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AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Bob Glauber of Newsday:

Week 12

BOB GLAUBER (Newsday)

1. Houston Texans - When your defense isn't at its best, nice to have

Matt Schaub save the day with five TD passes, including the

game-winner in OT of a surprisingly difficult win over the Jaguars.

Not gonna penalize Texans on style points. Bottom line: They got it

done.

2. Atlanta Falcons - Too soon to call it a slump. But a week after

losing a battle against Drew Brees, Matt Ryan throws a career-high

five INTs as Atlanta narrowly holds off Arizona. If he doesn't get

back on track quickly, then there's a problem. A big problem.

3. San Francisco 49ers - You don't often see a quarterback controversy

on a winning team, but the 49ers sure seem to have one. Who's it going

to be, Jim Harbaugh? Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith? Either way, looks

like Kaepernick has a terrific future.

4. Green Bay Packers - Nothing pretty except the final result, as the

Packers outlast the Lions in Detroit to continue their domination over

their NFC North rivals.

5. Baltimore Ravens - Another ugly win for another highly regarded

team. But when you beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, who cares how it

looks? Ravens now in firm control in AFC North.

6. Denver Broncos - Three more TDs for Peyton Manning and three more

sacks for Von Miller add up to a convincing win over San Diego. Looks

like Denver will cruise to the divisional title and perhaps even a

trip to New Orleans in February.

7. New England Patriots - Blowout win over the Colts is great, but

losing Rob Gronkowski to a broken forearm takes away Tom Brady's

biggest offensive weapon. Pats won't be the same without him.

8. Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler can't get back soon enough, but it's the

defensive meltdown in San Francisco that should have Lovie Smith just

as concerned.

9. New York Giants - Giants return from bye rested and ready, but the

schedule is a killer down the stretch. It starts with Green Bay at

home on Sunday night and includes games against New Orleans, Baltimore

and Atlanta. That one-game lead over Dallas looks mighty tenuous.

10. New Orleans Saints - Hottest team in the league? Could be. Saints

roll to their fifth win in the last six games and are right in the

thick of NFC wild card race. Would be an incredible feat if they get

there after overcoming 0-4 start.

11. Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks return from bye to face reeling Miami.

Can't afford a misstep here, not when Seattle is still very much in

the thick of it in the divisional and wild card races.

12. Dallas Cowboys - Just when it looks like the Cowboys will go

kerplunk - i.e. lose at home to the awful Browns - they pull off a

dramatic comeback and remain a factor. Only one game behind the

slumping Giants, and this thing can change in a hurry.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Another terrific comeback effort from Josh

Freeman in a road win over the Panthers. Statement game now on tap for

Sunday: Falcons at Tampa.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers - With the quarterback situation a mess

because of injuries, it'll be Mike Tomlin's greatest coaching jobs if

he gets to the playoffs.

15. Indianapolis Colts - Mr. Luck, say hello to Mr. Brady. Carry on.

16. Minnesota Vikings - Vikings come off bye with chance to take a

huge step in the division. A win over Chicago, and they're in

business. Looks like they might have to face Jay Cutler, though. Not

easy with Bears in bounce-back mode after San Francisco embarrassment.

17. Cincinnati Bengals - Bengals follow up blowout of defending Super

Bowl champions with another excellent performance, even if the

competition was inferior. But hey, the Chiefs played well the week

before in Pittsburgh, so give credit to Cincy for not giving KC a

chance in this one.

18. Washington Redskins - RG3 has his way against the Eagles' reeling

defense. Still a ways to go in the playoff chase, but at least there's

a chance.

19. Tennessee Titans - Still in the hunt for a wild card, Tennessee is

on the road to face Jacksonville. A tougher task perhaps now that Chad

Henne gets his shot as the Jags' starter.

20. New York Jets - Just the way Rex likes to play: Run the ball, play

good defense, have the quarterback manage the game. The Jets did just

that to beat the Rams on the road. A win over New England at home on

Thanksgiving, and hope lives on.

21. Detroit Lions - It's just about over for the Lions. A Thanksgiving

Day loss to the Texans, and that could be it.

22. Buffalo Bills - Bills are still far from good, but they kept their

flickering playoff hopes alive by beating Miami at home in an ugly

one. Now let's see what they do at Indy in a virtual must-win

situation.

