Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he’ll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.
RUNNING IT BACK
Years later, the murder case in 2000 still echoes for linebacker Ray Lewis and the families of the victims. ... Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is pondering his football mortality amidst another injury-riddled season. ... The Ravens need to better defend play-action passes against the Denver Broncos. ... Tight end Dennis Pitta has become a tough man to cover. ... Running back Bernard Pierce and fullback Vonta Leach returned to practice Thursday. ... Mike Preston writes that the time has come for quarterback Joe Flacco to prove his worth.
RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US
Against the Broncos this time, the Ravens defense will be near full strength. ... Peyton Manning has gotten the better of the Ravens most of the time, in case you hadn't heard. ... The Ravens say they aren't worried about Ray Rice's fumbles. ... Rookie running back Bernard Pierce could be a playoff difference-maker.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
The ride has been bumpy for top seeds in the NFL playoffs in recent years. ... Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard has become an inspirational leader for the Denver defense. ... Manning is counting on the fans to help out the Broncos on Saturday. ... Running back Knowshon Moreno has hurdled back into the spotlight. ... The Broncos are expecting the best from Rice.
SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE DAY
OUTSIDE OF BALTIMORE
The Cleveland Browns hired Rob Chudzinski to be their next head coach. ... Chudzinski could hire Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator. ... The Dallas Cowboys are interested in Monte Kiffin for their defensive coordinator opening. ... Running back Chris Rainey was arrested for simple battery on Thursday, so the Pittsburgh Steelers cut him. ... San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is sticking with kicker David Akers over Billy Cundiff.