Local Football Bloggers
The Ravens have long awaited the return of Ray Lewis. And while it seems that he’s finally healthy enough to play, Baltimore has decided to wait one more week before starting the future hall of famer. The Ravens will most likely take the same approach with a few other players that are dealing with nagging injuries as they approach the final game of the regular season.
The Ravens aren’t playing for a playoff spot; they earned that last week against the New York Giants. Baltimore will enter a hostile Cincinnati environment with the goal of building momentum. Against a division rival on the road, that can be a daunting task, and facing off against a player like A.J. Green doesn’t make things any easier.
The Ravens clinched the division last week and have all but been given a pass for their upcoming game against Cincinnati. No one would blame Baltimore if they decided to rest their players in preparation for the postseason, but coach John Harbaugh has instilled a winning culture in Baltimore and have made it clear that they are in it to win it on Sunday.
The Ravens are back-to-back AFC North Champions. They’ll play either Cincinnati or Indianapolis next week. With their home playoff game secured, many wonder if Baltimore should rest their starters to avoid further injury. But Harbaugh expects to keep the foot on the gas as he looks to sweep Cincinnati for the second straight year.
Many had written off this team prior to this contest. If they were making the playoffs, it would be a short trip for the injured team. But after embarrassing the defending Super Bowl Champions, the mood has changed for Ravens fans. Baltimore showed that when given the opportunity, they can put up points in bunches. And as the defense get’s healthier, they have the scheme in place to shut an offense down.
Some questioned his ability to play. Many believed he was done. But none can overvalue what he means for the Ravens’ defense. And with the defense at its lowest point, it appears Baltimore will get Ray Lewis back when they need him the most.
The Ravens haven’t been fans of running the football this year. And it has cost them a great deal. But if the Ravens want to clinch the AFC North title for the second straight year, they’ll have to do it with the help of Ray Rice. The Giants have struggled stopping the run. If they are forced to do so, it could be a long day for New York
The Ravens goals are right in front of them. Defeat the Giants and win the division. The division title secures at least one home playoff game. A huge advantage for a team that struggles on the road. But with injuries mounting and inept play from their offense, a victory is not guaranteed. If Baltimore is to make any impact on the post-season, they’ll need to snap their losing streak against New York in their home finale.
Many fans and analysts have already packed it in for the Ravens. The defense is beat up. The offense lacking an identity. But the Ravens will play the game all the same, just in case they’re wrong. Teams have done it before; teams have defied the odds. And Harbaugh firmly believes this team is no different.
The Ravens have always been a bit spoiled. For the most part, their defense has always been top notch. They are a perennial playoff team with five straight trips to the postseason, and since 2006, they’ve possessed on of the best punters in the NFL, even if nobody seems to care. But with a struggling offense and a reeling defense, it’s been the special teams unit that has saved the day. Something that fans and players alike are slowing beginning to notice.
The Baltimore Ravens suffer another loss, but his time the score wasn’t as close as in previous weeks. Manning controlled the tempo of the game from start to finish, putrid offensive showings coupled with giant miscues led to an embarrassing defeat at home, and the Ravens will need to improve fast if they are to have any chance of making an impact in the playoffs.
Many fully expect it, but none know for sure. The Ravens may be getting their most iconic figure in time for their game against the Denver Broncos. With playoff implications throughout this contest, it will be a huge boost if Baltimore can garner his services. But he isn’t the only Ravens player with questions regarding his availability for Sunday’s game.