23. San Diego Chargers - Is Philip Rivers really a descending player?

The evidence is hard to ignore. Maybe a change of coaches next season

will signal an eventual rebirth. The Chargers can only hope.

24. Miami Dolphins - It wasn't long ago the Dolphins looked as if

they'd turned the corner. Now they look as if it's 2011 all over

again.

25. Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals haven't won since September. Really.

26. St. Louis Rams - So much for that. A week after the Rams tie the

mighty 49ers on the road, they come up small at home against the Jets.

Not the kind of payback former Jets offensive coordinator Brian

Schottenheimer was looking for.

27. Philadelphia Eagles - The offense is miserable. The defense is

worse. And Andy Reid's time is just about up in Philly. What a mess.

28. Cleveland Browns - Browns come close in Dallas, but can't finish

off the upset. Woulda shoulda coulda - the three words that have come

to symbolize the Browns since their return to Cleveland in 1999.

29. Carolina Panthers - Latest heartbreak for Panthers' fans: Watching

the home team blow a 21-10 fourth-quarter lead with 4:34 to play.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mike Mularkey hands the ball to Chad Henne

after a terrific performance in relief of Blaine Gabbert in Houston.

Let's see if it does the trick at home, where the Jaguars have been

embarrassingly bad.

31. Oakland Raiders - Will Dennis Allen be a one-and-done? Not like

the Raiders haven't pulled the plug early before. Let's see if Mark

Davis is like father Al when it comes to impatience with losing

coaches.

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Back to the basement for the Chiefs, who

follow up a gutty effort in an overtime loss in Pittsburgh with a

miserable showing at home against Cincy.

---

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Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

The NFL announced today that tight end Darren Waller of the Baltimore Ravens would be suspended for a year or longer for his second violation of the substance abuse policy.

Waller was a 2015 sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech who served a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season for a substance abuse violation. After returning from his suspension last year, he posted 10 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.

After his 2016 violation, he was quoted as saying [via Ravens.com]:

“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.”

Unfortunately for the Ravens, he will miss the 2017 season and potentially longer after the latest violation. It leaves the Ravens down two tight ends from last year after Dennis Pitta was released earlier this month after re-injuring his hip.

MORE RAVENS: Zach Orr considering coming out of retirement

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Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

In January of 2017, former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr took the podium at the team's training facility alongside head coach John Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, to announce he would be retiring from football at the age of 24.

Why? Orr suffered a shoulder injury during their week 16 game against longtime rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, which shed light into a condition he's had since birth.

He had a routine MRI, but the Ravens training staff suggested a full body CAT scan as well. The CAT scan reveled Orr had a congenital back/spine condition where one of the upper vertebra isn't totally formed causing there to be an opening. Less than 1 percent of people are born with such a condition and he wasn't aware of it until he suffered this injury.

Doctors told Orr he was at risk of paralysis or even death if he played with such a condition. He also would have never been able to pass an NFL physical, ultimately forcing him to retire.

During his press conference, Orr said this,

"If there's some miracle way where I can play the game, I promise I'd be the first one to grab my cleats again, start back training and try to find a way to get back out there," Orr said.

Well, fast forward to today and it seems that miracle may have happened.

NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo told Good Morning Football that after getting a second opinion from doctors, and receiving positive news, Orr is considering a return to the NFL.

"I had my mind made up. I was like man, the doctors told me I was done. This is a serious issue. So I'm going to leave it alone. But I just kept hearing that from multiple people and some were telling me to just go check out and seek out some more opinions and things like that and come to find out my condition, it is rare – .01 percent of the people have what I have – but there's no actual evidence or facts that I'm at a higher risk than any other player. And it's actually been documented that a college player who had the exact same thing that I have that returned to play with no problems."

The doctors' real concerns would be if someone with Orr's spinal condition played with a herniated disk. He did suffer from herniated disks last season, but that injury has since diminished. 

MORE RAVENS: 2017 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

If Orr does decide to get back into the NFL, getting signed could be pretty easy. 

When he announced his retirement, he never filed for retirement papers and the Ravens never placed him on their reserve/retired list because they never thought he would play again.

Because of this, Orr is considered an unrestricted free agent and can sign with a team right away. 

Orr had his best season in 2016, where he lead the Ravens in tackles with 133. It's been reported that eight teams have reached out to the linebacker since his announcement and that he will be meeting with the Lions on Thursday.