The Baltimore Ravens are coming off their 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the Wildcard round of the playoffs just about as healthy as they have been all year. Baltimore listed 16 players on the injury report this week, but are healthier than that number suggests.
Of the 16 players on the injury report, only four were not full participants in practice:
- Full Participants – WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder), WR Tandon Doss (ankle), LB Adrian Hamilton (illness), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdominal), LB Terrell Suggs (achilles,bicep), and G Marshal Yanda (shoulder).
- Limited Participant – LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle).
- Did not Practice – FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), RB Bernard Pierce (knee), and G Jah Reid (toe).
Only two guys who were limited or did not participate are of any concern in regards to missing Saturday's Divisional Round matchup against the Denver Broncos. Ellerbe left Sunday's game with a sprained ankle and has been dealing with the ankle injury since late November. He did practice Tuesday as well, so it does not appear that he will miss the game, but his status and or amount of playing time should be monitored. Pierce was limited all of last week in practice with an ankle injury and ran for a game high 103 yards against the Colts on Sunday, but this week he is listed with a knee injury, so his status will be something to pay attention to, although there does not seem to be much concern that he will not be able to go on Saturday.
Reid, who missed last week's game against the Colts is likely to miss this week too, which may be a blessing in disguise as that will keep the offensive line that played against the Colts on the field for this week's matchup against the Broncos. The O-Line played one of, if not their best games last week with the addition of Bryant McKinnie at LT and moving Michael Oher to RT. Lastly, Leach not participating in practice is of little to no concern, as he has been given days off periodically over the last few weeks.
Despite getting thumped by the Broncos at home in week 15, the Ravens are going into this game with a lot of confidence, mostly due to their health as when these two teams faced each other a few weeks ago, several marquee Ravens were not playing, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Let's just name some of the guys who were absent in week 15: on the offensive side of the football Pro Bowl G Marshal Yanda and TE Ed Dickson did not play and WR Torrey Smith and RB Bernard Pierce left the game due to concussions. On the defensive side of the football, just to name a few, S Bernard Pollard, LB Ray Lewis, LB Dannell Ellerbe and LB Jameel McClain thus leaving third and even fourth string linebackers for Peyton Manning and the offensive line to toy with. There are not many so called "experts" out there giving the Ravens any chance at winning this game and Baltimore is listed as a nine point underdog, but with a much more healthier defense and offense I like Baltimore's chances at shocking the world on Saturday.
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