Major League Baseball has a daily rhythm that makes lopsided losses a quick memory. After being clobbered 14-2, a team is back on the field the next night, starting all over again. It doesn’t work that way in the NFL, and it especially doesn’t work that way heading into the bye week.
The Ravens have had nearly two full weeks to stew on the 41-17 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals Oct. 24. Now as they prepare to return to action after their bye, players say they have learned lessons from that game that they can take forward, rested and ready, into the final 10 games of the season.
The Ravens host the Minnesota Vikings (3-4) at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m.
“We know what we need to work on,” guard Kevin Zeitler said before the team’s practice on Nov. 3, admitting that the Bengals “simply outplayed us that day. They got us good.”
Now with the team back together after a long weekend off, Zeitler said, “There’s a good energy in the building, and we’re excited to crush these last 10 weeks of the season.”
The Ravens (5-2) reclaimed first place in the AFC North while on their bye, as they watched the Bengals (5-3) fall flat in a 34-31 loss to the New York Jets a week after thumping the Ravens.
“We are in first place after seven games,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We need to be in first place after 17 games. That’s what we’re shooting for. To do that, we really need to win this next game. It will go a long way toward that, and that’s how you look at it.”
The Vikings are coming off a 20-16 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys and have gone 0-2 against the AFC North this year, losing to Cincinnati (27-24 in OT) and Cleveland (14-7).
Under Harbaugh, the Ravens are 10-3 coming off a bye.
“We just want to start off right,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said, “start 1-0 this round.”
That will require the Ravens to fix errors made in that loss to the Bengals and to avoid any hangover from that game. Safety DeShon Elliott said there are no concerns about that.
“We expect better,” Elliott said. “We have high expectations of ourselves. … After a couple of days went by, we were just kind of like, ‘All right, it’s over with.’ New week, new opportunity. So we’re good. It’s our time to get back at it.”
FIVE MISS PRACTICE WITH INJURIES: Despite coming off the bye week, five Ravens missed Wednesday’s workout because of injuries: quarterback Tyler Huntley (illness), running back Latavius Murray (ankle), wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring), offensive tackle Patrick Mekari (ankle) and defensive lineman Brandon Williams (shoulder). Outside linebacker Justin Houston was given a vet day off.
In addition, defensive lineman Derek Wolfe did not practice, though he has been designated to return from injured reserve, meaning his 21-day window has begun; after 21 days, he must either return to the 53-man roster or must stay on injured reserve the rest of the season.
CB CHRIS WESTRY RETURNS TO PRACTICE: Cornerback Chris Westry has been designated to return from injured reserve and was on the practice field Nov. 3. Westry, whose strong training camp earned him a spot on the initial 53-man roster, has not played since being injured in the season opener at Las Vegas. Like Wolfe and tight end Nick Boyle, Westry has now begun his 21-day IR practice window.
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