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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 10

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 10

Posted on 13 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Below are our Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 10. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2012 season using the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

To hear the full explanation for the respective lists, click HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Jacoby Jones
Jones

6) Bernard Pollard
Pollard

5) Cary Williams
Williams

4) Paul Kruger
Kruger

3) Dennis Pitta
Pitta

2) Torrey Smith
Smith

1) Joe Flacco
Flacco

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 …

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

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Harbaugh feels “most comfortable” matching up against Steelers

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Harbaugh feels “most comfortable” matching up against Steelers

Posted on 12 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Most weeks, Monday Night Football is little more than background noise for John Harbaugh, but the Ravens coach said he’d be watching closely with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the national stage.

Using a coaching eye, Harbaugh received a live look at the Ravens’ arch nemesis before preparations continued for the first of two meetings with the AFC North adversary in a matchup many believe to be the NFL’s best rivalry.

“It’s the best week of the year, because it’s where we feel our most comfortable, probably,” Harbaugh said. “It’s where I feel the most comfortable and I think our players and coaches feel the same way, because it’s a defining type of a rivalry. It means so much to both teams. We like being in this week, we love playing these guys, we love the preparation for these guys. I’d say it’s the best week of the year — both [games].”

As is the case most seasons, the fate of the AFC North will likely come down to the two head-to-head meetings as the Ravens entered Week 10 with a one-game advantage over Pittsburgh in the division. The names have changed over the years, but the games remain a marquee attraction as Pittsburgh and Baltimore meet in a nationally televised prime-time game for the sixth straight year.

This season brings an interesting wrinkle as the Ravens and Steelers meet twice over the next three weeks, a decision that’s brought much criticism from each fan base who’d prefer to have more time between the games due to the physical toll they take on each team. Harbaugh admitted the timing of his team’s two meetings with the Steelers did grab his attention when the schedule was released in late April, but he appeared more than willing to embrace the challenge during his Monday press conference in Owings Mills.

“Really, there are always quirks in the schedule,” Harbaugh said. “Every team’s got them. That’s kind of a quirk for us. We play them and then sandwiched around a trip to San Diego. That will be a big challenge for us, but everybody’s got those challenges this year. That’s ours. We just have to deal with it and make it good.”

The Ravens have won two straight regular-season meetings at Heinz Field but suffered a playoff loss in Pittsburgh to end the 2010 season. With Baltimore experiencing struggles on the road this season, Sunday night’s performance will be very telling in explaining how serious a Super Bowl contender the Ravens really are at this point.

Counting two postseason games, the Ravens are 4-6 against Pittsburgh in the Harbaugh era. The 50-year-old coach hopes to continue his team’s recent success playing on the road in the bitter rivalry.

“If you love football, there’s no greater place to be,” Harbaugh said. “Playing there in that great stadium against that great organization, those games have always been great games. We’ve always felt like it’s a rivalry. We’ll continue to consider it to be a great rivalry.”

Changing of the (left) guard?

In preparing for Sunday’s showdown with the Steelers, the Ravens will be faced with a decision at the left guard position where second-year offensive lineman Jah Reid played well in place of veteran Bobbie Williams.

Taking Williams’ place on the third offensive series of the game, Reid played in 50 of the team’s 64 offensive snaps and received positive reviews after the 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders. When asked whether Reid had supplanted Williams, who was limited in practice last week with a sore ankle, Harbaugh would not name a starter against the Steelers.

“I don’t know who will get the bulk of it, but we anticipate both of those guys playing in there,” Harbaugh said. “Jah’s got some versatility at some other positions, too. Of course, Bobbie can play the right guard as well, so it’s good to have some flexibility there.”

Reid excelled in run blocking, getting to the second level to spring running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on several positive runs. Drafted as an offensive tackle in the third round of last year’s draft, Reid has made the transition inside despite dealing with a calf injury for the better part of several months.

“A lot of good things and some other things that he can get better at,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a very physical player, he’s really athletic, he can bend, he can get his pads down. And that’s not easy to do for a guy his size. He played well. There were some pass protection technique issues that he had with pass-set things he’s got to continue to work on that he knows about. All in all, he played pretty well.”

