Ravens

A Ravens logo is painted in the grass on Federal Hill as Baltimore gets ready for Sunday's wild-card playoff game. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / January 4, 2013)

WEATHER: Sunny, with sub-freezing wind chill and gusts up to 20-25 mph.

TRAFFIC: Check our traffic updates for this morning's issues.

TOP NEWS

Flu season arrives early, hits harder than usual: Area hospitals are coping with a surge of patients with achy bodies, fevers and sore throats, as one doctor said the pieces are in place for one of the worst influenza seasons in recent years.

10-year-old struck in New Year's celebratory shooting dies: After two days on life support, Aaliyah Boyer was pronounced dead Thursday at a Delaware hospital. The 10-year-old was struck in the head by a falling bullet someone apparently fired into the air while celebrating the New Year.

School construction money tops city's priorities for Assembly session: An ambitious plan to secure tens of millions of dollars in state funding to fix Baltimore's dilapidated school buildings is the top priority for city officials in the General Assembly session that begins next week.

Man convicted of murdering old friend he found on Facebook: Kenneth Todd Brunetti and Lois Jean Vance Smyth rekindled a high school friendship after finding each other on Facebook two years ago. Just a few months later, Brunetti shot Smyth in the head and left her for dead in Leakin Park.

Malala, Pakistani girl shot by Taliban, leaves hospital:  Malala Yousufzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, has been discharged from a British hospital but is due to be re-admitted in late January or early February.

RAVENS WEEKEND

After Joe Flacco's erratic fifth season, the Ravens are hoping Flacco recaptures his form from last January at Gillette Stadium.

PREDICTIONS: Our writers and columnists make their predictions for Sunday's wild card game between the Ravens and the Colts.

RAY LEWIS: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed confidence that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will remain involved with the league long after he retires, saying that he'd continue to use Lewis as a sounding board on certain issues.

FANS: As the Ravens and the Redskins head into playoff games this weekend, even after Washington and Baltimore tasted similar glory in baseball, for the region's fans, chests are puffed, hearts swelling, eyes shining.

Read more sports coverage.

TRENDING

Z on TV: Through buying Current TV, Al Jazeera has found a way into an estimated 40 million American homes, and that is a good thing – a very good thing.

Read more arts and entertainment coverage.