The Ravens say their 40-17 loss in Philadelphia doesn't change their outlook on this Saturday's third preseason game against the Washington Redskins.
But there's no doubt that the starters' final tune-up before the regular season takes on added significance than your average preseason contest. It's the game in which the starters will see their most action yet.
"I think it is really important – nothing to do with the second game – but more just so we can go into Week 1 and have as high a level of confidence as we possibly can," quarterback Joe Flacco said Thursday.
"You don't want any doubt to be able to creep into anybody's mind. You want all of the coaches and all of the players to have 100-percent confidence that we're going to go in [to Denver] and light it up."
The Ravens' starters had a dream preseason debut against the Saints. The offense weaved a 16-play touchdown drive together and the defense posted back-to-back three-and-outs, although New Orleans Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees did not suit up.
Their second showing didn't turn out as well as Flacco threw two interceptions and the defense surrendered back-to-back touchdowns.
"We definitely want to kind of show what this Raven team is about," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "That's usually what the third preseason [game] is about. You kind of show who is going to play, who is going to be out there and what you're going to be doing this year, but that is the main focus. We definitely can't go out there and have a performance like we did last week, and we understand that."
Part of the issue last week in Philadelphia was that the Ravens don't game-plan hardly anything for the second preseason game. So when facing such a unique offense like the one the Eagles employ, it's a tough challenge for a base defense.
This week has been treated as a normal regular-season week, however. There's more game-planning involved, more watching tape of the opponent. The team's schedule is a trial run for the real thing.
"We understand it is a preseason game, but this one is a little more focused on our opponent, rather than practicing with them and playing nice," Suggs said.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said preseason performances are an "indicator of how good you're going to be." With that said, a team's win-loss preseason record often doesn't correlate with their final regular-season record.
"It's kind of more inside how you perform," Harbaugh said. "You watch the tape as a coach, you get a good feeling or you get a not so good feeling."
Harbaugh has watched tape of the Redskins this week and came away very impressed. Washington is 2-0 so far in the preseason with close victories over the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.
"They're a good team, and all I read is how bad they are. I look at the tape and I'm like, 'Man, the people who are writing this, I don't think they're watching the tape. I don't think they're really paying attention to what this team is [doing], what kind of team this is,'" Harbaugh said.
"It's a very good football team – very physical, very disciplined. Their defense is killing people. Both sides of the ball up front are playing extremely physical football, and they have really good running backs and very fast receivers. We're really excited about the challenge of playing this team."