Go, Jacoby, go

CONTINUE >>>

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Ngata, J. Smith sit as Ravens cruise to convincing win over Oakland

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Even though there was no need to look for a silver lining in the 55-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens were afforded the opportunity to rest injured defensive starters Haloti Ngata and Jimmy Smith a week ahead of their showdown with Pittsburgh next Sunday.

Both players were listed as active but did not play as they sat with nagging injuries. However, the circumstances for each player were different as the Ravens made a concerted effort to sit the Pro Bowl defensive tackle but had to make an adjustment on the fly as Smith’s sore groin would not loosen up during pre-game warmups.

“We decided to dress Haloti,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We are trying to get Haloti healthy. He didn’t practice this week much, but we felt like it would be smart to dress him because he is a difference-maker for us. We started the game out, and we were hoping that we wouldn’t have to play him, and it turned out that we didn’t have to.”

Ngata had seen limited action from his normal workload in each of the Ravens’ last two games and admitted earlier in the week that lingering knee and shoulder injuries are limiting his effectiveness. The seventh-year defensive tackle missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday before participating on a very limited basis during Friday’s workout.

The Ravens can only hope the extra week of rest makes a difference as they’ll need Ngata against a physical Pittsburgh offensive line next week. Following their trip to Pittsburgh, the Ravens then travel to San Diego before welcoming the Steelers to Baltimore on Dec. 2.

Rookie DeAngelo Tyson started at defensive tackle in Ngata’s place, knocking down two passes and registering a quarterback hit in the 35-point victory.

“It really helps to get him some rest,” linebacker Jameel McClain said. “We all know that he’s a force in this league, and he’ll be back at 100 percent. Our young guys stepping it up without Haloti is pretty impressive.”

There is growing concern over Smith’s groin injury, an ailment he’s dealt with for several weeks. The second-year cornerback attempted to ride the stationary bike to get loose and attempted to warm up again at halftime but was unable to go.

With temperatures in the low 60s, the weather was perfect for a mid-November game, making Smith’s inability to get warm something to monitor this week.

“We’re going to have to take a hard look at that Monday and just see where he’s at,” Harbaugh said. “This is the first time it has gotten to the point where he just couldn’t get loose enough to play.”

Regular nickel back Corey Graham started in Smith’s cornerback spot while young special-teams standout Chykie Brown entered the game to play cornerback in the nickel package as Graham slid to his normal inside spot.

The Ravens also made an in-game change along the offensive line as Jah Reid replaced veteran Bobbie Williams at left guard on the third series of the game and played the rest of the way. The 36-year-old Williams confirmed after the game he was healthy enough to continue playing, but the lineman has been dealing with an ankle injury sustained in last week’s win at Cleveland.

Baltimore viewed it as an opportunity to rest Williams as well as evaluate Reid, who temporarily replaced an injured Marshal Yanda for a handful of plays last week and has also served as an extra blocking tight end.

“Jah Reid has really been coming on and practicing well,” Harbaugh said. “What Jah needs is playing time. He needs experience, he needs snaps on the field, so it was our plan to start him out there in the third series no matter what and then play him as much as we could.”

Safety Ed Reed suffered a minor stinger in his right shoulder late in the second quarter when he missed the tackle on Darrius Heyward-Bey’s 55-yard touchdown catch, but the veteran returned to action in the second half.

Linebacker Courtney Upshaw also tweaked his shoulder but was not concerned about the injury after the game.

The Ravens officially reported no new injuries following the win.

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Ravens’ record day latest example why they need to play in Baltimore come January

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Ravens’ record day latest example why they need to play in Baltimore come January

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Running back Ray Rice said it best in describing the Ravens’ mindset in their 55-20 demolition of the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

With a divisional showdown looming in Pittsburgh next week, the Ravens easily could have been looking past a struggling opponent coming into their home stadium where Baltimore had won 14 straight regular-season games. Instead, they scored a franchise-record 55 points — more than any other NFL team in a game this season — and posted their largest margin of victory since 2009.

So much for a trap game, or even a lackadaisical start for that matter.

“Nobody comes into our house and stomps on our grass,” Rice said. “We knew we had to protect our home. We have a great streak going, and we had to protect it. You don’t let anybody come in your yard. We like to keep our clean-cut grass and keep our front yard, and we did that. Nobody had to call the landlord.”

Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, continuing his trend of looking like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL at home despite his well-documented road struggles.

