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What Are The Ravens Playing For In Cincinnati?


The Ravens' 2016 playoff aspirations ended in Pittsburgh, but the Ravens' will to win did not.

Baltimore still has one game left on the schedule next Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, and it will make the difference between a winning and .500 season.

While the game has no playoff implications for either side, Head Coach John Harbaugh was clear in the locker room immediately following Sunday's brutal 31-27 loss and again Monday when speaking with reporters that the Ravens are looking to finish the season with a win. 

After talking about how much the loss in Pittsburgh stings, Harbaugh*emphasized in his opening statement *that all of their attention goes to Cincinnati.

"We go to work. I think that's what you do after anything, really. Win, lose, tie in life, you go back to work," Harbaugh said.

"We have a week of football left to play and we intend to make the most of it, and I know our players feel the same way."

The Ravens played multiple games after being eliminated from playoff contention last season. They still put out some strong efforts, including beating the Steelers at home with a slew of backups in Week 16.

Some players, such as quarterback Joe Flacco and tight end Dennis Pitta, who were both injured last year, have never* *played in a game that didn't have playoff implications. But they're still looking forward to Cincinnati.

"Our goal is to get to 9-7 and the Bengals will be our next test," Pitta said. "We want to win that game."

Harbaugh said that all the team's healthy players will suit up against the Bengals. He hasn't heard otherwise for veterans such as guard Marshal Yanda and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who have been playing through injuries.

One thing to never doubt about a Harbaugh-coached team, and with the kind of players the Ravens have in the locker room, is their effort, which Harbaugh pointed to Monday. Harbaugh said the players' resiliency should not be questioned.

"You know how they've handled adversity through the course of the season and through the course of the seasons, and that's not going to change," Harbaugh said.

At 8-7, the Ravens have a chance to ensure they finish the year with a winning record. They have one winning season since lifting the Lombardi Trophy in 2012.

The Ravens also have a chance to end a four-game losing streak in Cincinnati. There's also simply a desire to put together the team's best game of the year.

As Harbaugh said Monday, the 2016 Ravens are a "very good team." It's just that they haven't put it all together often enough to show how good they can be. Sunday's game in Cincinnati is a final chance for this year's unit to show that.

"You always try to do the best you can. You try to win," Harbaugh said.

"We do want to be 9-7, that's important. It's important to have one more win than we potentially could have. I don't care what the record is; we want to go win the game. Absolutely it's important. That's what we do this for. That's what it's all about, and our guys are going to be fired up to do that."

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