Vol 1. No. 25.Baltimore, MD  Thu April 24th 2014GIVING YOU THE NEWS THE MSM IGNORES 
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Hardy, Wieters return to Orioles lineup
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy and catcher Matt Wieters returned to the lineup on Wednesday night after the pair was sidelined with minor injuries sustained over the weekend in Boston.

Bundy, Machado continuing to make progress
Orioles top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy threw eight curveballs in Wednesdays bullpen, the first time he's thrown that pitch since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.

Norris looks to keep Orioles rolling in finale
Drew Hutchison and Bud Norris will be opposing starters for the second time this season when the Blue Jays host the Orioles at Rogers Centre on Thursday at 7:07 p.m. ET.

Cruz belts two homers as Orioles win slugfest
Nelson Cruz homered twice, including his seventh career grand slam as part of a six-run fifth inning that helped catapult the Orioles past the Blue Jays, 10-8, on Wednesday night.

Initiatives keep Camden Yards eco-friendly
The Orioles were in Toronto for Earth Day Tuesday, but Baltimore has a slew of green initiatives that help keep Camden Yards eco-friendly.

Rulings upheld in sex abuse cases against Dundalk man who voiced Elmo
Kevin Clash, who resigned as Elmo's voice amid scandal, is from Dundalk

The U.S. Court of Appeals in March upheld a judge's decision last summer to dismiss three sexual abuse cases against Kevin Clash, the Dundalk native who served as the voice of Sesame Street's "Elmo" puppet.








Gansler sharpens attacks on Brown
Democrats spar over health care, veterans and BRAC in contentious race for governor

Democrat Douglas F. Gansler sharpened his public attacks against rival Anthony G. Brown, charging Wednesday that his chief political opponent "did absolutely nothing" during his tenure as lieutenant governor and failed at the two main tasks he was given.








Scores turn out to mourn teenagers, decry persistent violence in Baltimore
Three teenagers have been killed in the past 10 days in the city

From Cherry Hill to a West Side high school a few miles away, scores of families and friends turned out Wednesday night to mourn teenagers killed in recent days, and to decry persistent violence in the city.








Community college applicant alleges he was rejected because of religious beliefs
Lawsuit says Community College of Baltimore County official told him to leave beliefs out of interview

A prospective student at the Community College of Baltimore County sued school officials in federal court this week, contending that he was denied admission to an academic program based on an expression of his religious beliefs.








Michael Phelps says he's 'having fun' as he returns to the pool this week
18-time gold medalist to swim 100-meter butterfly in Mesa Grand Prix on Thursday

MESA, ARIZ. — Michael Phelps couldn’t say it enough times, even joking that he would bore questioners with his repetitive explanation for returning to competitive swimming.







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Perhaps the best part of blogging or the internet in general is the occasional discovery of something unexpected.Over on Baltimore Reporter and Conservative Thoughts is a great and thought provoking article by Robert Farrow.I hope you will follow this link and read this great post.

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8/22/2011

Gallup Shock: Romney Tops Obama, Perry Ties; Bachmann & Ron Paul Close-ish John Ziegler: Having Failed To Embrace Pawlenty, Romney Is the Party’s Only Hope of Defeating Obama
Filed under: — Robert Farrow @ 10:48 pm

—Ace

In the original post, I said I hoped that Perry would grow on the public to the extent he’d match most of Romney’s appeal.

This poll suggests he might.

Romney v. Obama: 48-46; Perry v. Obama: 47-47; Ron Paul v. Obama 45-47; Bachmann v. Obama 44-48.

To some extent, but only some, this rebuts Ziegler’s main point that Obama is still the candidate favored to win and that we must focus almost exclusively on electability.

But, as you can see from the numbers, Obama is not a “sure loser” as has become the fashionable belief among many conservatives. Our best candidate (at the moment) only beats him by a pipsqueak two points, and our best candidate (in the future, I believe) merely ties him.

One guy’s opinion, of course, but I’m a numbers guy, and the numerical case for Romney is strong.

Romney isn’t my guy. Perry is. (And before Perry, Pawlenty.) My belief — or hope, I guess — is that part of Romney’s appeal is that he is familiar to independents and Republican leaners, and therefore not “scary” or otherwise objectionable. And that Perry might be able to similarly become familiar to such voters, and also neither scary nor objectionable.

