CINCINNATI- Five final thoughts on the Ravens (5-10), as they prepare to end their disappointing season against the playoff-bound Bengals (11-4):
1. This could the last game in a Ravens uniform for two starters about to become unrestricted free agents - left tackle Kelechi Osemele and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
2. A. J. McCarron will start at quarterback for the Bengals, but they hope to get Andy Dalton back at some point during the playoffs. Dalton hopes to have the cast removed from his thumb on Monday. Dalton is unlikely to be ready to play next weekend, but there’s a chance he could return for the divisional round. That gives the Bengals even more to play for against the Ravens. If the Bengals beat the Ravens, and the Broncos lose to the Chargers, the Bengals will have a first-round bye, and perhaps get Dalton back for the divisional round.
3. With Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken needing 132 yards to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the season, expect quarterback Ryan Mallet to target Aiken on some deep throws. Aiken wants a victory first and foremost. But he also wants 1,000 yards, and the Ravens want him to get it.
4. Today’s outcome will determine the Ravens’ position in next year’s draft. They would currently pick No. 8, and a loss would insure them of having a top-10 pick. They have not made a top-10 selection since 2003, when they chose outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
5. When running back Buck Allen takes his first snap today, he will be the only Ravens rookie who played in all 16 games.