This week, I won’t mind that too much, because one of my favorite play-by-play guys, Ian Eagle, will be calling the game for CBS.
I like the fact that Eagle gets fancy with the pronunciation of his first name (it’s “eye-an”, not just the standard “ee-an”), but also, his level of excitement always seems to be so incredibly high, even when something incredibly random happens - like a cheerleader getting eaten by an inflatable mascot.
This Sunday, Eagle (and Dan Fouts, who will handle the color commentary for the game) could have plenty to get excited about, as the Ravens are in a position to clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Browns.
There are four scenarios which would allow Baltimore to lock up a birth even if they lose in Cleveland, but the Ravens know that if they take care of business, they can get the job done themselves.
“We’ve had a lot at stake every single week, and that’s no less this week,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Obviously, you get to the point when finally you can clinch that playoff berth. That’s right there in your hands and it’s very tangible. It’s a lot of motivation.”
A number of players on the Ravens’ roster have been to the playoffs on multiple occasions, and some are the proud owners of Super Bowl rings.
Defensive end Cory Redding belongs to neither of those clubs. A longtime member of the Lions who spent last year with the Seahawks, Redding has yet to experience the postseason party in his seven previous NFL seasons.
Needless to say, he’s excited about the opportunity to secure a playoff spot this Sunday.
“It means everything, man,” Redding said. “The focus is on 11 (wins) and just getting this win to keep our destiny alive.”
Beyond getting a win to lock up a wild card spot, the Ravens are also keeping their eyes on the bigger prize as well. If they win their final two games and the Steelers falter in one of their two remaining contests, the Ravens would still have a shot at the AFC North title and possibly a first-round bye.
“This is a big game for us, but we can’t shut it down,” linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “We’ve got one more to go [after Sunday], and obviously, you just want to get in the playoffs, but we’ve still got a shot at winning the division. If Pittsburgh can stumble and we can get two wins, that’s what our main goal is. We’d like to get that second spot. But, yeah, knowing that we can go out and get a win and clinch a playoff spot is big.”