First-round foe: Bengals or Colts?

First-round foe: Bengals or Colts?
December 24, 2012, 7:00 pm
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Division in hand, Ravens have sights on a bigger goal

Winning Sunday doesn't hold much value for the Ravens, execpt that a 11-5 record looks much better than 10-6.

They play at the Cincinnati Bengals for the regular-season finale, a team they routed 44-13 in the opener and haven't lost to since 2010.

If the Ravens can move up to the No. 3 seed, the Bengals will come to Baltimore for a first-round playoff game for their third meeting of the season.

If they stay at the No. 4 seed, the Ravens will meet the Indianapolis Colts, who are led by coach Chuck Pagano who recently returned from leukemia treatment. Pagano was a secondary coach and defensive coordinator for the Ravens' 12-4 team that advanced to the AFC title game last season.

"It’s hard to predict all that. There is just no way to be sure. Certainly, there are percentages," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said when asked of how he'd approach the finale. "We’ve looked at all that. We understand what has to happen all across the board, as far as the way that could shake out on Sunday, but there is no way to say for sure what’s going to happen, so we’ll just have to see how it plays out."

The Colts have quarterback Andrew Luck, who set a rookie record for passing yards (4,183) last week, breaking the mark set by Carolina's Cam Newton a season ago.  The Ravens have never faced him. 

The Bengals have a second-year quarterback in Andy Dalton, who has yet to perform well in three games against Baltimore. He has completed just 54% of his passes, thrown 1 TD and 4 INTs.

In the opener this season,  Dalton failed to throw a TD pass and big-play receiver A.J. Green was held to 70 yards. Ravens safety Ed Reed returned an interception 34 yards for a score.