In the final game of the regular season, five starters won’t play for the Ravens despite coach John Harbaugh contending that his team would try its best to beat the Cincinnati Bengals and secure a higher seeding for the postseason.
Although linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps) was listed as probable Friday, he didn't dress along with linebacker Terrell Suggs (biceps), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), receiver Anquan Boldin (shoulder), right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder/knee) and safety Bernard Pollard (ribs).
Lewis hasn't played since Oct. 14 and was activated this past week to make him eligible for postseason play.
The Ravens (10-5) will host a home game on Jan. 5 or 6 for a wild-card game against the Bengals or Indianapolis Colts, pending being a No. 3 or 4 seed.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Harbaugh is playing it safe. Lewis is still less than three months removed from surgery that re-attached the tendon in his elbow and Suggs hasn't been very effective in the last two games. He has yet to have surgery to repair his tear.
Paul Kruger will take the place of Suggs, Ma'ake Kemoeatu steps in for Ngata, Jacoby Jones assumes Boldin's role and James Ihedigbo again fills the gap left by Pollard.
Boldin came down hard on his shoulder in last week's 33-14 win vs. the New York Giants and didn't return as the Ravens ended a three-game losing streak.
Despite fully practicing, Pollard is sitting out his third consecutive game as an injury he incurred in Week 2 continues to heal. Yanda played vs. the Giants, but he’d missed the previous game with the Denver Broncos because of an ankle.
Ngata has been banged up most of the season, missing games in Weeks 9 and 10 because of a shoulder injury. Yanda and Ngata were held out of practice all week leading into the Bengals game.
Receiver Tandon Doss (ankle) also was inactive for the second game in a row.