OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens plan to spend the extra time before their divisional playoff game nursing their bumps and bruises. At this point of the NFL season, few players are fully healthy.
The Ravens have the luxury of having some extra time off by earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC postseason and a first-round bye.
“We’ll just get rest, maybe take some more time with your family, but obviously keep football your No. 1 [focus],” said defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. “Get rest, take care of your body and get ready to go, because it’s coming fast. The games are coming fast, so you just have to take care of your body and make sure you’re available.”
A number of Ravens players are nursing injuries and could use the extra time to make sure they are ready to compete against the next opponent.
Coach John Harbaugh has already taken the first step toward a healthy postseason roster.
In Saturday’s regular-season finale against the Steelers, which didn’t affect the Ravens’ playoff status, a number of key players were held out, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, guard Kevin Zeitler, linebacker Roquan Smith and safety Kyle Hamilton.
Harbaugh has already set the practice schedule for the next two weeks.
“Our plan is to practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday [and] Saturday,” he said. “We’ll organize those practices in the next few days. It’ll be preparation for the postseason, and that will be what we’ll do. We’ll try to push it back a little bit to have some sort of a rhythm as if we’re playing a game, say on Saturday, kind of that idea. Then we’ll have our normal game week going into the divisional game.”
Jackson, who is the leading candidate for NFL MVP, doesn’t plan to change his routine. He finished the regular season throwing for 3,678 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Jackson also led the team in rushing with 821 yards and another five scores.
“Just keep my body moving around [and] just keep being locked in like we’ve been all season and just treat it as a bye week. That’s all,” he said.