The offense is now averaging 36.8 points per game in Baltimore as opposed to only 17.5 on the road.

Even a struggling defense put forth a respectable effort against the pass-happy Raiders, holding Oakland to 20 points despite allowing 422 total yards.

What had been an impressive trend is now bordering on the absurd as the Ravens’ last loss suffered at M&T Bank Stadium will be a few days shy of the two-year mark by the time they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town for their next home game in three weeks. Baltimore has looked every bit the part of one of the league’s best teams when they wear their purple jerseys in front of 71,000 home fans.

More than anything, the blowout win on Sunday once again reminded us how critical the final seven games of the regular season will be to the Ravens’ Super Bowl aspirations. Even with their flaws and limitations that surface on the road, Baltimore simply looks unbeatable at home.

And it’s where they’ll need to play if the Ravens truly want to take the next step in a very successful five-year run under John Harbaugh.

“I don’t care how you feel like you’re doing in one place or another place,” Harbaugh said. “You always want to be at home in that situation, so that’s a long-term goal. But, the short-term goal is more immediate, and we have a big game on the road against our divisional rival and we’re looking forward to that.”

Yes, the Ravens have concluded the junior-varsity portion of their schedule as five of their final seven games come against 2011 playoff teams. They’ll play their other two opponents — San Diego and Washington — on the road.

It’s fine to talk about a preference for playing home playoff games, but you must win on the road in November and December to be hosting games in January. Even after another convincing performance at home on Sunday, it’s still difficult to project whether the Ravens will ever be able to turn on the same switch in away games.

“It just seems like all good teams, for whatever reason, tend to play very well at home and probably not play as well on the road,” Flacco said. “Or, maybe it’s because those teams that we’re playing on the road also play well at home. But I’ve got to tell you, we’ve played some big games on the road a couple years — every year we’ve been here — and we’ve won a lot of them.”

In a roundabout way, Flacco described the challenge perfectly. It’s tough to win on the road in the NFL. In fact, it’s damn tough to do against the best teams the league has to offer.

The Baltimore quarterback is right, as the Ravens have won two straight regular-season contests in Pittsburgh and won a tough battle in Cincinnati in the 2011 regular-season finale to clinch the AFC North title. But that same road moxie hasn’t really surfaced this season beyond a few quarters of play in Philadelphia and Cleveland.

The Ravens will need to find a way to do it just enough in their final four road games to put themselves in position to utilize the best home-field advantage in the National Football League. Baltimore entered the week just a game behind the Texans, who already own the head-to-head tiebreaker via their 43-13 win over the Ravens in Week 7, but Houston isn’t battle-tested in the same way that the Ravens are. If the Texans falter the slightest bit, the Ravens need to keep themselves in position to seize the opportunity.

It starts next week where the Ravens will have undoubtedly grabbed the Steelers’ full attention after posting 55 points against a Raiders team that bested the Steelers in Oakland earlier this season.

Despite all the criticism and doubts heard over the last few weeks, the Ravens’ performance on Sunday means no one will be taking them lightly. The immense success they found against the Raiders needs to translate to real improvement on the road.

“When you put that on the board and you put that on film, you put a target on your back,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “I just think for us, like I said, this is the closest to 60 minutes that we’ve played all year as a team, and we have to build from this.”

Their Super Bowl hopes depend on it.

 

 

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Our Ravens/Raiders “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Raiders “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Anquan Boldin

4. Dennis Pitta

3. Cary Williams

2. Bernard Pollard

1. Cam Cameron (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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Was Harbaugh running up score on fake FG for TD by Koch?

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Was Harbaugh running up score on fake FG for TD by Koch?

Posted on 11 November 2012 by WNSTV

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Ravens-Raiders: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Raiders: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Returning to M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in nearly a month, the Ravens welcome the struggling Oakland Raiders to town as they try to continue their league-best 14-game winning streak at home.

The Ravens are 4-0 all-time against Oakland in Baltimore and own a 5-1 overall edge in the regular season series. Of course, Baltimore also defeated the Raiders in the AFC Championship to advance to Super Bowl XXXV during the 2000 season.

Despite being listed as questionable, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and starting guards Marshal Yanda and Bobbie Williams are active against Oakland. It will be interesting to see how limited Ngata might be after admitting earlier this week that knee and shoulder injuries are hindering his effectiveness.

