Following an ugly loss to the New England Patriots, cornerback Jimmy Smith says the Ravens' focus immediately shifted toward a pivotal regular-season finale against the AFC North division champion Cincinnati Bengals.
The Ravens were embarrassed, 41-7, by the Patriots on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in the most lopsided loss in the John Harbaugh era.
"We've already forgot about it," Smith said. "That's the NFL. Things like that happen. We've moved on to the Bengals."
Now, the Ravens need a victory over the Bengals, who are undefeated in seven home games this season at Paul Brown Stadium, combined with either a Miami Dolphins loss or a San Diego Chargers loss to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year.
The Ravens could also earn the AFC's last wild card spot with a loss if the Chargers and Dolphins lose and the Pittsburgh Steelers lose or tie.
"They've got a good offense, good weapons and we've got a tough challenge," Smith said. "They're undefeated at home and playing really well. Everything's on the line. It's going to be a dogfight.
"Our focus is only on winning this game. We can't really control San Diego or Miami. So, we win our game and everything else falls into place."
Containing Bengals All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green would go a long way toward accomplishing the Ravens' goal. He leads his team with 94 receptions for 1,365 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Green caught a deflected Hail Mary pass for a touchdown in regulation during the Ravens' overtime win over the Bengals earlier this season at M&T Bank Stadium.
Unlike when the Ravens assigned Smith to shadow Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in single coverage, Smith said there are no similar coverage plans against Green.
"We've faced 10 of the 12 top receivers this year, A.J. being one of them," Smith said. "No, I don't think we're shifting around this week. I think we'll just play it straight."
The Ravens lost their chance to win the division by losing to New England, and also lost control of their own playoff future. Now, they need help.
"We ain't worried about no scenarios," middle linebacker Daryl Smith said. "That's pointless until we go and try to win this game. If we don't, then we can't do nothing about it. We have to handle what we can control."
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has already said he plans to play his starters since they still have an opportunity to be the No. 2 seed and earn a first-round bye with a win over the Ravens combined with a Patriots loss this weekend.
"They're a tough team, especially at home," Smith said. "We definitely got our work cut out for us. It's a game we've got to have. I know they'll be ready to play, too."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun