Smith’s Final Game Is Main Attraction
Smith is treating Sunday’s game as if it’s his last, and he’ll definitely be looking to go out with a bang. The potential future Hall of Famer would need more than 238 yards to move up one more rung on the all-time receiving yards list to No. 6. He currently has 89 career touchdowns when adding up receiving, rushing, kickoff return and punt return scores, but he’d probably be happy to get into the 90s. Smith said Sunday’s game will be “furious, feisty.” Smith and Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick don’t exactly get along. Expect vintage Smith, and make sure not to miss a play.
Tucker Can Make History … If He Gets A Chance
With a 53-yard boot against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker tied the NFL’s single-season record for field goals of 50 or more yards. Former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh originally set the record in 2012. Now Tucker needs another chance to break it. Asked whether part of him hopes to get a long attempt on Sunday, Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg said he hopes Tucker has a lot of extra-point attempts.
Young Players To See More Action
The Ravens have made it clear that all healthy starters will still suit up despite there not being any playoff implications. Baltimore is playing to win. That said, the Ravens could still give some looks to younger players who could use some extra game reps. Rookie undrafted linebacker Patrick Onwuasor will start alongside C.J. Mosley with Zachary Orr (neck) out. Baltimore already activated rookie wide receiver/returner Keenan Reynolds to the 53-man roster, and other young players such as linebacker Matthew Judon or wide receiver Chris Moore could see time.
Players’ Health In Meaningless Game
There’s been chatter around Baltimore that the Ravens should bench some starters, such as quarterback Joe Flacco and veterans Terrell Suggs and Marshal Yanda. Head Coach John Harbaugh said he’s always worried about injuries, but “it’s not who we are to run scared.” The last thing the Ravens want is for a player to suffer a major injury, but there’s that risk every week.
Defense’s Last Performance
The Ravens defense had three tough games at the end of the season and wants to finish on a strong note. If they can shut down the Bengals’ rushing attack, they still have a chance to be the league’s top run-stuffing unit. Baltimore leads the league in interceptions (18) and wants to hold onto that crown. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil ended the last meeting with the Bengals with a sack/strip of quarterback Andy Dalton. If Dumervil gets two more sacks, he’ll hit 100 for his career.