OWINGS MILLS — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson understands the benefits of having a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t been easy dealing with the downtime.
“I’m antsy, but I have to stay locked in knowing what’s ahead,” said Jackson, who was named First-Team All-Pro this week. “We have nothing ahead right now. We’re just practicing and trying to get better for whoever our opponent is next week. I’m definitely antsy.”
The Ravens earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs by finishing 13-4 and winning the AFC North for the first time since 2019, the same year they were also the top seed in the postseason.
Jackson and the rest of his teammates went back to work this week to prepare for the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Ravens will play either the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, or Miami Dolphins next weekend. The Ravens played all of those teams during the 2023 regular season, going 4-3. The Ravens split two games with Cleveland and got swept in the two matchups with Pittsburgh.
Coach John Harbaugh has opted for a traditional game week schedule that included a practice in pads on Friday and a non-traditional practice at M&T Bank Stadium to keep the players in a rhythm.
Harbaugh acknowledged that, like Jackson, he is eager to get back on the field for a real game.
“One part of you wants to be out there playing and going at it, and the other part of you appreciates that you’re already 1-0 for the week,” Harbaugh said. “Like I told the guys, they have earned this victory. Every one of the 13 [regular-season] victories had a part in this win this week that has been accomplished in the wild-card weekend because of what they did all season. That’s a big deal. That’s something very valuable and a very meaningful thing.
“With that, it’s not a vacation week. It’s not an off week. It’s a work week. It’s a work week to become the team that we need to be going forward into next week. Our guys have taken that really seriously.”