OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It is the game of the year for the Ravens.
"We’re excited about a big game, obviously, against a great opponent with a lot at stake," said head coach John Harbaugh on Wednesday morning during a virtual press conference.
"We know what’s at stake and we’re up for the challenge," added safety Brandon Stephens.
Baltimore visiting (8-6) visits Cincinnati (8-6) Sunday and a Bengals team that beat them down two months ago. Sole possession of first place in the AFC North is on the line. A Ravens loss could mean curtains for their postseason hopes.
"Every week from here on out is a playoff game and we know we have a great challenge this week. They are playing very well," said guard Kevin Zeitler.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson did not practice on Wednesday, per the Ravens' injury report. His status remains day-to-day. There was no update on the health of his sprained ankle from Harbaugh.
Nobody knows Lamar better than receiver Marquise Brown.
"I haven’t got a chance to really talk to him since the game," Browns said Wednesday morning. "So, I’m hopeful for him. I know he’s doing everything he can to get back and play for us."
Just like last week, Zeitler and his teammates are forced to prepare not knowing who will lead them this Sunday. Will it be Jackson or backup Tyler Huntley?
"Lamar is doing everything he can to get healthy as fast as he can," said Zeitler. "I know he is putting the work in. But, obviously, him and Tyler are very similar. Tyler has gone out there and showed up every time. He has been out there. So, whoever ends up playing I know we’re going to have a chance."
Then there is the COVID situation. Cases are surging around the National Football League. The Ravens started the practice week with seven players from the active roster on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. They added four more on Wednesday. Four players from the practice squad are also on the COVID-19 list.
"It’s frustrating but at the same time we can only control what we can control," said Stephens. "Whatever happens happens. But, we’re trying to do our best for everybody to stay safe."
Players currently on the Ravens' Reserve/COVID-19 list from the active roster include:
Safety Chuck Clark
Offensive lineman Trystan Colon
Outside linebacker Justin Houston
Linebacker Pernell McPhee
Cornerback Jimmy Smith
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins
Cornerback Chris Westry
Safety Geno Stone (added Wednesday)
Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (added Wednesday)
Linebacker Chris Board (added Wednesday)
Linebacker Kristian Welch (added Wednesday)
Players currently on the Ravens' Reserve/COVID-19 list from the practice squad roster include:
Running back Nate McCrary
Wide receiver Jaylon Moore
Cornerback Kevin Toliver
Offensive tackle David Sharpe (added Wednesday)