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AP Pro32 ballot from Marvez

AP Pro32 ballot from Marvez

Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com:

Week 15

ALEX MARVEZ (Foxsports.com)

1. New England Patriots - Their record isn't as good, but a 42-14 thumping of Houston makes the Patriots the team to beat in the AFC.

2. Denver Broncos - A win Sunday at Baltimore would go a long way toward keeping Denver's hopes for a first-round playoff bye alive. The Broncos would lose head-to-head tiebreakers against Houston and New England because of early season losses.

3. San Francisco 49ers - It was the kind of physical victory that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh cherishes. San Francisco's rushing attack produced 117 second-half yards and wore down Miami's strong run defense in a 27-13 home victory.

4. Houston Texans - Put the letterman jackets back in the closet.

5. New York Giants - If a 52-27 rout of New Orleans is a true indicator, the Giants may be getting hot yet again at just the right time.

6. Atlanta Falcons - Maybe the Falcons will stop worrying about a lack of national media "respect" and earn it with performances better than the one they gave in Sunday's 30-20 loss to Carolina.

7. Green Bay Packers - Beware the Packers. Green Bay has won seven of its past eight games and is now getting Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson back from injuries at a critical stretch of the season.

8. Baltimore Ravens - Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had better hope the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron results in more points to cover for a defense ravaged by injuries.

9. Indianapolis Colts - Another close game, another Colts win.

10. Seattle Seahawks - The NFL's best home-field advantage this season was on display once again as the Seahawks waxed Arizona, 58-0.

11. Chicago Bears - Having lost four of their past five games, the Bears must get on track ASAP or risk missing the playoffs entirely. Unfortunately for Chicago, Green Bay is next on the schedule.

12. Washington Redskins - Can the Redskins win if rookie sensation Robert Griffin III is out Sunday against Cleveland? We'll find out if the quarterback isn't sufficiently healed from a sprained knee suffered last Sunday against Baltimore.

13. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals squandered too many opportunities for touchdowns in a 20-19 loss to Dallas.

14. Dallas Cowboys - Just like Kansas City the week before, Dallas showed impressive resiliency in the face of off-field tragedy with a comeback win in Cincinnati.

15. Minnesota Vikings - With the way he is running, Adrian Peterson may be able to carry the Vikings all the way into the playoffs while breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing mark of 2,105 yards.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers - A 34-24 home loss to what was a slumping San Diego squad could ultimately cost the Steelers a playoff berth.

17. St. Louis Rams - Thanks to a surging defense, the Rams remain alive in the playoff race.

18. New York Jets - The offense is painful to watch, but two straight wins have the Jets still in postseason contention.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Woeful pass defense is the biggest reason behind a three-game losing streak that has bumped the Buccaneers from being a legitimate playoff contender.

20. New Orleans Saints - An awful year for the franchise can't end soon enough now that the Saints (5-8) are basically out of the playoff picture.

21. Cleveland Browns - Although the Browns have won three straight games for the first time since late 2009, how Cleveland performs against Washington, Denver and Pittsburgh in the final three weeks will provide a better gauge of how far along the team's rebuilding process truly is.

22. San Diego Chargers - Norv Turner is almost certainly on his way out as Chargers coach, but a 34-24 upset of Pittsburgh proved his team hasn't stopped playing hard for him.

23. Buffalo Bills - Under coordinator Dave Wannstedt, the Bills have turned their season around defensively to become one of the league's top units over the past five games. That won't be good enough, though, to end a 13-year postseason drought with the Bills dropping to 5-8 following a 15-12 home loss to St. Louis.

24. Carolina Panthers - After struggling for half the season, Cam Newton has played as well as any quarterback over the past three games. However, it's too little too late with the Panthers at 4-9.

25. Miami Dolphins - Miami's offense continues to regress with a 27-13 loss to San Francisco marking the eighth time the Dolphins failed to gain 300 yards.

26. Detroit Lions - On the bright side for one of the NFL's most disappointing teams, Detroit's five-game losing streak should end Sunday against a team that has dropped nine straight contests - Arizona.

27. Tennessee Titans - The latest way for the Titans to fall - getting outscored 20-3 in the second half of a 27-23 loss at Indianapolis.

28. Philadelphia Eagles - With a 381-yard passing performance and the game-winning touchdown toss as time expired, Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles staked his claim for the starting job entering 2013 in last Sunday's 23-21 win at Tampa Bay.

29. Oakland Raiders - As a six-game losing streak grows, it becomes harder each week to find something the Raiders are doing well.

30. Arizona Cardinals - Freshly claimed Brian Hoyer can't do any worse at quarterback than the two schmoes Arizona fielded in last Sunday's 58-0 blanking in Seattle.

31. Kansas City Chiefs - After an 80-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles on the first play from scrimmage, Kansas City went scoreless for the final 59:48 in a 30-7 loss at Cleveland.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars - Over the past six games, the Jaguars have surrendered an average of 157.3 yards rushing while producing just 76.7 yards on the ground offensively. Not surprisingly, Jacksonville is 1-5 in that stretch following last Sunday's 17-10 loss to the New York Jets.

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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.