But that is a hope, only. At the current moment, it is true, as Ziegler says, that Romney is the strongest candidate, at least by the numbers.

Ziegler begins by castigating Republicans into thinking Obama is an almost certain loser, a belief which is then taken by us to mean we have a free hand in putting notions of “electability” firmly out of mind and simply indulging in a hunt to find the fieriest, most implacable foe of liberalism. The long opening of his long, long essay is a refutation of the idea that Obama is a sure loser. He is vulnerable, but only against a candidate that the majority of the country finds unobjectionable and well-qualified.

That’s the reason he supported Pawlenty (and my reasons as well).

But the party refused to consider Pawlently’s on-paper electability. (I should say here that “on paper” is not equal to “real world,” and the party was perhaps wise in deciding that while Pawlenty looked good on paper, he didn’t seem as appealing on the stump or on the stage.)

Which leaves… Romney.

When exactly did Republicans seemingly become so delusional? The first sign that the GOP base had left the gravitational pull of the rational earth in the Obama era was when professional blowhard Donald Trump shot to the top of the presidential polls on the strength of his bogus birth certificate crusade. Fortunately, that particular problem took care of itself (at least for now), but the overall situation may have actually gotten worse. The most troubling part is that the vast majority of the party’s rank and file seems to have no idea the peril its prospects of unseating President Obama are really in.

There is no doubt that Obama is very vulnerable, far more so than most observers (including me) believed likely when he was swept into office by a tidal wave of biased media coverage less than three years ago. His approval ratings are in the low forties, and in many of the battleground states he appears to be a heavy underdog. The census-induced changes in the Electoral College slice his margin of error to almost nothing, and the economy shows very little sign of improving enough to rescue him. He has also left a trail of damningly false televised statements which should make for great attack ad fodder.

And yet the Republican Party appears on the verge of making Obama’s reelection about as likely as the circumstances surrounding his presidency would make possible. Consequently, this golden opportunity to help the country largely dodge the Obama bullet is on the verge of being squandered.

While the vast majority of conservatives (including many prominent commentators) would find that notion laughable, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that, thanks largely to their predilection for seeing reality through overly optimistic and star-spangled glasses, they are dangerously out of touch.

The first misunderstanding that has led to this dangerous case of Republican hubris is the nature of the polling data. When the average conservative thirsting to see Obama be a one-termer hears that his “approval rating” is in the low forties (or even lower) they seem to think this means that almost sixty percent of the voting public has decided that they are unlikely to vote for him next year, but this is far from the truth.

Plenty of people have no problem saying now that they “disapprove” of a president in 2011 and still decide not to vote him out of office in 2012. In fact, saying they “disapprove” of the president’s job performance doesn’t even mean that they want him replaced at the instant they are asked.

The best way to think of this may be to consider the president as the national spouse. Plenty of wives may say at any given moment (especially when the honeymoon is long over and things seem to be going poorly) that they “disapprove” of the job that their husband is doing, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily going to leave him for someone else, particularly when there is no other specific option available at the time.

Another red herring in the political data is the “Obama vs. Generic Republican” number, which could not be more deceiving. Currently, Obama regularly loses nationally to this fictitious candidate, but if anything, these numbers show just how unlikely it really is that he will actually be defeated. When a poll respondent processes that question they conjure up the image of Republican who has no major blemishes and has yet to have their entire careers picked apart by a media all too eager to destroy them.


Currently, despite all of his recent problems, no named candidate comes close to beating Obama in an actual head to head matchup except Mitt Romney.

Of course, none of the leading or even potential Republican candidates comes close to fitting the ‘generic” description either. Ironically, the one candidate who came by far the closest, Tim Pawlenty, ended up, through little fault of his own, being the very first to be knocked out of the race.

The early demise of the Pawlenty campaign tells you everything you need to know about how this delusion/ignorance regarding political realities is stunting the Republican nominating process in a way Obama should only be able to dream about. Pawlenty was the one candidate who clearly would have made the election an unambiguous referendum on Obama. That is a battle which, even with the media on his side, the president cannot win unless the economy makes an unexpected recovery.

Pawlenty’s campaign was doomed by some of the very qualities which made it so attractive to those who understand how a national presidential election works in the modern age. He was seen as “boring” by a Republican electorate that is clearly looking to be highly stimulated. But in his case ‘boring” also meant “electable.”

Ziegler is very down on Perry, for the reasons people typically say they’re down on Perry: He’s too similar to Bush; as a Texan (and a born and bred one, unlike Bush), he won’t play in the swing states of the mideast, which will be inclined against him for reasons of cultural animus; and he tends to say “scary” things which gladden Tea Partiers but turn off the middle, which wants a correction to Obama, and not an equal-but-opposite Revolution, with the nation now veering hard to the right after veering hard to the left just three years ago.

I keep thinking that this stuff is first-blush resistance and will not persist. If the country found the culture of Texas to be palatable in 2000 and 2004, why would they suddenly find Texas to be a barbaric rowdy-land with any citizen of that state culturally and politically suspect?

Due to Bush, I suppose, but this chain of thought relies on the proposition that the public literally cannot tell one man from another, and will think that Perry pretty much is George Bush, a proposition I find sort of daffy.

As for fiery rhetoric — well, you need some of that. And, for good or for ill, Perry is in fact suddenly not quite so down on Social Security as he was a couple of years ago.

But I do take Ziegler’s point. In a recent poll, Romney edges Obama by one in Florida while Perry loses by five. Should that situation persist into 2012, then I’ll have to revisit my own assumptions about Perry’s electability, and take a second look at Romney.

Ziegler thinks Palin will run, by the way, but for reasons Palin supporters will sharply diagree with:

I continue to believe that Sarah Palin has no choice but to get in the race. While I am no longer in contact with her or her team after I came out against her running, everything I observed from the “inside” indicated to me that she was very open to running and nothing since then has changed my mind about that.

Her brand depends on her running because if she doesn’t, her followers will feel let down and she will have no apparent next act. Once there are two new nominees on the 2012 ticket, she is old news with no office to change her narrative. By 2016 she would be ancient history with either a Republican president in office or with a brand new crop of highly qualified challengers ready to pounce on what should be the slam dunk of replacing a term-limited Obama.

My prediction is that she gets in and runs almost exclusively an air war intended to create the appearance of a real primary campaign without any of the hassles. She knows that her vote is pretty much set in stone and it won’t be impacted much, if at all, by creating a traditional organization. If she is as smart as I think she is, her goal would be to exceed low expectations and finish a respectable second to Romney and thus use the campaign to change minds about her for the future. In a sense, she would then become a hybrid of Romney and Mike Huckabee after 2008: technically “unemployed” but well known and respected enough to sustain her viability into the future.

If things break her way, she could end up as the last Tea Party Star standing up against Romney (not counting Ron Paul) and it would be possible that Romney would not be popular enough with the base to reach the vote threshold needed to put her away. Still, she could not beat Romney in a protracted battle because, as Obama proved in 2008, winning a delegate battle is still all about organization, an area when Romney would dominate Palin, who frankly may not even want to actually win the nomination.

On that point — Sarah Palin’s plans — “sources” close to her say that the September 3rd rally is “unlikely” to be an announcement. And might be more of a “campaign test,” as Ed Morrissey calls it.

The event will pose a significant test for Singleton and the rest of the all-volunteer army of Palin devotees who have for months been quietly paving the way for a presidential run that would be fueled by a dedicated core of political novices.

I have suggested myself recently that Palin is honest when she says she’s still making up her mind, and that these various campaign-like events are a vehicle for stoking interest and gauging interest; presumably, if she finds a strong demand that she run, that will prompt her to do so.

On the other hand, there are the numbers. From Rasmussen, which is not a Democratic polling firm:

If Election Day was right now, President Obama would defeat the former Alaska governor 50% to 33%, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. This marks the first time that the president has risen out of the 40s in hypothetical matchups with any of the major GOP presidential hopefuls….

Last month, Obama posted a 47% to 38% lead over Palin, the GOP’s unsuccessful vice presidential candidate in 2008.

Palin earns support from 62% of Republicans, while 88% of Democrats back the president. Voters not affiliated with either party prefer Obama by a 51% to 30% margin.

