OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn't pleased with the NFL's decision to move kickoff for Sunday's pivotal game against the Cincinnati Bengals to 4:25 p.m. ET, especially if it affects the size of the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I don't think the NFL did us any favors by moving it back," Harbaugh said Tuesday. "But they don't care about us. So, we just have to care about ourselves. We have to take care of our own business. That goes for our team, for our fans and for our city. Let's go win the football game."
The NFL shifted five games from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. ET because of playoff implications. In the case of the AFC, the games involving the Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills were moved because they wanted all the teams vying for a wild-card berth to be playing at the same time. Because the Los Angeles Chargers begin late in the afternoon Sunday, Baltimore, Tennessee and Buffalo had their kickoffs pushed more than three hours later.
Now, the fear is the hometown crowd will be smaller because of conflicts with New Year's Eve plans. The Ravens have already been dealing with an increased amount of no-shows this season. Team president Dick Cass sent out a letter to season-ticket holders last week in an effort to get more fans to games.
"I don't think the NFL did us any favors by moving it back. But they don't care about us. So, we just have to care about ourselves. We have to take care of our own business. That goes for our team, for our fans and for our city. Let's go win the football game."Ravens head coach John Harbaugh
"I don't know what their considerations are at the league office, and why they do what they do," Harbaugh said. "I really don't care, other than the fact that I hope our fans are OK with it. I hope they're into it. I hope people get there. The people who have plans, I hope they give their tickets to someone else so they get there. I want the place to be packed and loud."
The Ravens (9-6) can clinch their first playoff berth since 2014 by beating the Bengals (6-9) on Sunday. Baltimore can also reach the postseason if it loses and either the Bills (8-7) or Titans (8-7) lose as well.
"It's going to take a 100 percent effort [and] everything we have to win this football game," Harbaugh said. "That's what we plan on getting ready to do. We'd sure like to have our fans out there helping us."