Quick Links

Ravens hold final practice before heading south

201301261100396415429-p2.jpeg

Ravens hold final practice before heading south

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) The music blared in the Baltimore Ravens locker room Saturday as the players threw their football gear into black duffel bags lying in front of their cubicles.

Next stop, New Orleans.

After one final practice at their own training facility, the Super Bowl-bound Ravens will take Sunday off before heading for the Big Easy on Monday afternoon in anticipation of their matchup on Feb. 3 against the San Francisco 49ers.

``We're right where we want to be,'' wide receiver Torrey Smith said. ``Now we have an opportunity to play in the big one. But at the end of the day, we're still getting ready for a football game.''

Coach John Harbaugh conducted practice from Thursday through Saturday as if it was a normal work week. They went hard on Thursday and Friday and eased up Saturday.

``We've had a great week. We had an excellent practice,'' Harbaugh said after the closed two-hour session. ``The guys are very sharp and they're excited. We'll have to go down there and do just as well (or) do better.''

The next time the Ravens hit the practice field, it will be in New Orleans. This week, at least, there were no distractions.

``I think it's always important to have a good practice no matter what,'' Harbaugh said. ``You've got to practice well to play well. You pretty much play the way you practice. That's something that we learned when we were kids and that's not going to change.''

It was final practice at the team's training complex for Ray Lewis, who intends to retire after the Super Bowl. Center Matt Birk has made no such announcement, but there is a possibility the 36-year-old is also preparing for his last game.

``I don't think like that,'' Birk said. ``I just try to live in the moment. That's just kind of my mindset. I don't think about the future or if this could be it. It drives my wife nuts, but that's just not how I operate.''

Now in his 15th NFL season - the fourth with Baltimore - Birk's knees are scarred from several operations and he had surgery during the offseason to repair varicose veins in his legs. But he played in all 16 games during the regular season and remained solid in the middle of the offensive line during the postseason.

``I'm not sure about Matt's plans,'' Harbaugh said. ``If he decides to come back next year that would be awesome. He's smart, he's tough. To my eye, he's playing the best football that he's played since he's been here, right now. To have that be true at the end of a (long) season is very impressive. We would not be where we are without Matt Birk.''

Looking ahead to the challenge next Sunday, Harbaugh called the 49ers ``a very well-coached football team.'' He said it with a grin, because San Francisco is coached by his little brother, Jim.

Quick Links

Preview and prediction for Week 3: Ravens at Jaguars

Preview and prediction for Week 3: Ravens at Jaguars

What: Ravens (2-0) at Jaguars (0-2)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville

Five questions you should ask:

1. Can the Ravens get their rushing attack going?

Jacksonville ranks 25th in run defense, and Melvin Gordon of the Chargers ran for 102 yards against the Jaguars last week. If Justin Forsett and Terrance West can’t combine for at least 100 yards, it will raise more concerns about the state of the Ravens’ running game.

RELATED: Dumervil one of 3 questionable for Ravens

2. Can the Ravens’ secondary control Jaguars receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson?

Both Hurns and Robinson caught a touchdown pass last year in Baltimore, when the Jaguars beat the Ravens. Expect Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to test Ravens’ corners Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright, looking to strike with some big plays.

3. Will Jaguars running back Chris Ivory be a problem for the Ravens?

After missing the first two games with an undisclosed illness, Ivory is expected back against the Ravens. A 1,000-yard rusher with the Jets last season, Ivory is a physical runner who the Ravens will have to gang tackle.

4. Will the Ravens’ offense have another sluggish start?

The Ravens don’t have a first quarter touchdown yet this season. It hasn’t stopped them from going 2-0, but another slow start, especially on the road, could lead to a deficit from which they don’t escape. Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and quarterback Joe Flacco both want to see the offense start faster.

5. Do the Ravens keep banking wins in September, before the schedule gets tougher?

The Ravens haven’t been 3-0 since 2009. No matter how favorable the schedule has been, there’s nothing wrong with stacking wins early. The Jaguars figure to be desperate, and road wins in the NFL are rarely easy. The Ravens may need their best game so far to leave Jacksonville with a win.

Prediction

The Jaguars are more desperate, but I think the Ravens are the better team. I see Justin Tucker winning a close game with a late field goal.

Ravens 23, Jaguars 20 

MORE RAVENS: Fantasy Football: Updated Week 3 rankings

Quick Links

Ravens Week 3 Injury Report: Dumervil questionable, did not practice Friday

Ravens Week 3 Injury Report: Dumervil questionable, did not practice Friday

Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil did not practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Jacksonville.

Dumervil missed much of training camp and the first two games after recovering from offseason foot surgery, but he returned to practice on a limited basis earlier this week.  

On the Ravens' official injury report for the game, rookie running back Kenneth Dixon (knee) is out. In addition to Dumervil, guard John Urschel (shoulder) and tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) are questionable.

RELATED: RAVENS LOOKING TO PUT 2015 LOSS TO JAGS BEHIND THEM

Stanley, though, was a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday and he said earlier this week that he intends to play on Sunday. Urschel practiced fully all week but has been inactive in both games thus far.

Dumervil said earlier this week that he hoped to play Sunday.

Before this season, Dumervil had missed just one game in three seasons with the Ravens. The Ravens have struggled to get pressure off the edge in the first two games. Four of the team's five sacks through two games have been recorded by defensive linemen.

One notable absence at Friday's light walk-through practice was starting center Jeremy Zuttah. Coach John Harbaugh did not elaborate on his absence except to say it was not injury-related. Zuttah has struggled at times this year, and Urschel or Ryan Jensen could be options to play center.

Dixon, who suffered a knee injury in the third preseason game, has not returned to practice but was seen running sprints on a far field on Friday. Earlier this week, coach John Harbaugh said Dixon "seems to be on schedule" to return, without giving a specific timeframe.

For Jacksonville, starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum has been declared out with a concussion, as has backup tight end Ben Koyack (knee). Five Jaguars are listed as questionable: cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring), safety Tashaun Gipson (hamstring), running back Chris Ivory (general medical),  center Brandon Linder (knee) and defensive end Jared Odrick (tricep).

RELATED: FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 RANKINGS