Ravens aren't overly concerned about being underdogs

Colts are favored by 6 1/2 points in Saturday's game

January 13, 2010|By Dan Connolly | dan.connolly@baltsun.com

For the second consecutive week, the Ravens are playoff underdogs, this time getting 6 1/2 points from Las Vegas oddsmakers for Saturday's divisional-round game in Indianapolis.

It's a role the Ravens are accustomed to, and they knew it wouldn't change as they prepare to face the No. 1-seeded Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It's one of those things we have talked about all season," cornerback Chris Carr said. "Yeah, we have lost a lot of close games, but we know how much talent we have in this room and we feel like we can beat anybody."

That's a sentiment shared by at least one of CBS' announcers for Saturday's game.

"Baltimore is the team I just don't want to see in the playoffs if I'm the opponent," analyst Dan Dierdorf said during a conference call Tuesday.

"They just bring such a physical style. Baltimore is finding themselves right where they were last year. They had to go play the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year, the team with the best record in Tennessee, and knocked them out of it. I think Baltimore goes to Indianapolis with a lot of confidence."

Ultimately, Carr said, the only thing that matters once the game starts is the play on the field. Underdog labels and assumed pressure will disappear.

"Everybody can say we can win, but we could go out there and lay an egg," Carr said. "And everybody can say we are going to lose and we go out there and play well. So it just matters how we prepare and how we perform."

Flacco gimpy, but practicing
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (right hip) looked stiff and gimpy during the brief portion of practice open to the media Tuesday, but he was participating fully in warm-ups and practicing handoffs. Flacco, who is dealing with a bruised hip, was joking and laughing with teammates, but a slight hitch in his stride was noticeable.

He is expected to address the media today.

"Joe is fine," wide receiver Mark Clayton said. "I don't ever worry about Joe. He'll be good to go, moving around and making plays."

Heap dresses, runs routes
Tight end Todd Heap, who suffered back spasms in the Ravens' 33-14 wild-card victory over the Patriots, was dressed for practice and participated fully. He jogged several routes and caught several balls during warm-ups with the rest of the tight ends. The team practiced in sweats and jerseys, without shoulder pads or helmets.

"Right now, I'm taking it day-to-day," Heap said. "I want to see if I can get as many reps as possible and practice as much as I can. We'll see how it feels [today]."

He doesn't expect to miss Saturday's game.

"There's not too much going to keep me out of the playoff game," he said. "I'm looking forward to it, and I'm sure I'll be ready to go."

Jim Harbaugh gets a pass
Ravens coach John Harbaugh's younger brother, Jim, has been a frequent presence on the Ravens' sideline since his season coaching Stanford ended.

But John Harbaugh said his brother won't be there Saturday when the Ravens face the Colts, whom the younger Harbaugh played for from 1994 to 1997 before spending 1998 with the Ravens. Jim Harbaugh was inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor in January 2005.

"I don't think he is going to make it," John Harbaugh said when asked which sideline his brother would be on. "I think he's got a strategically planned recruiting weekend."

End zone
Ray Rice's 83-yard touchdown on the first snap of Sunday's game ranks as the second-longest run in NFL playoff history behind only Fred Taylor's 90-yard scoring run for the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Miami Dolphins in January 2000. ... The Ravens are normally off Tuesdays, but they held practice because of the short week. ... Flacco turns 25 on Saturday, and Harbaugh quipped that he would be getting him "a bus ticket to the stadium" for his birthday.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jamison Hensley and Kevin Van Valkenburg contributed to this article.

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