With Ngata banged up and defensive end Pernell McPhee out for the second straight game, defensive linemen DeAngelo Tyson and Bryan Hall are active and will play roles in the defensive line rotation.

As we learned on Friday, the Raiders will be without their top two running backs as Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both sidelined with high ankle sprains. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour is also out with knee and hamstring injuries.

Oakland will also be without Khalif Barnes, who is sidelined with a groin injury. Willie Smith has struggled immensely in his place, so the Ravens may try to line up rush linebacker Terrell Suggs on the opposite side to see if they can get a more favorable matchup in making Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer uncomfortable.

The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys and white pants while Oakland is dressed in white tops and silver pants.

Here are today’s inactives …

BALTIMORE
DE Pernell McPhee
OL Ramon Harewood
WR Deonte Thompson
S Christian Thompson
CB Asa Jackson
RB Bobby Rainey
TE Billy Bajema

OAKLAND
RB Darren McFadden
RB Mike Goodson
DT Richard Seymour
QB Terrelle Pryor
OL Khalif Barnes
OL Lucas Nix
DE Jack Crawford

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the day as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live updates and analysis from M&T Bank Stadium.

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Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Week 10

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Here are this weekend’s picks as The Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game.

Drew Forrester finished 8-6 last week while Luke Jones was 10-4 in Week 9. Forrester is 89-41 through nine weeks and Jones is 86-44 overall. Official standings are only kept based on the NFL picks.

(Editor’s note: Drew correctly picked Indianapolis to beat Jacksonville on Thursday night while Luke was incorrect in picking the Jaguars.)

To hear their full explanations, click HERE.

Raiders at Ravens: Baltimore 37-20 (Drew), Baltimore 34-20 (Luke)
Bills at Patriots:
New England 34-24 (Drew), New England 31-17 (Luke)
Giants at Bengals:
Cincinnati 24-20 (Drew), New York 27-20 (Luke)
Chargers at Buccaneers:
Tampa Bay 24-10 (Drew), Tampa Bay 21-14 (Luke)
Broncos at Panthers:
Denver 33-19 (Drew), Denver 27-23 (Luke)
Titans at Dolphins:
Miami 17-10 (Drew), Miami 24-14 (Luke)
Falcons at Saints:
Atlanta 30-26 (Drew), New Orleans 28-27 (Luke)
Lions at Vikings:
Detroit 27-20 (Drew), Detroit 24-19 (Luke)
Jets at Seahawks:
Seattle 21-9 (Drew), Seattle 24-13 (Luke)
Cowboys at Eagles:
Dallas 24-14 (Drew), Dallas 23-16 (Luke)
Rams at 49ers:
San Francisco 30-10 (Drew), San Francisco 27-12 (Luke)
Texans at Bears:
Chicago 20-17 (Drew), Chicago 17-13 (Luke)
Chiefs at Steelers: Pittsburgh 31-7 (Drew), Pittsburgh 27-3 (Luke)

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Ravens-Raiders: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Raiders: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 10 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Looking to win their 15th straight regular-season game at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens welcome the Oakland Raiders to Baltimore on Sunday.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens try to improve to 6-1 all-time against Oakland in the regular season …

1. Ray Rice will receive his 20 carries, but he won’t have a Martin-esque game against the Raiders. Oakland’s 22nd-ranked run defense has been under fire after allowing Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin to rush for 251 yards last week, but the Raiders entered Week 9 allowing an average of 102.1 yards per game on the ground, which would rank 11th in the league right now. Rice may eclipse the century mark, but the Ravens aren’t going to go run-happy based solely on what happened against Oakland last week and will give quarterback Joe Flacco plenty of opportunities using play-action fakes against a group that might overcompensate to defend the run. Overall, the Raiders will sure up their tackling woes from a week ago to put forth a better showing against Rice.

2. Carson Palmer will throw it 50 times against the Baltimore defense. Much has been made about the injuries to Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, but the Raiders have ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards per attempt (3.6) with those running backs this season. Even against the Ravens’ porous run defense, Palmer will try to throw his way to victory against a pass rush that’s provided little punch (13 sacks). Projected starting running back Taiwan Jones won’t be much of a factor on Sunday, but he won’t receive the opportunity to be one as the former Bengals quarterback will be icing down his shoulder after the game.

