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Do the Ravens have the depth they want?

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Do the Ravens have the depth they want?

The Ravens always are looking for depth. They're always searching for more of it. They've got a bunch heading into the 2012 season.
But the question is -- do they have enough?
That's a question every NFL team must answer. One injury or two can crush a team's season, just ask the Chicago Bears. That's why more and more teams are really pushing hard to get that depth. The Ravens have been doing that the last few years.
Their depth chart looks pretty good as the season is about to start next Monday night against the Bengals. The Ravens have plenty of talent on offense, defense and special teams, enough so that one injury shouldn't end their season.
But you never know how or when a team will need that depth. Could be never. Or it might be in the first game -- remember Tom Brady's injury? -- and that's why teams are always looking for more players who can help out.
The Ravens might need the depth on defense, due to the questions involving their pass rush. That's a spot where they might have to try different people or different strategies to do what they want.
If the defensive backfield has problems with pass coverage, which did happen in the pre-season, depth could help the Ravens there. They know they've got talent back there. The question is can they do well in the games.
That's why the Ravens like competition to earn positions. They can see who'd have some ability and play well under tough situations. It's one reason why Justin Tucker is now the kicker, and Billy Cundiff has become a Redskin. Tucker beat him out.
The Ravens put Tucker's feet to the fire and saw what he could do under pressure. They also tried to do that with a number of younger and inexperienced players during the pre-season. They look like they've got some good depth as the season begins, but only time will tell if it's good enough.

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Despite 4-5 record, Ravens just one game out of final AFC playoff spot

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USA TODAY Sports

Despite 4-5 record, Ravens just one game out of final AFC playoff spot

Their record and performance over the last month may not show it, but the Baltimore Ravens are just one game out of the No. 6 playoff spot in the AFC.

The Kansas City Chiefs (9-1), Los Angeles Chargers (7-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2), New England Patriots (7-3), Houston Texans (6-3), Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), Tennessee Titans (5-4) and the Miami Dolphins (5-5) all rank above the Ravens. But a win Sunday against the Bengals would push the Ravens to the No. 6 spot as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Titans.

Beside remaining in playoff contention, a win Sunday is crucial considering head coach John Harbaugh's job is in question with his team sitting at 4-5, quarterback Joe Flacco is reportedly dealing with a hip injury and the possibility of rookie Lamar Jackson getting his first NFL start. 

After getting blown out 51-14 by the Saints, the Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Monday. Cincinnati's defense ranks last in the league in passing yards allowed (313.3) and total yards allowed (454.6). A rested Ravens team will have to take advantage of the first team in the Super Bowl era to surrender 500 yards in three straight games as they are among five teams within one game of the final wildcard spot. 

Getting shutout by the Bengals this season would give Andy Dalton and co. a two-game lead over the Ravens as well as possessing the tiebreaker. 

According to the New York Times' NFL Playoff Simulator, the Ravens have a 27% chance of making the playoffs heading into Week 11 with their remaining strength of schedule ranking at No. 27. 

After hosting the Bengals on Sunday, the Ravens host the Oakland Raiders (1-7), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) and Cleveland Browns (3-6), but have tough road games against the Atlanta Falcons (4-5), Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) and Los Angeles Chargers (7-2). 

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Robert Griffin III nominated for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA

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Robert Griffin III nominated for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is the team's nominee for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. 

Presented annually by USAA and the NFL, the award honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. 

The Robert Griffin III Foundation supports Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), that helps aid those grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military; Luke's Wings, which united wounded warriors, veterans and heroes with their loved ones; and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, that helps ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving when they return home. 

Griffin III was born in Okinawa, Japan where his parents were stationed as U.S. Army sergeants. The quarterback spent time living in Fort Carson, Colorado, Seoul, Korea and Fort Hood, Texas as a military kid. His family then settled in Cooperas Cove, Texas, an hour drive from Baylor University where Griffin III attended college. 

Finalist for the award will be announced in January. The recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors award show Saturday, Feb. 2, on the eve of Super Bowl LIII.

RGIII's head coach, John Harbaugh, received the honor in 2013. 

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