Obama holds a narrow 44% to 38% lead over Palin among male voters, but women prefer the incumbent by a sizable 56% to 29% margin.

I continue to not understand how committed Palin supporters simply discount numbers like this, as if we’re just making this shit up to spite them. Or how public attitudes towards Palin will shift dramatically in the next year, despite these attitudes being persistent for almost three years now.

I don’t get the plan here — will she start saying different things? Or saying them in a different way? If she did, wouldn’t she be a different candidate, and hence not the Sarah Palin currently being urged to run?

What is the mechanism proposed by which such dreadful general election numbers will reverse themselves in a year?

I really do get the feeling this has become faith-based. Not truly religious, mind you, but based at heart on faith that Palin will be able to fix all this “once she decides to run” despite the strong evidence that during the past three years of partially running for President she’s made no progress whatsoever in improving her public standing, and in fact has seen further erosions of support.

This is why these arguments over Palin get so heated, I think. At heart, her supporters wish the non-supporters to have faith in her, and we simply don’t.

As I’ve said ad nauseam, if political strategy were capable of reversing years of public disregard of Sarah Palin, surely we would see that strategy already in motion, and already bearing fruit.

I just can’t buy into this idea that I’m to have “faith” that she has a “secret plan” which for unexplained reasons must wait another several months for implementation, and could not have been executed in 2009 or 2010.

There is no secret plan. There is no trap about to be sprung, there is no brilliant strategy about to be executed.

Again, if there were, there is no earthly reason it couldn’t have gone into effect a year or two years ago.

The Secret Brilliance of Her Resignation: When Palin resigned, I said she had essentially foreclosed any possibility of seeking the presidency.

But a lot of people disagreed, sharply. An idea percolated on the right of the blogosphere that she had brilliantly “changed the game,” that she had “shot the hostage” (a reference to a gambit in the action movie Speed) and that, by forfeiting her office, she had in fact elevated her chances of becoming president, now able to preside over national issues without being bothered with lawsuits and the the daily routine of governance.

I said this theory was all wet at the time. I was called a RINO, asshole, etc. for saying so.

Well, not to rub too much salt in this particular wound, but I was right.

The “game” was not “changed,” and the “hostage” might have been “shot,” but so was Palin’s status as a top-tier presidential prospect.

But this seems simply ignored, and those who insisted that the resignation was a Machievellian masterstroke now invite skeptics to join them in believing in a new plan — this one, secret — which will do for Palin what the resignation was supposed to.

That a resignation would be regarded as a good move for a presidential prospect was always daffy wishcasting.

At some point, results and empirical data must mean something. Palin was predicted by many to have “changed the game” and become the front-runner for 2012 in mid-2009. It’s now 2011, and her position has eroded still further, but predictions continue to be made that this time the ducks are all in a row and she’s ready to take off.

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2014 NFL schedule: Steelers, Cowboys, Colts dominate lineup on Sunday and Monday night (Shutdown Corner)
The NFL has a lot of television network partners to keep happy, and that job got more difficult when CBS was given a package of Thursday night games this season. The league for years used "Monday Night Football" to show its highlight game each week, but when NBC landed "Sunday Night Football" and ESPN went to Monday night, the league puts its best games on Sunday night. This year NFL needs to make sure CBS and FOX were happy with their regular Sunday schedules, give CBS some good games for Thursday night, and still make "Sunday Night Football" and "Monday Night Football" must-watch events. That's not easy. [Click here to see the full 2014 NFL schedule] The NFL placated NBC and ESPN this week, a day before the schedule was released. ESPN was given a wild-card playoff game. A divisional playoff game was added to NBC's schedule through 2022. That move made it seem like the Monday and Sunday night schedule in 2014 might be watered down a bit. Shutdown Corner's Anwar Richardson and Frank Schwab will take a look at the Sunday and Monday night games, week by week, and see how entertaining the prime-time schedule will be this season: WEEK 1 Sunday: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Monday: N.Y. Giants at Detroit Lions; San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals Frank’s take: Very nice Sunday night game. The Giants have improved and the Lions are entertaining. I wouldn't have thought this a year ago, but Chargers-Cardinals isn't bad at all for the second part of the doubleheader. Anwar’s take: NFL fans have been craving football for months. It really does not matter what games are rolled out on in Week 1. We will watch every minute of each game. Verdict: Stay up, call in sick on Monday ... and then again on Tuesday. WEEK 2 Sunday: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers Monday: Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts Frank’s take:  That Sunday game is interesting; pretty good test for Marc Trestman's Bears offense. And two up-and-coming teams on Monday night. Two thumbs up. Anwar’s take: Nick Foles vs. Andrew Luck? First team to 50 points wins. Do not go to bed early. Verdict: The boss may be getting upset, but it's time to call in sick on Monday and Tuesday again because you're staying up late for these games. WEEK 3 Sunday: Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers Monday: Chicago Bears at N.J. Jets Frank’s take:  Always fun to watch Cam Newton. Not as fun to watch Geno Smith. Anwar’s take: Make sure you soak up all of the offense in Week 2 because these matchups are all about defense. First team to 21 points wins. Verdict: Catch up on your sleep, get to work early, assuming you still have that job.