3. The Ravens will score a defensive touchdown. The Raiders will have success through the air as Baltimore won’t be able to make Palmer uncomfortable in the pocket consistently, but the Ravens will find an opportunity to cash in against a one-dimensional offense at some point in the second half. I’ll go out on a limb and predict Jimmy Smith will collect the first “pick-6″ of his career as the law of averages suggests Palmer will give one back to the Ravens if he throws as much as everyone anticipates.

4. It will be a big day for tight ends for both teams. Raiders tight end Brandon Myers leads his team with 39 receptions, and Baltimore linebackers have struggled to cover tight ends this year. With safeties trying to provide help over the top against Oakland’s speedy receivers Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, Myers should find plenty of openings underneath. Meanwhile, coach John Harbaugh expressed a desire for the tight ends to be more productive and Dennis Pitta said this week he would like to see more opportunities for him and Ed Dickson. The Oakland defense hasn’t had a great deal of difficulty against tight ends this season, but expect offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to implement play-action fakes to get Pitta and Dickson on track to start the second half of the schedule.

5. Baltimore improves to 7-2 with a 34-20 victory over the Raiders to complete the junior varsity portion of the schedule. The Raiders are missing their top two running backs, are traveling to the East Coast to play a 10:00 a.m. game on their regular clocks, and aren’t a good football team anyway. The Baltimore offense has been an elite group in home games this season (32.25 points per game) and faces an underwhelming defense missing veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour. The Ravens could start slowly if they’re guilty of looking ahead to next week’s meeting with the Steelers, but they’ll ultimately take care of business against Oakland in a fairly comfortable fashion. The schedule gets much more uncomfortable from here as the Ravens will have five of their last seven games against 2011 playoff teams.

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Ngata, Yanda, B. Williams listed as questionable against Raiders

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Ngata, Yanda, B. Williams listed as questionable against Raiders

Posted on 09 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens ruled three starters questionable for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders after defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and guards Bobbie Williams and Marshal Yanda returned to the practice field on Friday.

As expected, defensive end Pernell McPhee has been ruled out after missing practices all week and missing last week’s game in Cleveland. He continues to recover from thigh and knee injuries.

Ngata, Williams, and Yanda worked on a limited basis after sitting out workouts on Wednesday and Thursday, improving their chances to see action as the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in nearly a month.

“They were out there today, so I do think it helped them,” Harbaugh said. “They got a little rest and got healed up a little bit.”

This marks the third straight game that Ngata has been listed as questionable after he was able to play against Houston in Week 7 and against the Browns last Sunday. The big defensive tackle decline an interview after Friday’s practice but admitted earlier this week that he’s been limited with knee and shoulder injuries.

Yanda deemed himself “great” after making it through Friday’s practice. He tweaked his knee and ankle in the 25-15 win over Cleveland.

“I just had to get a flow of things and tempo [practicing] and do it that way. I’ll be good to go.”

Williams said he expected to play Sunday but was taking his left ankle injury — the opposite of the one he had surgery on last year — day by day.

Safety Ed Reed practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day Friday and was listed as probable for Sunday’s game despite dealing with shoulder and knee injuries.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders will be without their top two running backs against Baltimore as Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson were both ruled out with high ankle sprains. Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour was also ruled out with knee and hamstring injuries.

BALTIMORE
OUT: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), G Bobbie Williams (ankle), G Marshal Yanda (ankle)
PROBABLE: LB Josh Bynes (thigh), S Sean Considine (chest), LS Morgan Cox (shoulder), LB Dannell Ellerbe (finger), WR Jacoby Jones (toe), DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee), T Michael Oher (ankle), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder/knee), CB Jimmy Smith (abs), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle)

OAKLAND
OUT: RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFaddden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), CB Shawntae Spencer (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: T Khalif Barnes (groin)
PROBABLE: T Willie Smith (knee), FB Marcel Reece (hamstring), TE Richard Gordon (hamstring), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), LB Miles Burris (elbow), LB Keenan Clayton (shoulder), DT Desmond Bryant (cardiac), DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder), DE David Tollefson (shoulder), CB Coye Francies (thumb), S Mike Mitchell (finger), S Matt Giordano (hamstring)

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