EARLY BIRD: Will experience help Ravens?

EARLY BIRD: Will experience help Ravens?
December 12, 2013, 6:00 am
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Ravens know how to win the close games

EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens on Thursday, as they get ready for Monday Night Football against the Lions.

Two-minute topic: Will the Ravens’ big-game experience help them in December?

The Ravens (7-6) have been a clutch team under John Harbaugh. They have at least one playoff victory the last five seasons, and a number of returning players who were part of last season’s Super Bowl run.

Will the Ravens’ history of success help them Monday against a team like the Lions (7-6), who have lost three of their last five, and might feel the pressure of trying to clinch the NFC North? Joe Flacco believes the Ravens’ long resume of pressure-packed games helps them in stressful situations. They pulled out a wild 29-26 win over the Vikings on Sunday, and Flacco said none of his teammates panicked.

“We’ve had so much experience in tight games, and in big, meaningful games, that when we do get in situations where we have to play well down in the crunch time, the situation isn’t too big for us,” Flacco said. “We’re able to relax and just play football as we always would.”

The Lions have not won a playoff game since 1991. The Ravens have won nine playoff games since Harbaugh became their head coach. Will this be another disappointing season in Detroit, and another playoff season for the Ravens? Monday’s game will help determine that.

Morning thought: “With the exception of Week 1, Jimmy Smith has been playing lights out for us. Kind of like the pitcher with the no-hitter, you don’t talk about it. We’re going to let Jimmy be Jimmy.” Terrell Suggs, talking about the improvement of cornerback Jimmy Smith.

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