Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he’ll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.
RUNNING IT BACK
Quarterback Joe Flacco expressed confidence in himself Wednesday and about his chances of getting a new contract with the Ravens. ... Increased playing time is a possibility for offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, says Bryant McKinnie. ... Linebacker Ray Lewis was back at practice for a third straight week. ... Offensive guard Marshal Yanda and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe were non-committal about their status for Sunday's game.
RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US
Joe Flacco is feeling the weight of his team's struggles. ... The Ravens offense is looking for some consistency. ... The Ravens defense is no longer fearsome, in large part due to injuries. ... The Ravens are preparing to face another Manning brother this week.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
It is either "fight or flight" for the New York Giants this weekend. ... The Giants will key in on Ravens running back Ray Rice. ... Which Giants defense will show up this weekend? ... Giants quarterback Eli Manning refuses to panic. ... Injured Giants defensive backs Kenny Phillips and Prince Amukamara have returned to practice.
SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE DAY
Here are five Ravens stats that stand out for Week 16.
OUTSIDE OF BALTIMORE
The New York Jets will reportedly try to trade quarterback Mark Sanchez. ... The Washington Redskins are optimistic that Robert Griffin III will play this weekend. ... The Pittsburgh Steelers can still make the playoffs if they win their final two games. ... Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson does not think Alabama coach Nick Saban is coming back to the NFL. ... Houston Texans running back Adrian Peterson gave his linemen Segways.