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Title games feature Ravens-Pats, 49ers-Falcons

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Title games feature Ravens-Pats, 49ers-Falcons

One game is a rematch. The other might feel like one - at least to one of the teams.

For the second straight year in the AFC, the New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

In the NFC, it will be San Francisco traveling to Atlanta, with the Falcons defense trying to stop a versatile, running quarterback for the second straight week.

``Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are mobile quarterbacks who throw the ball at extremely accurate levels,'' Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud said. ``We can use this game as a cheat sheet to prepare for next week.''

On Sunday, the Falcons barely got past Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, who overcame a 20-point deficit to take a one-point lead, but gave it up after Matt Ryan drove Atlanta into field goal range and Matt Bryant made a 49-yard kick with 8 seconds left.

Atlanta is the only team not making a repeat appearance in the NFL's final four. Last year, it was the Giants playing, and beating, the 49ers for the NFC title.

On Saturday, Kaepernick passed for 263 yards and rushed for 181 - a playoff record for a quarterback - to defeat Green Bay 45-31.

``We're one step closer to where we want to be,'' said Kaepernick. San Francisco hasn't been to the Super Bowl since 1995, when Steve Young led the 49ers to their fifth Lombardi Trophy.

Though the Niners must travel cross country for the game, they opened as 3-point favorites in a meeting of teams that played twice a year until 2003, when Atlanta was moved from the NFC West to the NFC South. Their only previous playoff meeting was a 20-18 win for the Falcons in the 1998 divisional playoffs. Atlanta won at Minnesota the next week to make its only Super Bowl.

San Francisco's 20-17 overtime loss last year to the Giants was part of a tense day of football that began with New England's 23-20 victory over the Ravens in the AFC title game.

In that game, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal that would have tied the game with 11 seconds left.

This season, Justin Tucker beat out Cundiff for the kicker's job. Tucker hit a 47-yarder against Denver on Saturday to lift the Ravens to a 38-35 win in double overtime, extending Ray Lewis' career for at least one more week and putting the 17-year veteran one win away from his second Super Bowl.

``We fought hard to get back to this point and we're definitely proud of being here,'' Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. ``We feel like it's going to take a lot for somebody to come and kick us off that field come the AFC championship game.''

Lewis and the Ravens will have to stop the NFL's most potent offense. The Patriots put up 457 yards in a 41-28 victory over Houston, which left them one win away from their sixth Super Bowl in the 2000s.

``I think the two best teams are in the final,'' Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. ``Baltimore certainly deserve to be here and so do we.''

The Patriots were made early 9 1/2-point favorites against the Ravens.

These teams met in the regular season and that game was also decided by a kick - Tucker's 27-yard field goal that sneaked through the right upright for a 31-30 victory. Or did it?

While the Ravens were celebrating, Pats coach Bill Belichick ran to midfield and grabbed a replacement official's arm as he tried to exit the field. The NFL fined Belichick $50,000 for the gesture.

New England is the even-money favorite in Vegas to win the Super Bowl. San Francisco is next at 2-1, followed by Atlanta (5-1) and Baltimore (8-1).

Among the possible Super Bowl story lines:

-The Harbaugh Bowl. Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49ers and John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens.

-A rematch of San Francisco's 41-34 win at New England on Dec. 16 - one of the most entertaining games of the regular season.

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

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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.

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It's Friday and the Ravens still haven't announced who their starting quarterback is for Sunday

It's Friday and the Ravens still haven't announced who their starting quarterback is for Sunday

The suspense is killing us.

Will it be Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III or actually Joe Flacco starting for the Baltimore Ravens Sunday in the most important game of the season, in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals?

Well, it's almost time for happy hour on a Friday and we still don't have a definite answer.

Flacco, who is nursing a right hip injury, did not practice this week and was listed as doubtful on the team's Friday injury report.

But the good news is that Jackson, who missed Thursday's practice with an illness, was a full participant Friday. When asked whether Jackson missing the most crucial day of practice is concerning, head coach John Harbaugh had us scratching our heads.

“It’s not ideal,” Harbaugh said. “Was it part of the plan? Apparently, it was.”

Jackson admitted that the possibility of his first NFL start Sunday would bring on a few butterflies but that once the ball was snapped,"it's on."

"You have to have trust with your guys," Jackson said Wednesday. "You have to have them believing in you to put points on the board. So, that’ll be my job if I’m out there.”

And in the latest version of 'The NFL is wild,' Robert Griffin III was the only Ravens quarterback who participated in a full week of practice.

The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year hasn't started an NFL game since January 1, 2017, but has stayed up to speed in case a moment like this occurred. 

"That's my job. That's why they brought me here," Griffin III said Wednesday. "They brought me here to be a pro. They brought me here to help this team if need be. I try to help the defense every week on scout team and then do those [reps], and if my number's called I'll be able to go out there and lead this team."

Prior to this week, Flacco had only been on the team's injury report eight times and had missed only three regular-season practices. In 11 years, Flacco has missed just six games, starting the last 41. 

Guard/tackle James Hurst (back) has been ruled out for the fourth week as well as Tim Williams (ankle).

Cornerback Tavon Young (ankle), tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and safety Tony Jefferson (thigh) are listed as questionable. 

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