There had been speculation that the game would not be sold out in time to avoid the NFL's blackout rule, but Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said there is no concern, meaning all eight of the team's home games will have been televised.
Byrne said there will be about 1,700 tickets available for sale this morning, but 1,200 are obstructed-view seats. Three hundred tickets were returned by the Oilers.
Alexander may sit finale
Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda expects most of his lineup from last week to be ready Sunday except starting wide receiver Derrick Alexander.
Alexander strained a shoulder against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and has yet to practice this week.
If Alexander can't play, it will give the Ravens an opportunity to see some of their younger players.
"We're certain on everyone except for Derrick," said Marchibroda. "If he is able, he'll be out there with the rest of the starters. If not, we'll see more of Ray Ethridge and James Roe."
Ethridge has one catch for 9 yards this season, and Roe, a rookie, doesn't have any.
Third-string quarterback Scott Otis has been the invisible player. Otis, the only free agent to make the roster coming out of training camp, did not attempt a pass in the preseason and has not played a down during the regular season.
He threw for 5,986 yards and 66 touchdowns in two seasons at Glenville (W. Va.) State.
"It has been a tremendous learning process," said Otis. "It has been a lot of work, step by step, and the system is starting to come into focus.
'I've been watching Vinny [Testaverde] and had some opportunity to learn from [backup] Eric Zeier as well," said Otis. "Everything I've learned is something I can carry on to the future."
Marchibroda has been paying attention to Otis.
"I can't tell you what he will do in a ballgame, but he has improved," the coach said. "He is throwing better and his arm has gotten stronger."
Making good on a guarantee
It was against Houston on Sept. 15 that Testaverde threw three interceptions in the Ravens' 29-13 loss, and then guaranteed his teammates and the city of Baltimore that he would never play as badly again.
Testaverde has lived up to the guarantee, but said he wasn't trying to be bold.
"I made that statement because I was trying to take some of the pressure off the guys," said Testaverde. "We were struggling and I wanted us to have a good week in practice because I didn't want a loss like that one to happen again."
Thompson's a Belle fan
Ravens reserve safety Bennie Thompson doesn't hide the fact that he admires former Cleveland Indians slugger Albert Belle, who signed with the Chicago White Sox last month.
He calls Belle "The Man."
"There are just so many athletes today that are phony," said Thompson. "I don't respect hardly any guys in this league because they are always trying to be somebody else and not themselves. Now Albert Belle, he is himself. You may not like him, but he is not phony. He let's you know what is on his mind."
Next for Ravens
Opponent: Houston Oilers
Site: Memorial Stadium
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)
Line: Ravens by 3
Pub Date: 12/20/96