9 Things Casual Fans Should Know About The Ravens

It's playoff time, and that means more attention is on the Ravens.

Maybe you've kept a distant eye on the team throughout the season, waiting on them to punch their playoff ticket before fully jumping on the bandwagon. Or maybe you just need to brush up on your Ravens knowledge knowing that the wild-card game will be the center of  attention for all Saturday night activities in Baltimore.

Either way, we have you covered with the basic stuff you need to know:

Sixth Playoff Trip In Seven Years

The Ravens have a great track record when it comes to playing postseason football, especially under Head Coach John Harbaugh. This  is Harbaugh's seventh season at the helm, and the Ravens have made the postseason in six of those years. Last season was the only time the Ravens fell short of making the playoffs during Harbaugh's tenure. 

Ravens Won  Super Bowl Last Time They Made Playoffs

The last time the Ravens made the playoffs, it was coming off a tough December just like this year. Baltimore dropped four of their last four games and finished 10-6, the identical record to the 2014 Ravens. They ended up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with a win over the San Francisco 49ers in the Superdome. The Ravens haven't lost a playoff game since they fell to the Patriots in a heartbreaker in the 2011 the AFC championship game.

Flacco At His Best In Playoffs

Quarterback Joe Flacco takes his game to another level at this time of year. The last time he was in the playoffs, Flacco had a historic run where he tied Joe Montana as the only quarterback in NFL history to throw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions on his way to becoming the Super Bowl XLVII MVP. Flacco has never missed a game in his career, and Saturday night he will become the first quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game in six of his first seven seasons. He is also coming off the best regular season of his career, which could bode well for another strong playoff run.

Mosley A Rising Star

Rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley has been everything the Ravens hoped for and more this season. He was the No. 17 overall pick of 2014 draft, and he's taken over an inside linebacker spot that was once occupied by future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. Mosley has been one of the team's top defenders all year, and he's a favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Injury Bug Has Hit Hard

You may turn on the game and start wondering where key players are, including tight end Dennis Pitta and cornerback Jimmy Smith. They won't be suiting up this week because they've already been lost with season-ending injuries. Pitta went down with a hip injury in Week 3 and Smith was lost to a foot sprain in Week 8. The Ravens have been hit hard by the injury bug all year, and the team has 19 players on injured reserve. That's tied for the most since 19 players were on the list in 2008.

Kubiak Made Big Difference

This was the first season in Baltimore for Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, and the former Houston Texans head coach made an immediate difference. The offense set franchise records for both yards and points scored in a season. Kubiak's offense is built on the running game and play-action pass, and the Ravens will look to establish the run early in Saturday's contest.

Forsett Surprise of Season

Running back Justin Forsett came to Baltimore's training camp thinking that it could be his final opportunity to prove he belongs on an NFL roster. Forsett has done much more than that. He's been the surprise of the season for the Ravens, and perhaps the entire NFL. He finished the regular season with 1,266 rushing yards, which was fifth-best in the NFL.

Ngata Back After Suspension

Veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will play his first game since serving a four-game suspension for taking Adderall in violating of the NFL's performance enhancing drug policy. Ngata was having a standout season before getting suspended, and he's motivated to make an impact now that he gets a chance to play again this year. Ngata said that he feels like "I owe these guys," and he is one of the team's best overall players.

Ravens Seeking First Playoff Win In Pittsburgh

The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is one of the best in all of sports, and AFC North foes have had some memorable showdowns over the years. The Ravens have enjoyed their share of success at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, but not during the playoffs. Baltimore has come up short on all three playoff trips into Pittsburgh, and Saturday's game is a chance to end the Steelers' run on their home turf.

As the AFC North rivals prepare to clash Thursday night, take a look back at some of their classic battles.

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