2014 NFL season to open with Seahawks-Packers (The SportsXchange)
The 2014 NFL season will kick off Sept. 4 in Seattle, where the Super Bowl champion Seahawks will be honored before the boisterous 12th Man in the regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers. A full schedule for the upcoming season -- which begins in a mere five months -- was announced by the league in a prime-time release show aired on NFL Network. More than two weeks before the NFL Draft is held May 8, rosters are far from set, but the subplots and storylines for the season ahead are coming together. The first Thursday in September in Seattle will be momentous, and for those who thought there was not enough gore in Super Bowl XLVI, Denver hits Seattle on Sept. 21.

2014 NFL schedule: League's deal with CBS leads to better Thursday night games (Shutdown Corner)
"Thursday Night Football" has traditionally been similar to holding out a cup of water for a marathon runner – they are desperate for anything to quench their thirst. The NFL knows its fans are desperate for football, and mediocre primetime matchups were traditionally scheduled on Thursday night. It is usually the one time of year struggling teams like Jacksonville, Buffalo, Oakland and St. Louis can enjoy the national spotlight. The league must have figured it's football, and you're going to watch no matter who is playing. [Click here to see the full 2014 NFL schedule] However, that changed a bit this year after the NFL partnered with CBS to produce and televise seven games on Thursdays over the first half of the season. The NFL Network, which will simulcast the CBS Thursday games, will have seven late-season Thursday games all to itself. Also, two late-season games take place on Saturday, and this year’s schedule is banking on division rivalries to add more spice to the lineup. Green Bay will kick off the season on the road against Seattle on Sept. 4 in Week 1. That game will be televised on NBC with the Seahawks opening defense of their Super Bowl title against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. While the Thursday opener has long featured the defending champion, the ensuing slate of Thursday games had been hit and miss. However, that slate has been upgraded. Pittsburgh will play on the road against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 11 in Week 2. Baltimore was forced to play its first game of last season on the road against Denver after a Super Bowl victory, but the Ravens were given two consecutive home games to start this season. Most NFL coaches don't like playing a divisional game early in the season, but Pittsburgh and Baltimore will kick off its AFC North rivalry after one regular-season game. Green Bay’s home game against the Vikings in Week 5 marks the first week a team from last year’s playoffs appears on CBS' Thursday night slate. The last matchup between Green Bay and Minnesota at Lambeau Field in Week 12 in 2013 ended in a tie (26-26). New England will host the New York Jets in Week 7, which should feature a battle of Tom Brady against Geno Smith or Michael Vick. New York is expected to determine its starter during the preseason as coach Rex Ryan faces a do-or-die season. If Ryan’s team starts off slow, this game could determine his future in New York. CBS’ final Thursday game is San Diego at Denver in Week 8, another division rivalry that's also a rematch of last year’s AFC playoff game. Every one of CBS' Thursday games is a divisional game. The NFL Network takes over with New Orleans at Carolina in Week 9, followed by a slew of games with marginal interest. The most interesting game (right now) is Dallas visiting the Chicago Bears on Dec. 4. Dallas is notorious for its annual collapse in December, and if that occurs again, it could signal the end of coach Jason Garrett’s tenure with the Cowboys. In the past few years, if fans have turned on "Thursday Night Football" it was generally just because any game was on, even though the matchup usually wasn't good. This year's Thursday schedule isn't great, but it's certainly better than it has been. Here is the Thursday schedule: Week 1, Sept. 4 (NBC): Green Bay at Seattle Week 2, Sept. 11 (CBS, NFLN): Pittsburgh at Baltimore Week 3, Sept. 18 (CBS, NFLN): Tampa Bay at Atlanta Week 4, Sept. 25 (CBS, NFLN): N.Y. Giants at Washington Week 5, Oct. 2 (CBS, NFLN): Minnesota at Green Bay Week 6, Oct. 9 (CBS, NFLN): Indianapolis at Houston Week 7, Oct. 16 (CBS, NFLN): N.Y. Jets at New England Week 8, Oct. 23 (CBS, NFLN): San Diego at Denver Week 9, Oct. 30 (NFLN): New Orleans at Carolina Week 10, Nov. 6 (NFLN): Cleveland at Cincinnati Week 11, Nov. 13 (NFLN): Buffalo at Miami Week 12, Nov. 20 (NFLN): Kansas City at Oakland Week 13, Nov. 27 (CBS): Bears at Lions; Eagles at Cowboys (Fox); Seahawks at 49ers (NBC) Week 14, Dec. 4 (NFLN): Dallas at Chicago Week 15, Dec. 11 (NFLN): Arizona at St. Louis Week 16, Dec. 18 (NFLN): Tennessee at Jacksonville - - - - - - - Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @AnwarRichardson

