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Ravens LB Smith thinks the defense was solid against Miami

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Ravens LB Smith thinks the defense was solid against Miami

Despite the Ravens loss to the Dolphins, linebacker Daryl Smith thinks his defense held Miami in check for most of the day.

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Lamar Jackson earns first NFL start for Ravens as Joe Flacco's sidelined with injury

Lamar Jackson earns first NFL start for Ravens as Joe Flacco's sidelined with injury

It's the moment Lamar Jackson has been waiting for since the Baltimore Ravens drafted him in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft; his first NFL start.

The team announced that Jackson will be starting under center against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in Week 11 after Joe Flacco sustained a hip injury in the Ravens' Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Jackson is 7-of-12 for 87 passing yards and one touchdown adding 139 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in the Ravens' first nine games.

But how and when the team utilized him has lacked consistency, which has people concerned with the possibility of the rookie starting. On top of that, the Sunday matchup against Cincinnati is the Ravens' biggest game of the season and puts even more pressure on Jackson.

Sitting at 4-5 and third in the AFC North, a fourth-straight loss would all but eliminate Baltimore from playoff contention.

Jackson's teammates and coaches, however, have nothing but confidence in their quarterback.

“The young man certainly has progressed," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said about Jackson Thursday. "Smart, talented, tough – he has some great, great qualities, and [quarterbacks coach] James Urban and he have really worked hard in his progression. And, he’s done a lot of things for us up to this date.”

"He certainly has inner confidence, Mornhinweg added. "There’s no question about that, yet, very humble. So, it’s a good mix there."

Jackson missed Thursday's practice with an illness, but told the media Wednesday he has been preparing for his possible Week 11 start as if it was any other week.

When asked how he would feel if he did get the nod Sunday, Jackson said he would have butterflies at first but that once the ball was snapped, "it's on."

The faster style of NFL play compared to that of college football was something the quarterback admittedly struggled with in the preseason. But with nine games behind him, Jackson feels he's made progress.

"Calling the plays," Jackson said on the area he's made the biggest strides in. "Before I'd have to ask coach a hundred times, 'say it again, say it again,' but now he says it one time to me. Don't get me wrong, sometimes if [the call] is long or whatever I have to ask [coach to] say it again, but other than that I'm getting better with that."

Robert Griffin III, who was also in talks of starting vs. the Bengals, has taken pride in mentoring his fellow Heisman Trophy winner.

“Lamar is like a sponge." Griffin III said Wednesday. "He’s soaking up everything he possibly can, information-wise, from myself, Joe [Flacco], the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – coach [James] Urban. He’s been doing a great job."

The 21-year-old is the only first-round quarterback out of the 2018 NFL Draft that has yet to start this season. A strong showing and this could be the start of the Jackson era in Baltimore. 

Prior to Sunday, Flacco had missed just six games in 11 years, starting the last 41.

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Ravens vs. Bengals Week 11: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens vs. Bengals Week 11: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

It's been a whirlwind of a week for both the Baltimore Ravens (4-5) and Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) as the two get set for their Week 11 AFC North division matchup.

Ahead of Sunday's game, here's everything you need to know to watch.

We've got ourselves a quarterback situation

Who is going to start at quarterback for the Ravens in Week 11? Will it be Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson or Robert Griffin III?

News broke during the Ravens' Week 10 bye that Flacco sustained a right hip injury in the team's Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers spurring a full-blown quarterback situation. 

With Flacco missing practice all week, the idea of Jackson getting his first NFL start looked like it was going to become a reality. Then Jackson missed Thursday's practice with an illness. Jackson returned to practice o n Friday, but not before the RGIII hype train could leave the station.

The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year earned a spot on the 53-man roster for this very reason. Add in reports that the Ravens weren't happy with Jackson's progression throughout the week and we could very well be seeing the NFL comeback of RGIII.

Considering how hush the Ravens have been all week on Flacco's status, don't expect to hear who the starter is until Sunday morning. 

Nonetheless, Sunday's matchup vs. the Bengals is the Ravens' most crucial game of the season as they fight to stay in playoff contention and avoid dropping to 4-6. Whether it's Flacco, Jackson or Griffin III under center, the pressure for a win is on. 

Special assistant to the regional manager head coach

After getting blown out by the New Orleans Saints 51-14 and being the first team in the Super Bowl era to surrender 500 yards in three straight games, the Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin Monday. 

Head coach Marvin Lewis will now call the defensive plays in the stadium where he built the NFL's record-setting defense in 2000 as defensive coordinator of the Ravens. To help him with the workload, Lewis brought newly fired Browns head coach Hue Jackson to be their special assistant to the head coach.

Lewis will have his hands full leading a defense that's currently ranked 31st in total points (32) and rushing yards (141.2), and 32nd in total yards (454.6) and passing yards (313.3). It doesn't help his game plan either that the Ravens' starting QB will likely be announced Sunday.

"I’m trying to prepare the Cincinnati Bengals – that’s my focus, OK?," Lewis said on a conference call with media Wednesday. "I can’t control who they put at quarterback based on his injury, whatever – Joe’s [injury]. Our focus has got to be us, and that’s what I’m focusing on – getting us better and getting us righted.”

Season once again comes down to Bengals

Week 17 of the 2017 season with the postseason 53 seconds away, Andy Dalton found Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard, game-winning touchdown that left the Ravens without January football for yet another year. 

Week 11 of the 2018 season and the Ravens find themselves in that exact same spot sitting third in the AFC North. 

What the Ravens do have on their side is owning the NFL's best record following the bye (13-3) since the division realignment in 2002, and the fact that Dalton has thrown the second-most interceptions this season (10) behind rookie Sam Darnold's 14. This is great news for a Ravens defense that hasn't forced a turnover in 11 quarters. With star wide receiver A.J. Green out with a toe injury and running back Joe Mixon limited during Thursday's practice with a knee injury, the defense has a huge opportunity to not allow history to repeat itself. 

Click here to see the updated Ravens-Bengals injury report

Ravens vs. Bengals Week 11 How to Watch:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

What: Week 11 regular season

When: Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, 1:00 p.m. ET

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.

TV Channel: CBS

Live Stream: Watch Now with fuboTV - Try free trial

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 and 98Rock

Weather: 47 degrees, most cloudy

Record: Bengals lead all-time series 23-22. Ravens own a 6-4 record at home. 

Ravens 2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sun., 9/9. Ravens vs. Bills. Win, 47-3 (1-0)

Week 2: Thur., 9/13 Ravens at Bengals. Loss, 34-23 (1-1)

Week 3: Sun., 9/23 Ravens vs. Broncos. Win, 27-14 (2-1)

Week 4: Sun., 9/30 Ravens at Steelers. Win, 26-14 (3-1)

Week 5: Sun., 10/7 Ravens at Browns. Loss, 12-9 (3-2)

Week 6: Sun., 10/14 Ravens at Titans. Win, 21-0 (4-2)

Week 7: Sun., 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m. Loss, 24-23 (4-3)

Week 8: Sun., 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m. Loss 36-21 (4-4)

Week 9: Sun., 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m. Loss 23-16 (4-5)

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sun., 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sun., 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sun., 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sun., 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sun., 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Sat., 12/22 @ Chargers, 8:20 p.m. ET

Week 17: Sun., 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.