With the Ravens facing the Washington Redskins this weekend, there are many excellent matchups that will unfold on the field.
But what about the matchup on the sidelines?
Sunday's contest marks the first meeting between first-time head coaches John Harbaugh (Ravens) and Jim Zorn (Redskins).
A Baltimore win would signify Harbaugh's second victory over a rookie head coach this year, as the Ravens defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-13 on Oct. 19.
Counting Atlanta's Mike Smith, there is a quartet of new head coaches in the NFL, and all of them have respect for each other and share a "bond," according to Harbaugh.
"We were the guys at the NFL meetings trying to find our way around," Harbaugh said. "We didn't know where to go, didn't know who to talk to, didn't know where to sit. So we had that in common. We felt like the other guys were looking at us like, 'Who are these guys?' You feel that link a little bit."
As to Sunday's rivals, Harbaugh said that he and Zorn, a longtime NFL quarterback and member of the Seattle Seahawks' Ring of Honor, have shared pleasantries in the past.
"I've known Jim for a long time, but passingly – and then this spring we had a chance to spend a lot of time with them, he and his wife," said Harbaugh. "Tremendous people, great coach. I can see why the players enjoy playing for him."
The feeling is mutual.
"We talked a couple of times early in the season and he just seems to have a real peace about where he is, and I think he's brought tremendous enthusiasm," Zorn offered. "I think he coaches with encouragement. I always hear him encouraging his players, and he seems to have a real positive effect on men. I think that's what you need."
Tackles to Go
The Ravens are expecting to have all three of their top offensive tackles activated for Sunday's contest. That includes left tackle Jared Gaither
, who has not practiced this week because of a right shoulder injury he suffered in Week 10 against the Houston Texans.
Gaither was kept on the bench for emergency purposes the following week versus the New York Giants, but ended up playing when Adam Terry was knocked out with a concussion.
Terry has been removed from the injury report after he was inactive for last week's game from continued effects from the concussion, while Gaither missed both Wednesday and Thursday's practices.
"The shoulder is something I'm going to have to fight through all season," Gaither said. "I need to make sure I'm on top of all my plays and staying strong. I have to prove to [Cam Cameron, offensive coordinator] that I can sit out some time during the week and then go out and perform on Sunday.
"I get into a little bit more film and talk to everyone I can to make sure I'm on the same page and in tune with the rest of the team."
Cameron believes Gaither is working hard to get back on the field, even if he can't necessarily practice.
"When they miss practice, that has its challenges," Cameron said. "The good news is they don't miss meeting time. They don't miss treatment time. They don't miss walk-throughs. They don't miss any of that, so they're getting a lot done.
"It's not like they're hanging around the training room all day. The preparation all the way up to the game is good. Jared, we've got him this week. We're excited."
Willie Anderson is slated to start at right tackle.
Right guard Marshal Yanda, who started the season on the offensive line before tearing ligaments in his knee in Week 6, said he will undergo another procedure next week to repair his anterior cruciate ligament. Yanda expects to be fully ready by training camp. "That's what we're shooting for, training camp," Yanda said. "I'll definitely be doing some offseason stuff, light work. But to the point where I'm jumping in and be where I was last year, hopefully August." … The Ravens will wear black jerseys and white pants Sunday. … Baltimore's defense ranks first in the NFL in opponents' quarterback rating, forcing signal-callers to a league worst 58.4 mark.