2014 NFL Schedule (The SportsXchange)
Games grouped by start times and listed alphabetically by home team. Listed times are local followed by Eastern.

2014 NFL schedule: What are the best games each week of the season? (Shutdown Corner)
People get jacked for the release of the NFL schedule. So do we. And though lots will change — even before we get to training camp — there are some definite must-see games on the schedule. Our challenge? Narrowing it down to one key one per week. [Click here to see the full 2014 NFL schedule] Here goes nothing: Week 1 Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks C'mon. It's the season opener. Even with quality games elsewhere on the schedule — including Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos playing host to his former team, the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night — you can't go away from this one. Props to the NFL for pitting the Seahawks and Packers, combatants in one of the league's most controversial games in recent seasons, and not backing down from that talk. That's uncharacteristic of the league. Week 2 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens The NFL wasn't going to give CBS, which paid a fortune for the Thursday night package, a dud game. Sure, maybe this hasn't been the epic rivalry it was, say, four to five years ago, but there is no love lost between these two hard-nosed clubs. There's no added or especial juice to the rivalry this time around, just your garden-variety hatred — and a solid contempt between two talented teams that should compete for the AFC North crown. Week 3 Broncos at Seahawks  Look, we easily could have picked DeSean Jackson and his new Washington Redskins team heading up to face his former club, the Philadelphia Eagles. But who moves the needle more than Manning and a Super Bowl rematch in Seattle? The question on everyone's minds: If it was 43-8 Seahawks on a neutral field, what will it be with the 12th Man in the house? What could make it more interesting are Denver's defensive additions, led by DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. The Broncos will be seeking whatever revenge can be gained from a regular-season game, and the Seahawks will seek to pummel them once again. Fun stuff. Week 4 Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears A rematch of the NFC North-deciding game in Week 17 at Soldier Field, but Bears-Packers always carries special weight. Both teams will be in the running for a division crown once more, and there's an interesting plot twist to the rivalry: Julius Peppers, once a plum free-agent signing of the Bears, now comes in as a visiting member of the Packers. But it's a loaded week, with a slate that includes Steve Smith's Ravens facing his former Carolina Panthers team in Baltimore, an excellent matchup fo the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles and several other quality matchups. Week 5 Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers In something of a blah week on paper, we think Alex Smith's return to San Francisco is an interesting story. With talk of the Chiefs wanting to extend Smith long-term, and Colin Kaepernick perhaps a year from hitting the market, it stirs talk of Jim Harbaugh's decision to trade Smith for a pair of draft picks, including a second-rounder in a few weeks. Smith flourished his first season in K.C., and Kaepernick almost led the 49ers to a second straight Super Bowl. Beyond that, this should be a solid game of teams that won 11 and 12 games, respectively, a year ago.
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