His return is good news for the Ravens because Smith has shown signs of becoming a shutdown cornerback. Over the past seven games, Smith has allowed 16 catches while breaking up six throws, according to The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel. Receivers have totaled 191 yards (27.2 yards per game) and no touchdowns during this span against the 2011 first-round pick.
Smith's successful stretch has come while defending the likes of Cleveland's Josh Gordon, Cincinnati's A.J. Green, Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, and Chicago's dynamic duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Ravens may not need Smith as much Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings (No. 24 in passing offense), but they want their top cornerback at full strength when Baltimore plays Detroit (No. 2), New England (No. 10) and Cincinnati (No. 11) to finish the season.
Here's the rest of your wake-up caw ...
Wide receiver Torrey Smith needs to average at least 63 yards per game in December to set the Ravens' single-season receiving record, which was set by Michael Jackson (1,201 yards) in the franchise's first year of existence. “I’m just looking forward to the next game,” Smith said, via Comcast SportsNet. “I’m ready to play already. I’m going to take some time this weekend to get some rest and be ready to go.”
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec believes the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers are the biggest threats to the Ravens in the race for the final wild-card spot in the AFC. In a Monday post, I have the Steelers and San Diego Chargers as the teams to watch.
Linebacker Elvis Dumervil (sprained left ankle) and wide receiver Brandon Stokley (sprained left knee) should be available Sunday after suffering injuries last Thursday night. "(Dumervil) got through the game and he came back in and played. He looks OK. We're going to have to nurse some things just like we do with a lot of different guys," coach John Harbaugh said, via the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. "Nothing structurally with Stokley. Everybody came out of the game with bumps and bruises, like we said. We expect all those guys to play on Sunday. We just have to see if something flares up between now and then."
The team's official website posted some footage of the Ravens' sideline after Jacoby Jones had to avoid Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on the sideline. Wide receiver Torrey Smith didn't believe Jones at first when he said Tomlin was on the field. He apologized after seeing the replay on the stadium video board.