Ravens expected to rest Ray Rice today

The Ravens are going to play it safe today in the regular-season finale instead of play for the No. 3 seed.

Baltimore is expected to rest running back Ray Rice against the Bengals on Sunday, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. This means rookie Bernard Pierce, who had his first 100-yard rushing game last Sunday, will make his first career start. You will likely hear of more starters for the Ravens not playing as it gets closer to the 1 p.m. kickoff.

The Ravens (10-5), who have already clinched the AFC North title and are currently the No. 4 seed, could improve to No. 3 if they beat the Bengals and the Patriots lose at home to the Dolphins. But Baltimore won't know the result of the New England-Miami game because it's a 4:25 p.m. start.

There is no way the Ravens can get a top-two seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. So, coach John Harbaugh is deciding to give as many starters a bye today by resting them.

Sitting starters shouldn't come as a surprise for the Ravens. Harbaugh regularly doesn't play his starters in the final preseason game to give them extra rest before the regular season.