The final push for a playoff spot begins now as the Ravens face the Miami Dolphins in an AFC matchup with major ramifications in a crowded wild-card picture that features six teams with 7-5 records.
The latest distraction in a difficult 2014 season came earlier this week in the form of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata being suspended for the remainder of the regular season after testing positive for Adderall. The Ravens are expected to use rookie defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan in Ngata’s place, but veterans such as Terrence Cody — who is active for the first time this season — and Lawrence Guy could find themselves in the mix at the 3-technique tackle spot.
As expected, running back Justin Forsett (knee) is active and will start against Miami despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week. The plan all along was for the Ravens to rest Forsett, wide receiver Torrey Smith (knee), and center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) this week before they returned to practice on Friday, and all three are active for Sunday’s game.
However, reports from Miami indicated Smith was limping noticeably during pre-game warmups, making one wonder how much of a factor he’ll be against the Dolphins on Sunday. The fourth-year wideout was listed as a full participant in Friday’s practice after sitting out the previous two days.
Rookie tight end Crockett Gillmore (back) and rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro (hamstring) were both deactivated for Sunday’s game after being designated as questionable to play against the Dolphins. Gillmore’s back injury only appeared to get worse as the week went on, prompting the Ravens to promote tight end Phillip Supernaw from the practice squad. Campanaro was a full participant in practices this week, but the Ravens are being extra cautious with the 5-foot-9 receiver who hasn’t played since Oct. 26.
After being activated from injured reserve-designated to return on Saturday, cornerback Asa Jackson will see his first live-game action since suffering a serious turf toe injury against Indianapolis on Oct. 5. The third-year defensive back is expected to see significant time in trying to provide a boost to the league’s 31st-ranked pass defense.
Second-year linebacker Arthur Brown is active for just the third time this season while rookie safety Terrence Brooks is inactive for the third time in 2014.
Miami will be without starting cornerback Cortland Finnegan (ankle), who is inactive after being listed as doubtful on the final injury report of the week.
Tight end Charles Clay is active despite being limited with a hamstring injury this week and missing the Dolphins’ last two games.
The Ravens and Dolphins will be meeting for the 10th time in the regular season with Miami holding a 5-4 advantage but Baltimore owning a 2-0 postseason edge. In the John Harbaugh era, the Ravens are 4-0 against the Dolphins including a postseason victory in Miami in 2008 and a 26-23 win at Sun Life Stadium last season.
Sunday’s forecast in Miami calls for sunny skies with temperatures reaching 80 degrees and winds up to nine miles per hour, per Weather.com.
The referee for Sunday’s game will be John Parry.
The Ravens will be wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Miami dons its white tops with white pants.
Below are Sunday’s inactives:
WR Michael Campanaro
S Terrence Brooks
CB Rashaan Melvin
C Gino Gradkowski
OL Jah Reid
TE Crockett Gillmore
DE DeAngelo Tyson
CB Jamar Taylor
CB Cortland Finnegan
RB LaMichael James
LB Jonathan Freeny
LB Chris McCain
OT Nate Garner
G Billy Turner