OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Players from the Baltimore Ravens (13-4) took Monday off, but Head Coach John Harbaugh returned to 1 Winning Drive following a 30-7 AFC Wild Card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs (10-7) 24 hours earlier at Arrowhead Stadium.
Harbaugh met with reporters Monday to look ahead to Saturday’s AFC Divisional Round playoff battle with the Ravens’ AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Heinz Field.
The Steelers will come into Saturday’s game well rested, having not played since a Week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns January 2nd. The Ravens however will play Sunday just six days after their first playoff contest.
“There is definitely an advantage to having the time off from a rest perspective” the coach said Monday.
Harbaugh did argue that the Ravens could gain an advantage over the Steelers thanks to a solid performance in KC.
“There’s probably an advantage to playing from a ‘being sharp’ perspective. We’ll try to take advantage of the things that are strengths in our factor and hope the things that are strengths in their factor will be minimized by the way that we approach what we do. I’m very confident we can get our guys rested and recovered and ready to go on Saturday.”
Harbaugh also expressed his belief that the Ravens defense will benefit from having not been taxed much in the Wild Card playoff win.
“I think it’s a factor” said the Coach. “We had 40 plays. It’s better than playing 80 plays.”
The Ravens gave players off Monday (instead of the customary NFL Tuesday off-day) and delayed practice to 3:30 Tuesday afternoon to try to create more rest.
INJURY UPDATE: Two Ravens who missed Sunday’s game probably could have been able to play, according to Harbaugh.
LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and WR/KR David Reed (wrist) both missed the playoff opener despite practicing in the week leading up to the game.
“We had some guys that were just more healthy” Harbaugh said Monday. “I think David can go. He’s getting better catching the ball, he made a lot of progress last week. Tavares could have played, but the more healthy probably gave us a little more at that point.”
Aside from Reed & Gooden, S Tom Zbikowski (back) also missed Sunday’s game due to injury. The Ravens reported nothing on their official postgame injury report, meaning no players left the game and were unable to return.
Harbaugh also noted the possibility S Ed Reed may miss some practice this week as he deals with the apparent death of his brother (Brian Reed) with family in Louisiana.
“We’ve left that up to Ed” said the coach. “I know that Ed knows this team inside and out. We haven’t talked to him yet today. So I think it’s going to kind of depend on the circumstances down there, what he feels he needs to do with his family. But we’ll give him a lot of leeway.”
NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……C Matt Birk joined Drew Forrester Monday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will call Saturday’s game for CBS……The Ravens will return to practice Tuesday afternoon, Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with reporters following practice