Head Coach Marvin Lewis
On the Ravens' run defense: "I think they have done a nice job in the running game throughout. It hasn't changed as much as you would expect. When we played them last time, they were giving up 3.7 yards per attempt, and now it's 3.8. I don't think that is a big change in yards per carry for that matter."
On where the team is heading into this game: "It's a big football game, and it's what the league has designed. So, it's an important game for us. We know we've got to play a team that beat our tails the last time we played them coming in here."
On if he likes having something at stake: "I do."
On QB Joe Flacco: "I think he has done a really good job in leading them back in the games in the fourth quarter and really, he's been outstanding. He's driven them down the field to win these games, and it's been impressive."
On RB Giovani Bernard: "Gio has been outstanding for us. As you said, he's been able both to carry the ball as a rusher and make plays as a receiver out of the backfield. He's been really dynamic for us. He's converted short gains into longer gains, and he's made the tough runs. He's been a good protector. So, he has really done a nice job all season."
On how far LB Vontaze Burfict has come in terms of discipline and as a player: "Again, I can't speak to anything Vontaze [Burfict] did at Arizona State, which I guess gave him such a big reputation. I only know what he's done here, which has been just being a really good linebacker and one of the best linebackers I've ever coached. So, that's saying a mouthful."
On how important it is to finish the season undefeated at home: "It's something we'd like to do, and we've got to play really good football to do that – in all three phases. At the end of the year, it really won't matter a whole lot because whatever happens after that is what is most important. Winning this football game gives us at least an opportunity to have a week off. We can't control what happens with the Patriots, but at least we've done our job, and that's all I can ask our guys to do, as I have all year long – just take care of us."* *
On if the players are off on Christmas: "Yes."* *
On how the players are faring with injuries suffered last Sunday: "We've got some guys sore. Obviously, we're coming back on the field a day early this week in order to … I decided to do this a month ago. I told them they would have the opportunity to have their family come in for Christmas, because we'd come in on Tuesday and take care of our normal Wednesday and then come back and have the rest of the week be normal after Christmas. So, this is not something that happened this lately. They've known their schedule, the way it was going to be throughout. They handle things well. We've got a couple guys who are sore, which is to be expected. But, we've got until Sunday. We're not playing Thursday night. I think, as Sunday rolls around, we'll be back to almost full strength."* *
On RB Ray Rice's performance in 2013: "Ray Rice has been an excellent player since he was a rookie. We faced him up there in an opener … I think it was early in the year when he and Joe [Flacco] were both rookies [in 2008]. He's just been an excellent player. He's a dangerous player with the ball in his hands. You always have to account for him – both as a runner and receiver. Again, I don't see any less out of … The guy, No. 27, is still the No. 27 that we have a lot of respect for."* *
On WR Torrey Smith's progress this year: "He's an excellent receiver. The variety of the routes and the things that he does more as a receiver is probably the growth that you've seen. Initially, when he got to play, it was all the vertical throws and the vertical catches. Now, he's great on the deep overs, the intermediate routes, the comebacks in, and so forth, that he runs and he does a great job on."* *
On if the Bengals fans would be happy with their success without a playoff win:"I wouldn't."* *
On if that scenario is talked about on a regular basis:"I don't know. I have no idea what is talked about. I just know what my goals and aspirations are – to be World Champions. That's all that matters, and I don't spend any time anywhere else. So, I don't know what else is talked about. You probably know better than me."* *
RB Giovani Bernard
On how his rookie season has progressed:"I think my rookie season has gone well. I think my biggest thing is all about the team and how we were able to get this AFC North [title], and that's a good thing. For us, it's going into the playoffs and going far into it, and hopefully getting to the Super Bowl. For me, it's been progressing well, but it's just all about the team and how we're developing as a team."* *
On the importance of being a versatile back:"That is something that a lot of guys nowadays, a lot of teams, are starting to pick up on. They're trying to get that versatility-type of back. Baltimore has a guy in Ray Rice that that was one of his main facets was that he could catch the ball out of the backfield. I'm just trying to do the same. I'm just trying to be as versatile as I can be, because the more you can do, the longer you can be out on the field."* *
On what the team will be looking to do differently against the Ravens this time:"A win. (laughter) A win rather than a loss. I think for us, we came out a little flat against the Ravens that first time. We'll be at home this time, so hopefully that will help us out. But we're looking for a win, and that's our mentality going into this game."* *
On being undefeated at home:"For us, we don't think about the record. We don't think about this or that. For us, we've got to do our jobs. We've got to do our one [of] eleven, and just focusing on what each individual has to do and bring it out to the table, bring it out to the field. And once we can win those individual battles – one-on-ones – that will create bigger plays. For us, we've got to just continue to do what we've been doing and hopefully win."* *
On the Ravens' run defense:"They are a good defense. They are a defense that has been known throughout history to be one of the tougher teams to run against and pass against. So, I know they have a good defense. As for us, we try not to worry about what they're doing, and we try to focus in on what we have to do right and just capitalize on what we have to do. For us, it's just playing, playing tough and just doing what we have to do."* *
On trying to capture a first-round bye:"I think that would require a New England loss, but for us, we're not trying to worry about that. Coach [Marvin] Lewis talked about it: He said that their game is a little bit later than ours, so we have to worry about us right now, and that's winning. None of this is possible without us winning, so that's what we have to do this Sunday."