Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco talks about the durability and toughness of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. (Jon Meoli/Baltimore Sun)
The Ravens are trying to maintain their normal schedule of preparation even though they're dealing with a short week along with the Thanksgiving holiday in advance of Sunday's pivotal home game.
The Ravens (7-4) will play the San Diego Chargers (7-4) at M&T Bank Stadium in a game with major playoff implications after arriving home before dawn Tuesday morning following an emotional Monday night victory over the New Orleans Saints.
For a team that grew accustomed to managing potential distractions during an offseason dominated by headlines about Ray Rice, they say this week shouldn't affect them.
"Since the beginning of the season, all the adversity we've had to face, we've been locked in and this will be no different," running back Justin Forsett said. "We have to take care of business with the distractions of Thanksgiving and the short week. I'm here early and then it's turkey time, watch some games and hang with the family. I'm thankful for a lot of stuff."
The Ravens are arriving early Thursday for morning meetings and a brief practice before players are dismissed to celebrate the holiday.
"It's a short week and we have a short-week plan that we're pursuing right now," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We have to make up a lot of ground. We'll move everything up. We're going to start really early, then we'll try to get guys out of here earlier so they can get home to their families."
The Ravens will have their usual allotment of three practices before Sunday, but have one fewer day of rest because of playing Monday night.
"We've got a task at hand, I think everybody's focused on that," middle linebacker Daryl Smith said. "We're going to come in and get our work done when it's time to work. When it's time to eat turkey, we eat turkey."
Both the Ravens and the Chargers have won two consecutive games and are two of the top contenders for a wild-card playoff berth.
"It's definitely a challenge," fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. "This is a huge game. This could have playoff implications for us. I feel like we're the team to handle that kind of stuff.
"We're pretty good at handling distractions. We've had plenty of them this year. I think it will be just like any other week for us."
With five games remaining in the regular season, the Ravens are tied for second place in the AFC North division with tiebreakers over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. They're a half-game behind the Cincinnati Bengals.
"From here on out, every week is that key week," outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw said. "We look at it as if we have to win them all, especially with us being in the AFC North and everybody fighting to win the division."