After expressing the intention to play to win the game all week, coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens do appear to be taking a halfhearted approach to doing so in the regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Ravens will rest defensive starters Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Bernard Pollard, and Ray Lewis as well as offensive starters Anquan Boldin and Marshal Yanda against the Bengals. Despite an initial report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that running back Ray Rice would not play in Week 17, the Pro Bowl running back is active and is expected to play sparingly. Rookie Bernard Pierce will receive extensive work against the Bengals’ eighth-ranked run defense.
Ngata and Yanda did not practice all week, making the decision to deactivate those two hardly surprising as they rest injuries.
Harbaugh had already announced that Lewis would not play in the regular-season finale as he was placed back on the 53-man roster earlier this week. He also provided the caveat of wanting his team to be as healthy as possible for the playoffs and it’s worth nothing that each of the six inactive starters was dealing with an injury concern that would benefit from rest.
Reports from Cincinnati also said backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor received extensive work during pre-game warmups, which is a strong indication that he’ll see time against the Bengals. Regardless of the Ravens’ plans, quarterback Joe Flacco figured to be active since Baltimore only has two quarterbacks on its 53-man roster.
Meanwhile, the Bengals have only listed one starter as inactive as cornerback Terence Newman will sit out with a groin injury.
Baltimore leads the all-time regular-season series with a 19-14 edge and has won the last four meetings between the teams. The Ravens are 7-9 in Cincinnati but won 24-16 at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 17 last season to clinch the 2011 AFC North title.
The referee for Sunday’s game will be Ron Winter.
The Ravens will wear their white jerseys and white pants in the regular-season finale while Cincinnati is wearing black jerseys and white pants.
Here are Sunday’s inactives …
LB Ray Lewis
LB Terrell Suggs
DT Haloti Ngata
WR Anquan Boldin
G Marshal Yanda
S Bernard Pollard
WR Tandon Doss
CB Jason Allen
CB Terence Newman
TE Richard Quinn
WR Dane Sanzenbacher
S George Iloka
DT Brandon Thompson
DT Devon Still