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Ravens 24, Browns 10
5. There is absolutely no reason for Ray Lewis to play against the Indianapolis Colts. In fact, if he tries to play, the Ravens should lock him in the training room prior to kickoff.
I never, even for a second, believed Lewis was going to play this week, even though the Ravens went through another week of song and dance where they listed him as questionable. I would bet that we'll hear similar reports this week, and that the team will insist he has a legitimate chance of playing right up until an hour before kickoff when they announce that he's inactive yet again. I'm sure Lewis really wants to play, and he might even be able to talk the Ravens medical staff and coaching staff into letting him play if he really tried hard enough, but what's the point? Indianapolis is awful. They seem to be more committed to finishing 0-16 this year than they were to finishing 16-0 a few seasons ago. If the Ravens can't beat the Colts at home without Ray Lewis, then they don't deserve the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The earliest Lewis should play is the San Diego game. And they'll need him for that game too, because as awful as the Chargers have looked this year, they have a ton of talent on offense. As much as Philip Rivers has struggled this year, he's still the kind of quarterback who can put a lot of pressure on the Ravens linebackers (who aren't strong in pass coverage) and secondary. Lewis isn't particularly good in pass coverage either, but is an effective blitzer and he still reads defenses as well as anyone in football.
The Ravens have made it through a tough stretch of games without him, and even if you believe he's almost ready to return, forcing him to sit one more week is only going to help you down the road, when you really need him.
December 4, 2011