The Ravens already have locked up the AFC North Division title and a playoff spot with one week left. At this point, the only question is who they'll play in the first round and which seen they'll go in as.
But heading into Sunday's season finale in Cincinnati, the Ravens aren't going to treat this as an exhibition game. A win could help them move from the No. 4 to No. 3 seed in the AFC. If so, that would set up a rematch with the Bengals in Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs.
Still, coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the Ravens want to keep winning -- for a very simple reason.
"That's how you improve," he said. "That's how you get better."
Teams won't improve by losing. Harbaugh also said teams don't stay in the same spot. Heading into the playoffs -- especially after losing three in a row late in the season thanks to a defense filled with holes from injuries -- the Ravens don't want to regress.
"We always say you either get better or you get worse," Harbaugh said. "Sometimes you're getting better and it doesn't always show up in the results all the time. The idea is there's plenty of things to work on. We've got to continue to improve to be our best that we can in the playoffs. This week's an opportunity to do that."
The Ravens turned in an outstanding effort on both sides of the ball in Sunday's 33-14 rout of the New York Giants. It's doubtful the coaches are going to want to take their foot off the gas pedal after a performance like that.
Might they wind up resting a few players? That's conceivable, depending upon the situation. However, in the end, they want to keep pushing forward because that will give the Ravens a better chance to keep improving heading into post-season play.