faceoff: should the ravens' starters play longer in the last preseason game?

Why take a chance on injury?

August 28, 2008|By EDWARD LEE

Why?

Why should the Ravens play their starters for more than a quarter tonight and jeopardize their seasons by inviting injury? Why should the Ravens sacrifice the entire regular season just to see whether their offense can score points and churn out yards against the Falcons' backups and training camp fodder?

Some of the Atlanta players won't even be in the league after Saturday. They might try to make a run at a few of the Ravens' injured starters. That's a temptation the Ravens can squash.

Let's not forget that tonight's game is a preseason contest that means absolutely nothing. If the Ravens win, will anyone remember that the team capped the 2008 preseason with a victory and a 2-2 mark? A better question might be, will anyone care?

In 2006, the Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants finished the preseason with identical 4-0 records. All three finished the regular season at 8-8. Only the Giants advanced to the playoffs, and they were bounced in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Indianapolis Colts parlayed a 1-3 preseason mark into a 12-4 regular season record and a Super Bowl win.

If you told me that a win tonight guarantees a playoff berth in January, I would say go for it. But as we all have learned, there are no guarantees in the NFL.

So sit back, prop up your feet and watch tonight's game with nary a worry. That's what the Ravens' starters should be doing.

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