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What they're saying about the Ravens -- Jan. 11

Here's a look at what other media outlets are saying about the Ravens as they prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers:

• The (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Press Democrat's Eric Branch mentions next season's meeting between Ravens coach John Harbaugh and his brother -- new San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh -- while talking about the two brothers.

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Separated by 15 months in age -- and by a few feet when they shared the same bedroom for about 18 years -- the brothers will be 53 yards apart when the 49ers visit the Ravens next season.

They are the first brothers to be coaching NFL teams at the same time. And it's safe to assume next season's Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh will be more eagerly anticipated than their old games of H-O-R-S-E.

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"We did talk about it, and John said they'll probably make it the Thursday night kickoff game for the opener," Jim said. "It'll be great."

Flacco is more athletic than people give him credit for, but Baltimore rarely uses that mobility because he's a very good pocket passer. But pass protection broke down several times against Kansas City and Flacco rushed for a season-high 26 yards on seven carries. That included a nice 13-yard scramble for a first down. Flacco joked Sunday that no one should expect him to run for extra yards like Michael Vick. But Flacco proved he is a capable scrambler when necessary.

• Don Banks of SI.com also comments on Flacco's control of the game with his feet.

His yardage didn't amount to much (26 yards on seven carries), but Joe Flacco really impressed me with how he made a few things happen with his feet early on against the Chiefs, when the Ravens offense was still sort of feeling its way.

Flacco doesn't have the same reputation as Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger for being able to get out of the pocket, buy himself time and scramble for some key yards, but he did all of that in Kansas City. He's more nimble than you realize for a big guy, and he's pretty good at finding room to run. Big Joe and Big Ben get to match that part of their games Saturday at Heinz Field.

As much as the Baltimore Ravens worried me at times this season, they cranked up their collective game to a much higher level for Sunday's playoff opener, rolling to a 30-7 victory over the AFC West-champion Chiefs in Kansas City. They are absolutely a threat to win it all, though Saturday's showdown with their AFC North rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, at Heinz Field will be a physically taxing battle that will take a toll on the winner. In forcing five turnovers and holding the Chiefs to just 25 second-half yards, the Ravens' defense was driven by its fiercest and most accomplished players: middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. Playing two days after his younger brother was believed to have disappeared in the Mississippi River while attempting to elude police, Reed was presented with a game ball in an emotional locker room after the win. Make no mistake: If Baltimore loses in Pittsburgh, or at any point in the postseason, it won't be for lack of passion.

• Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports names Flacco as the under-30 quarterback who is facing the most pressure in the playoffs.

While Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger all have their issues, none is facing the kind of uphill battle that the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco is up against during next Saturday's road game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his three-year career, Flacco is 2-5 against Pittsburgh, including one playoff loss his rookie season. Worse, Flacco is 0-5 against Roethlisberger. Baltimore's two wins during that time came when Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch were at the helm for Pittsburgh. While only one of the seven games has been decided by more than four points and five have come down to a field goal, there is little question Flacco has been the difference in a negative way. While he has statistically gotten better over the years, he also has at least one turnover in every game against the Steelers for a total of 11 (four lost fumbles and seven interceptions). He also has been sacked 24 times in those games. If the Ravens are going to win, Flacco is going to have to eliminate his errors.

[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]

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