Ravens kicker Justin Tucker said the footballs used for kicking plays in Saturday night's game at the Los Angeles Chargers were "just different than what we’re used to experiencing on your typical NFL Sunday.”
On Saturday, Ravens safety Eric Weddle will match up with one of his best friends in Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. That's just one of many colliding narratives in the life of the recent Pro Bowl selection.
The Ravens open at home against the Buffalo Bills, will be done with AFC North road games after Oct. 7, have a three-game road trip, have a three-game homestand, face four straight 2017 playoff teams in the midseason, and have back-to-back road games against the Falcons and Chiefs in December.
With Joe Flacco going into what could be his last season as the Ravens' franchise quarterback, the team might use a high draft pick on the sport's most important position for the first time in a decade.
Cam Newton brings an added dimension to the quarterback position. There have been signal-callers — like Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton and Steve McNair — who ran out of necessity, and others, like Seattle's Russell Wilson, who took it further with some designed runs. But Newton is a threat as both a passer and runner, and unlike the others, he just doesn't give a damn who he has to fly over to win the championship.
Frank Reich was a hot head coach candidate a year ago, interviewing for the Bills and Jets' positions. He also interviewed for the Maryland job in November. But while the franchise has retained coach Mike McCoy, it is moving on from many assistants following a 4-12 season.
With Sunday's season-ending knee injury to Joe Flacco, the Ravens lost their stalwart quarterback who has been a picture of durability over his eight-year career and stability during in an injury-hit, disappointing season. But Flacco's statistics paint the picture of a quarterback who was among the least efficient and productive in the NFL this season.
The Ravens defense forced two punts and a field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 29-26 win over the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium to prevent the kind of heart-breaking late loss they've suffered so many times before this season.
It used to be a scenario that the Ravens' defense would relish — a three-point lead to protect, just over two minutes to play and a young quarterback tasked with putting together a lengthy game-saving drive against them.
The Ravens' 20-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns in front of an announced 71,070 at M&T Bank Stadium, combined with the Chargers' 19-7 loss to the Chiefs, sends the Ravens to the playoffs for the sixth time in John Harbaugh's seven seasons.
As the Ravens (9-6) square off with the Cleveland Browns (7-8) in a regular-season finale Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, here's Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson¿s checklist of things to keep an eye on:
It's been an extremely long, frustrating season for Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb, due to a lingering back injury that's just started to fully cooperate as the Ravens prepare for Sunday's regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns.