By Samuel Njoku
The theme for the Ravens’ 2012 season boils down to one word: Injuries. Baltimore has dealt with a large amount of injuries that have completely changed the outlook of the team. Hopes are that the team will get healthy in time for the playoffs, but time is running out. If the Ravens want to clinch an AFC North title, they’ll need to handle business against the New York Giants.
Ray Lewis set to return
It won’t become official until sometime around 4 p.m. on Saturday, but it appears as though Ray Lewis will play against the New York Giants. Lewis has practiced for over two weeks, but the team has not given the media any details about his progress. A lot of that has to do with Lewis’ IR designation. Lewis is technically still on injured reserve and thus has not been placed on the injury report. His presence on the field can not be overstated. Not only will his leadership be missed, but his contributions from a football standpoint are tremendous. The loss of Jameel McClain has left a huge hole at the inside linebacker position. He’ll be able to fill that void immediately. His play recognition and his experience in lining his teammates up on any given down are critical. The defense will definitely be happy to see “52” back in action on Sunday.
Bernard Pollard, S, (chest): Doubtful
The Ravens secondary has been poor for most of the season. The loss of Pollard hasn’t helped things either. It looks as if Pollard will miss his second straight game after re-aggravating a chest injury he suffered at the beginning of the season. With Eli Manning coming into town, it’ll be another weakness he’ll be looking to exploit. Bernard spoke to reporters this week and gave his thoughts on the injury.
We’ll see,” Pollard said. “I don’t complain man. I’m just going to go play some ball and I’m going to do everything I can to be out there with my boys, and we’ll see.”
Doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement from the hard hitting safety. Expect him to sit this one out.
Torrey Smith, WR, (head): Questionable
Torrey Smith suffered a concussion last week against the Denver Broncos. He has yet to be cleared for contact which leaves his availability for Sunday’s game in doubt. Smith has had a stellar sophomore season and has quickly become Baltimore’s big play receiver. If he is unable to play, expect Jacoby Jones to take over in his place.
Marshall Yanda, G, (ankle): Questionable
Yanda is known around the league as one of the tougher lineman on the Ravens roster. If there is any chance for him to play, he’ll suit up against the Giants. The fact that he didn’t play against Denver showed many how serious the injury really was. Bobbie Williams played in his place last week and struggled against the Broncos front seven. If Flacco wants to take advantage of the Giants porous defense, he’ll need more time in the pocket. It is unclear whether Yanda will play on Sunday but he appears to be a game-time decision.
Dannell Ellerbe, LB, (ankle): Questionable
Ellerbe has missed three straight games since injuring his ankle against Pittsburgh. He practiced this week in a limited capacity but hopes to play Sunday against New York.
“I feel like my ankle is getting better,” Ellerbe told reporters. “It’s still going to be a game-time decision, but I’m hopeful. I got faith that I’ll be healed enough to play and help out the team.”
Ed Dickson, TE, (knee): Probable
The Ravens will most likely retain the services of Ed Dickson this Sunday. That’ll be a huge boost for an offense that is at its best when running a 2-TE set. Though Dennis Pitta is Flacco’s favorite target, Dickson creates huge match-up problems for the defense. His return to the football field will pay immediate dividends for the offense.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Ravens news, see CBS Sports Baltimore.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.