Updated, 3:58 p.m.
Cue up Peaches and Herb. "Reunited" should be playing over the M&T Stadium sound system around 11 o'clock Sunday morning.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan and D-coordinator Dennis Thurman were assistant coaches with Baltimore, most recently in 2008 on John Harbaugh's first staff as the Ravens' head coach. Harbaugh also was an assistant with O-coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on the Eagles. Jets safeties
But after the bro hugs will come brother vs. brother. In the parlance of the NFL, in a game like this, go with the team that has the most to lose. But which team is it?
The Jets are still in control of their AFC Wild Card destiny, since if they run the table they'll beat out Miami, the only other 5-5 team at the top of the sixth-seed pile. But a loss drops the Green & White into the pool of playoff piranhas a game behind, including the 4-6 Ravens. And a loss would further sink them to a dismal to 2-6 in conference games, a key tiebreaker.
"We have to go out there," QB
Baltimore is merely the defending Super Bowl champion trying to avoid the ignominy of not even getting back to the postseason the following year. They've lost four of their last five, all close games, to fall two games underwater, and they'd like nothing better than to right their ship in front of their loud loyalists.
Dan Dierdorf, who will be calling this game with Greg Gumbel for CBS and announced earlier this week that he's retiring from the TV booth after this year, put the purple team's task equally succinctly:
"For the Ravens, this is an all-in game."
Here are 10 things to look for in this important AFC clash:
1. Harboring Doubts? — The M&T setting is picturesque, the seafood exquisite in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area. But the place has never sat well with the Jets, who are winless in four trips and in fact have never held a halftime or second-half lead there. The last win in the city of Baltimore was by 10-6 in 1983 — over the Colts. Early signs of nerves or, conversely, of steely reserve such as no giveaways or no quick or growing deficit could foretell how we'll fare in this road test.
2. Bombs Away — The desire to go up top will be strong. The one nice thing Geno Smith did last week was find
4. Fried Rice — It's possible that Ray Rice got back on track at Chicago with 131 yards on 25 carries. On the other hand, the Birds are still 31st with 3.0 yards/carry and Harbaugh said Rice's hip flexor has been a factor "but the problems are deeper than that, different than that, and not something I really want to get into." Very cryptic.
5. He's Got to Move It, Move It — Besides deciding how to balance
|JETS-RAVENS RIVALRY FACTS||Record/Score|
|Regular-Season Series Record||Ravens 7-1|
|Last Game||Ravens 34-17, 2011|
|Last Jets Win||Jets 19-16 OT, 1997|
|Current Streak||Ravens 7 in a row|
|Regular-Season Record @ BAL||Ravens 4-0|
|Last Game||Ravens 34-17, 2011|
|Last Jets Win||None|
|Current Streak||Ravens 4 in a row|
6. Fortify the Flanks — Smith had problems at Buffalo but some were not of his making, namely many of the four sacks and four more hits he absorbed. "You need to protect the quarterback well, especially on the road," said Rex, and Geno surely agrees with that as he tries to stare down the rush of LBs Terrell Suggs (9.0 sacks) and Elvis Dumervil (8.5), both in the NFL's top 10 in sacks. But as Geno said this week, "I have full confidence in my O-line and my right and left tackle, and I know those guys are going to be prepared for the battle."
8. Middle of the Trenches — We all know how the
9. Side by Side — Against the Bills, Reed and Landry started their 60th NFL game alongside each other. The first 59 were with the Ravens from 2006-10. Look and listen for the fans' reception for two of their once-favorite sons. "I spent a lot of time down in Baltimore and plan on spending a lot of time after football in Baltimore," said Reed, "so I would hope there's a warm welcome."
10. No Tandon Ovations —
|First Downs Gained/Game||17.4||18.7|
|First Downs Allowed/Game||17.6||17.4|
|Time of Possession/Game||30:59||29:58|