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN, effectively ending speculation that the organization was pursuing Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert for the role.

Colbert had been linked to the Lions for weeks, with multiple reports claiming the organization was infatuated with the Steelers general manager and actively courting him for their vacancy.

Those rumblings culminated Wednesday when Mike Stone of 97.1-FM The Ticket in Detroit reported Colbert and the Lions were close to a deal.

Ensuing reporting by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac contradicted Stone’s claim, saying the Lions had never reached out to the Steelers with an official interview request.

Just a day later, it appears Detroit has found their man in Holmes, and Colbert will remain in Pittsburgh. His current one-year contract runs through April’s draft.

According to ESPN, the Lions and Holmes, 41, have agreed to a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s new general manager.

Holmes’ hiring also means the Rams will be the first organization to be beneficiaries of the NFL’s new hiring initiatives for developing minority general manager and coaching candidates.

Los Angeles will receive a pair of compensatory third-round draft picks for developing Holmes, who began with the Rams as a public relations intern in 2003 and spent his entire career with the franchise.

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Panthers Narrow GM Search, Steelers’ Omar Khan Left Out

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The Carolina Panthers have narrowed their general manager search down to four candidates, and Pittsburgh Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan was not one of them.

Khan had been one of 15 individuals interviewed virtually for the position, but was not one of the final four the Panthers announced Wednesday as having been selected for a second round of in-person interviews.

Khan was considered a favorite for the vacancy given his familiarity with Panthers owner David Tepper, who was previously a Steelers minority owner.

Carolina was Khan’s second interview this hiring cycle, having also spoken with the Houston Texans for their opening last week. They ultimately hired former New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio as their new general manager.

Khan has been a coveted candidate of late, also interviewing with the Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks in recent years.

Khan has been with the Steelers organization since 2001, and has served in his current role as vice president of football and business administration since 2016.

Known for his salary cap wizardry, Khan also previously served as the organization’s director of football administration (2011-16) and football administration coordinator (2001-2011).

Carolina’s search has now been narrowed down to Tennessee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, San Francisco 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters, Kansas City Chiefs assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles and Seattle Seahawks vice president of football operations Scott Fitterer. All conducted in-person interviews Tuesday or Wednesday.

A hiring decision from Carolina is expected later this week.

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