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Ravens will need more than emotion to beat Denver

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Ravens will need more than emotion to beat Denver

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Fueled with emotion from the impending retirement of Ray Lewis and a fervent home crowd, the Baltimore Ravens dispatched the Indianapolis Colts in the opening round of the AFC playoffs.

It's going to take more than just unbridled enthusiasm to knock off the top-seeded Denver Broncos on Saturday.

In defeating Indianapolis 24-9 on Sunday, the Ravens (11-6) drew inspiration from a crowd that never stopped cheering before, during and after Lewis' final home game. The standout middle linebacker intends to retire after Baltimore's playoff run, and the Ravens had no intention of seeing Lewis end his 17-year career with a home loss.

``It had to have an impact. The emotions were real,'' coach John Harbaugh said Monday. ``It was tangible. We all felt it.''

Now, however, the Ravens take to the road to face the Broncos (13-3), who have won 11 straight - including a 34-17 rout in Baltimore on Dec. 16. The Ravens should have plenty of spirit left from Sunday, but Harbaugh isn't necessarily counting on it.

``There's probably an element that we'll carry forward because you're always building on what you are,'' he said. ``Hopefully we take all the things that happened and we take it into that game emotionally and carry it with us. But this is a new game. It's a whole new environment. It's a whole new situation for us. So I think the slate is wiped clean in that sense. This will be a new challenge for us.''

And what a challenge it is. Not only do the Broncos own the best record in the AFC, but they're coming off a bye and playing at altitude against a team they've already beaten handily. Oh, and there's also the matter of Peyton Manning, who's 2-0 lifetime against Baltimore in the postseason.

Manning vs. Ray Lewis with everything on the line. It doesn't get much better than that.

``They are always classic,'' Lewis said. ``It's just one of those chess matches. He knows me very well. I know him very well. ... But at the end of the day, it's not about me and me and Peyton. It's about their team against our team. I love our team right now.''

And the Ravens, in turn, love their leader. All the players, as well as the coaching staff, savored the once-in-a-lifetime scene at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

``The crowd was incredible. It was one of those historic moments that anybody that was there is never going to forget,'' Harbaugh said. ``I was so proud of our fans, so pleased that we all have something that we will be able to talk to our kids and our grandkids about - a Baltimore football moment that's going to live on. That's kind of why you do this, to be part of moments like this.''

Lewis was in the middle of it all, playing for the first time in 12 weeks after being sidelined with a torn right triceps. He returned to lead the Ravens with 13 tackles and provided his usual unyielding leadership.

``He played well. He was physical at the point of attack, he did a good job in the pass game,'' Harbaugh said. ``He held up pretty well.''

When the Ravens faced Denver last month, the Broncos raced to a 31-3 lead and coasted to the finish. But Baltimore played that game without Lewis, safety Bernard Pollard, guard Marshal Yanda and tight end Ed Dickson. All will be available Saturday.

``It's got to be a positive,'' Harbaugh said. ``We're more full strength now than we've ever been all year. So it's the right time to be healthy, and I'm hoping those guys will have a big impact.''

In other news, the Ravens cut linebacker Sergio Kindle from the practice squad Monday. Kindle was the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 draft, but spent his entire rookie season on the reserve/non-football injury list after fracturing his skull while falling down a flight of stairs. He played in one game last year and one game this season.

``It was kind of mutually agreed upon between the two of us,'' Harbaugh said of the move. ``He's hoping for an opportunity somewhere where he can maybe take the next step.''

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens exercise 2020 fifth-year option on 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens exercise 2020 fifth-year option on 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could forget that the 2019 NFL Draft is just two days away.

Here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The Ravens have exercised the 2020 fifth-year option on LT Ronnie Stanley, according to a league source of ESPN's Field Yates. The Ravens' 2016 first round pick, Stanley has started 42 games in three seasons.

2. Part of the pre-NFL draft fun that goes on in the months leading up to the big weekend is re-drafting previous drafts. Bleacher Report's Chris Roling re-drafted the 2018 NFL Draft and have the Ravens selecting two completely different players.

Instead of TE Hayden Hurst at No. 25, Roling has the Ravens selecting TE Chris Herndon out of Miami.

"For the sake of value, the re-draft move is Miami's Chris Herndon," Roling said. "He slipped to the New York Jets in the fourth round yet put up 39 catches for 502 yards and four scores and is two-and-a-half years younger than Hurst."

And instead of QB Lamar Jackson, he has the Ravens picking LB Harold Landry out of Boston College.

"Landry, a second-round pick by Tennessee, flashed with 4.5 sacks over 15 games (three starts) as a rookie and earned a much bigger role heading into next season," Roling said. "He seems like a natural fit in a Baltimore front thanks to his ability to rush from all over the field, fitting a multiple look, and could produce in those spots freed up by players who left on the open market."

3. We knew who the Ravens would be facing in the preseason and when, but now we know what time. The Ravens' preseason matchups with the Jaguars, Packers, Eagles and Redskins will all take place at 7:30 p.m. ET. 


Looking Ahead:

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

May 3-6 or May 10-13: Potential three-day rookie mini camp

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player

The 2019 NFL schedule is set!  See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: 20 prospects linked to Baltimore at No. 22

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: 20 prospects linked to Baltimore at No. 22

We've made in to NFL draft week. Here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The 2019 NFL Draft is Thursday night in Nashville, Tn. While the chances of pundits predicting each team's first-round pick accurately is about the same as picking the Powerball numbers, we can't seem to stop ourselves from looking at them. Here's a look at 20 prospects mocked to the Ravens at No. 22, courtesy of the Ravens' website.  


2. One of the many exciting parts of the NFL draft is waiting to hear which organizations trade forward or backwards to acquire a pick. Just last year, the Ravens traded back from their No. 16 pick several times to select Hayden Hurst at No. 25, before trading back into the first-round to pick Lamar Jackson at No. 32. But which trade in Ravens history was the most impactful? ESPN's Jamison Hensley selected the Ravens' trade for running back Jamal Lewis.


"In 1999, the Ravens traded their second-round pick (No. 43) for Atlanta's first-round pick in 2000, which they used to land running back Jamal Lewis," Hensley wrote. "The Falcons selected tight end Reggie Kelly, and the Ravens got what turned into the No. 5 overall pick in the 2000 draft. Baltimore drafted Lewis, who carried the offense during the team's 2000 Super Bowl championship season and recorded the NFL's fifth 2,000-yard season in 2003."


3. As Marlon Humphrey enters his third year in the league, the cornerback will not only be expected to take on a leadership role within the Ravens' new look defense, but top his impressive sophomore season. In 2018, Humphrey contested 35% of targets thrown into his coverage marking the second-best rate in all the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. 


Looking Ahead:

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

May 3-6 or May 10-13: Potential three-day rookie mini camp

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player

The 2019 NFL schedule is set!  See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: