The Ravens better pack the shades this weekend.
The team is in store for a hot, sunny weekend when they arrive in Tampa for Sunday's matchup against the Buccaneers. The current forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid-80s for the 1 p.m. kickoff, and the projected high is 89 degrees.
It will be a stark contrast from Baltimore's mild fall weather during this week of practice.
"Heat is a concern," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I've heard it's going to rain and storm, so who knows what's going to happen. With Florida, I guess you can expect that. It's a concern because we're not real acclimated to it."
To get ready for the hot temperatures, Harbaugh was even interested in cranking up the heat in the team's fieldhouse and having them practice indoors this week. They ultimately opted against that approach because they wanted to work outside on the grass, which takes less of a toll on players' legs compared to the artificial turf.
"We talked to the leadership council, and they just wanted to be on the grass," Harbaugh said. "They felt better about being on the grass. The turf takes it out of their legs a little bit and we just felt like that was more important."
Sunday's game will likely be the hottest weather the Ravens have played in all season. The Week 4 matchup against the Panthers was also on a hot afternoon – the temperature was 78 degrees at kickoff – and the Ravens won that game 38-10.
"We did fairly well in the heat against the Panthers," defensive tackle Brandon Williams said. "I just feel like everybody is hydrated and everybody knows what it's going to be, so everybody is taking every precaution to make sure they're at their best. If it's hot, raining or whatever, we'll be prepared for it."
Traveling to Florida for a balmy mid-October game is nothing new for the Ravens. They did the same thing in Week 5 last year when they traveled to Miami, and the Ravens ended up wearing down the Dolphins for a 26-23 victory.
"It was as hot as it could possibly be. Our guys handled it really well, and matter of fact we were stronger at the end than they were," Harbaugh said.
"We believe in our conditioning. We believe in our strength, toughness. I believe that we'll be in good shape."