With First Place On The Line, Ravens Hone In On Their Division

Brother Jim and father Jack Harbaugh were at Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night.

John Harbaugh, however, was hundreds of miles away at home in Baltimore after a long weekend of watching tape, working to turn the Ravens' season around.

"We're just trying to find a way to win a game right now," John said when asked why he didn't attend the baseball game.

Harbaugh's focus of Monday's press conference was hope yet urgency.

Despite a four-game losing streak, the Ravens returned to work at the Under Armour Performance with the division lead still right at arm's length.

Baltimore sits just one game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, meaning the winner of Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium will sit atop the AFC North at 4-4 and with a head-to-head advantage over their archrival. The Bengals (3-4-1) are on a bye this week.

The traditionally-strong AFC North has just 10 combined wins so far this season, the fewest in the NFL. The AFC North is 1-6-1 in non-division games.

"Our goal is certainly going to be to win the division," Harbaugh said. "That's in front of us. It's up to us; we're going to play those teams."

The Ravens still have both games against the Steelers and Bengals ahead, as well as a Thursday night matchup with the Browns right around the corner on Nov. 10.

It's a good time to head into division play as the Ravens are getting healthier. Several key players are expected to return to the field against the Steelers.

Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) and right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) were practicing before the bye, meaning the offensive line that began the year may be back together again. The Ravens have given up too much pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco without them.

The Ravens could also get wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (ankle), inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (thigh) and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (biceps) back too. Suggs practiced before the bye and told reporters there is no way he would miss playing the Steelers.

Harbaugh didn't have any health updates when speaking to the media Monday, but said the players returned excited to get back to work.

"I just want to go out there and play well," Harbaugh said. "I want to knock some of this disappointment off. This is something you carry around with you, it's not what you want, it's not the goal. The goal is to win these games and have the kind of record that reflects how hard you work. So we're very determined to do that."

Baltimore badly needs to beat the Steelers to stay in the AFC North hunt, especially because their foes have a more favorable schedule down the stretch (at least on paper right now).

After facing the Steelers, the Ravens still have four games against teams currently over .500 this year (Dallas, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh). Three of those four games will be on the road.

The Steelers have one game against a team over .500 (Dallas) at home, and the Bengals have one (Philadelphia) also at home.

With four of the next five games in Baltimore, the Ravens have a chance to build some momentum before a tough final four-game stretch.

"I'm excited about it. I'm excited about playing two games in five days," Harbaugh said.

"We need to win these games, so I don't really care where they're being played. We needed to win two on the road the last two weeks and didn't. We need to win these at home. Really, we just need to win. That's what it boils down to."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content