Embracing “winning ugly”

I’m a convert; winning ugly works for me

The best part of Sunday night’s victory over the Steelers was beating them in their own house. The second best thing was watching the Ravens walk off the field with Terrible Towels draped over their heads. The third was kissing good bye to the stupid bumble bee uniforms for another year. Talk about hard to look at….My eyes started to water looking at those uniforms. But, thankfully, the Ravens escaped Pittsburgh with a three-point win and a huge two-game lead in the AFC North.

The Ravens are, undoubtedly, the ugliest looking, 8-2, division-leading team in the league. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this is the way it’s going to be this year. Reliable and sometimes explosive at home, always ugly on the road, I’m thankful for all wins – no matter how we get them.

News and Notes from Around the League:

The Stock Market Report

Since the presidential election the stock market has been pretty volatile. But not the NFL team rankings. The cream always rises to the top and the bottom feeders are now looking at draft positions and potential head coaches.

Stock Up: The Top 5

1 – Houston Texans (9-1): They dodged a big bullet against the lowly Jaguars, but good teams always find a way to win.

2 – Atlanta Falcons (9-1): Matty Ice looked decidedly ordinary on Sunday, giving up 5 picks to the fading Cards. Atlanta is a shaky No. 2.

3 – San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1): A very complete team, now with a Jim Harbaugh-fueled quarterback controversy.

4 – New England Patriots (7-3): They are rapidly improving. They don’t lose in the 2nd half of the season. And they’re back to running up the score.

5 – Denver Broncos (7-3): Peyton Manning, surely Comeback Player of the Year and a potential league MVP, has all but locked up the AFC West for the Broncos.

Stock Down: The 5 Bottom Feeders

28 Philadelphia Eagles (3-7): About 15 months ago they were calling the Eagles the Dream Team. Now it’s the Nightmare on Broad Street.

29 Carolina Panthers (2-8): The magic of the Panthers of 2011 is a fading memory. Can’t pass, can’t block, can’t tackle, and can’t hold a lead.

30 Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9): The Jags put up a spirited fight on Sunday, with backup QB Chad Henne taking the Jags into overtime against best team in the league. Blaine Gabbert was put on injured reserve 3 days later. How convenient.

31 Oakland Raiders (3-7): I don’t care if they do have three wins – with one of them over the Steelers – this is a bad, bad team that mails it in on a weekly basis. Mike Brown must be laughing his ass off.

32 Kansas City Chiefs 1-9 (1-9): An undisciplined, untalented team coached by the Number 1 man on the chopping block. The Chiefs have even made the local obituaries. How did the Ravens become one botched quarterback sneak away from losing to this bunch?

Dead Men Walking Update: Coaches on the Chopping Block

1a Romeo Crennel, Kansas City. Nice guy. Able defensive coordinator. Lousy head coach. Soon to be unemployed.

1b Andy Reid, Philadelphia. In keeping with the holiday spirit, you can stick a big fork in big Andy. The Iggles have stopped listening to him and, more importantly, stopped playing for him.

1c Pat Shurmur, Cleveland. Like Romeo Crennel, Shurmur is living proof that some guys should never leave the coordinator’s position. At least his Browns play hard for him.

1d Norv Turner, San Diego. He’s had more coaching lives that a black cat but it appears his time has finally run out. But he will coach the Bolts this weekend against the Ravens…thankfully

5 Ron Rivera, Carolina. To compete in the ultra-competitive NFC South, the Panthers need some major changes on and off the field and he may be one of them.

This Week

The Spanos family has spared Norv Turner for another week. Norv has always been an accommodating host, although his Chargers put the wood on the Ravens last year by the tune of 34-14. The Ravens have to be careful because it’s an away game and the Bolts may make one more stand for Norv. We should be thankful that the NFL lifted Ed Reed’s one game suspension because Philip Rivers doesn’t need any help. This will not be a death struggle like last week, but a track meet. In a high scoring game, I look for Ray, Joe, and the gang to get the offense back on track. In a close one…..

Ravens 34, Chargers 33.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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