Ravens

Quick Links

Broncos ready for rematch with Ravens

Broncos ready for rematch with Ravens

DENVER (AP) Peyton Manning will have to wait until next season to face the Indianapolis Colts.

His old team lost 24-9 at Baltimore in the AFC wild-card game Sunday. So the Ravens (11-6) will visit Denver next weekend to face the Broncos (13-3), the AFC's top seed.

Had the Colts won, there would have been a circus-like atmosphere all week in Denver in anticipation of the reunion between the Broncos quarterback and the team he played with for 14 seasons before their split last spring.

Instead, the Broncos get a chance to send Ray Lewis into retirement Saturday.

Manning will face the Colts sometime next season in Indianapolis - the exact date won't be known until the 2013 schedule comes out.

The Broncos are coming off a bye and riding an 11-game winning streak that includes a 34-17 win at Baltimore in Week 15.

``It matters in the fact that you have film from having played them and you know them a little better than you know Indy,'' Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme said. ``But we would know Indy just as well as any other team we play in the playoffs. So, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter.''

The Ravens weren't at full strength last month. Sunday marked the first time all season that they had defensive playmakers Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata on the field together.

``It means nothing that we beat them in the regular season. I know we beat them pretty good, but in the playoffs it's just a different game,'' wide receiver Brandon Stokley said.

Like Tamme, Stokley is a former teammate of Manning's in Indy, and he said the four-time MVP and the rest of the Broncos know better than to let their guard down now.

``That was the same scenario against Pittsburgh when Peyton and I were in Indy. We whipped them pretty good and we played them a couple of weeks later after a bye and they beat us in the playoffs, you know?'' Stokley said. ``So it doesn't matter what you did in the regular season.''

Asked last week if he'd watch the Colts game with anything more than a technical interest, Manning said: ``I've always watched the playoff games. It's certainly one of the three teams that we could play. It's an exciting time for football.''

The Broncos worked all of last week as they prepared for the possibility of facing the Colts, Bengals and Ravens, and they had a team lift on Saturday. They return to work Monday.

Notes: The AFC's final four - Denver, Baltimore, New England and Houston - is the same as last year. ... Since John Elway retired, the Broncos are 2-1 in home playoff games with wins over New England in `05 and Pittsburgh last year. They also lost the AFC title game to the Steelers in January 2006. ... Manning is 6-4 at home in the playoffs. By comparison, Elway was 9-2. ... Of this year's 12 playoff teams, seven used iPad playbooks: the Broncos, Bengals, Colts and Ravens in the AFC and the Packers, Redskins and Seahawks in the NFC. In all, 14 of the 32 teams used the tablets this year. A bunch more teams are expected to ditch the old three-ring binders next year when the league makes game film available in high definition.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Quick Links

John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

Coach John Harbaugh, just six days after his team’s disappointing 28-12 loss to the Titans in the AFC playoffs, has already had to defend his quarterback.

Faced with some criticism after Jackson finished 31-of-59 passing, and three total turnovers, Harbaugh mentioned how far Jackson has come in the last year — which also ended in an early playoff loss at home.

“It’s really interesting to look at Lamar Jackson, because look at the progress he made in the last year,” Harbaugh said Friday. “Because the same question, I think you might have asked it last year, how is he going to get better going forward? And he did a good job, right? He’s 23 years old. He’s younger than Joe Burrow. So, he has a pretty good head start right now.”

Jackson is now 0-2 in the playoffs with a 19-3 regular season record. 



He’s likely the MVP this season after he passed for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards, setting the single-season rushing record for a quarterback along the way. He led the NFL in passing touchdowns and carried the most prolific offense in the league to a league-best 14-2. 

Harbaugh isn’t worried that his quarterback, who is just 23-years-old, hasn’t found his playoff success yet.

“The Manning brothers combined to, they had five losses in their first five playoff games before they won one,” Harbaugh explained. (Joe) Montana, (Steve) Young and (Brett) Favre didn’t start a playoff game until their third season, (Drew) Brees and (Troy) Aikman, until their fourth season, and (Aaron) Rodgers until his fifth season.”

After the season ended, Harbaugh added that Jackson went to his office to discuss the offseason and what he needed to do to improve. 

While Harbaugh and the offensive coaching staff had a plan for Jackson to improve, Jackson “nailed” each and every single critique that the coaches had laid out for him.

“I’m really confident in Lamar and his understanding the things he needs to do to get better, and that he’s going to work really hard to keep building himself up as a player,” Harbaugh said.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Harbaugh reflects on resting starters: 'I might go the other way' next year

Harbaugh reflects on resting starters: 'I might go the other way' next year

If the Ravens can pull off winning the AFC North division title three years in a row, their starters might be on the hook for Week 17 next time around.

In head coach John Harbaugh's season-review press conference on Friday, the Ravens leader of 12 years was asked if resting his starters in Week 17 vs Pittsburgh contributed to their AFC Divisional Round loss to the Tennesse Titans. 

"I mean, we didn't play well," he said.

Harbaugh went on to explain how he dove into the numbers of football's past in order to make decisions ahead of hosting the Steelers in their regular-season finale. The Ravens ultimately won 28-10 before two weeks off and then losing to Tennessee, 28-12.

"You look at the history, and I did that, went back and looked at the history," Coach Harbaugh said. "And the history is about 50/50. You know, teams have held their guys out and won and then won the Super Bowl. Teams have held their guys out and lost. It's gone both ways. We held our guys out and won and we won the Super Bowl [in 2012]. I was probably leaning on that in all honesty."

"Going forward after this, I might go the other way, you know?" Harbaugh offered. "Right now, if I had to do it today, and it's next year and we're in this situation, God willing we're in the same situation, we'll probably go the other way in all honesty."

Analytics can only tell you what has happened in the past, not what will happen next. A predictive guide at best, resting starters is likely best exercised as a case-by-case, team-by-team situation.

Since coming to Baltimore in 2008, Harbaugh has only been faced with this specific decision twice, establishing a 50/50 track record himself. It worked for the Ravens in 2012 as they went on to beat the 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.

It did not work in 2019. 

"The disappointment ... is that we didn't play our best football," Harbaugh continued. "That's the thing that really sticks to us. We're way better than what we played in both those games, and we're gonna have to grow from that." 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: