It’s no secret the Baltimore Ravens know Sunday’s game at Cincinnati is the regular-season finale.
However, this will be no ordinary regular season game for the Ravens, and that’s exactly how All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis is approaching it.
“This is a playoff game,” Lewis said when talking to the media on Wednesday, via CSNBaltimore.com. “We have to go finish what we started the whole year.”
With a win, and the Ravens lock up at least a No. 2 seed in the playoffs, meaning a first-round bye and the chance to host at least one playoff game. But a loss, and the Ravens will hit the road wildcard weekend as the AFC’s No. 5 seed.
The Ravens are a completely different team when they play at home compared to playing on the road. Last Saturday, Baltimore finished its home schedule a perfect 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. In fact, the Ravens have now won their last 18 of 19 games at the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium.
However, on the road it’s been a completely different story. Baltimore is a sub-par 3-4 outside of Charm City, losing to several teams they should have beaten.
Lewis also said the Ravens will need to make the Cincinnati sellout crowd a non-factor and not give the Bengals any momentum to begin the game.
“You have to calm the crowd,” Lewis said. “You can’t go make mistakes in somebody else’s stadium.”
This is exactly the type of attitude you want your captain to have if you’re the Ravens. Because the 16-year veteran has played in these types of games many of time, look for the Ravens to follow the lead of their captain and come out and set the tone early, in what will be a very hostile environment.