When this year's schedule came out, one of the items quarterback Joe Flacco wanted to check was the date for the Ravens' trip to Miami.
Flacco had no qualms with an early December trip to South Florida.
"You hope that it's late in the season, because if it's in September you're not really getting anything out of that," Flacco said with a laugh after Wednesday's practice. "The fact that we're playing them in December is not lost on me yet."
The visit to Miami at this time of the year will be a welcomed change for the Ravens. Temperatures are expected in the mid-70s, low-80s for Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff, compared to the 30-degree weather in Baltimore this week.
"I'm okay with playing in 80-degree weather," running back Justin Forsett said. "I have no complaints with that. I grew up in Florida, so I'm excited to get back into that weather. I don't have to worry about wiping ice off my window."* *
"I think it's a plus for me," wide receiver Jacoby Jones added. "I can move faster. I like to play in the heat. I don't think it's a bad thing for us."
A sudden change to a warm climate can pose a challenge for northern teams, as the quick adjustment to a hot environment can be taxing on the body. A number of players stressed the importance of hydrating throughout the week.
But the Ravens have a history of playing well in warm weather cities. Their best overall game of this season was a 48-17 victory over the Buccaneers in Week 6 on a hot afternoon in Tampa Bay. The pass rush notched five sacks, and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs attributed part of the success to the weather.
"Everybody thought it was going to be hot and hinder us, but it kind of got us going. If we could play in heat like that all the time we could probably have a pass rush like that all the time," he said after the game.
The Ravens have also won three-straight games in Miami, including an early October victory last year where temperatures reached the low 90s.
"We've played down there a pretty good amount," Flacco said "We've played there in the playoffs where we had to deal with having it be pretty cold up here and not [cold] down there. For three hours on a Sunday, I think you can deal with it, and go out there and play pretty well."