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Baltimore Ravens out of playoff picture, but John Harbaugh wants 9-7 record

By The Sports Xchange

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh walks the sidelines during the first half of the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-27 win at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on December 4, 2016. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
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Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh speaks with side judge Joe Larrew (73) during the second half of an NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, November 27, 2016. Baltimore won 19-14. Photo by David Tulis/UPI
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Football fans congratulate Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after the second half of an NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, December 18, 2016. Baltimore won 27-26. Photo by David Tulis/UPI
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years and likely need to add some playmakers on both sides of the ball to avoid a similar fate next season.
A 31-27 loss to Pittsburgh ended a chance for Baltimore (8-7) to win the AFC North title, which was the only way it could advance to the postseason. The Ravens close out the regular season on Sunday at Cincinnati and Ravens? coach John Harbaugh reaffirmed the importance of getting that ninth victory.
"We do want to be 9-7," Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference. "We feel that is important. It's important to have one more win than we potentially have. You want to go win the game."
Receiver Steve Smith announced plans to retire at the end of this season. However, Smith has shown he can still be productive and has caught 67 passes for 765 yards with five touchdowns. At age 37, though, this will likely be the end of the road for Smith.
"It's going to be a big deal for him," Harbaugh said. "I think he will approach it the same way he has all year -- as a pro. It will be very meaningful."
Another receiver, Breshad Perriman, the team's first-round pick in 2015, had an uneven season after missing all of last year with a knee injury.
There are also questions about whether the team will retain Marty Mornhinweg, who is the Ravens' fifth different offensive coordinator in the past five seasons. Mornhinweg took over the job when Marc Trestman was fired after a 16-10 loss on Oct. 9.
? ?However, the offense still sputtered under Mornhinweg.
On defense, linebacker Terrell Suggs has dealt with injuries in the past two seasons, including a torn Achilles in the 2015 opener. Suggs, 34, plans to play football in 2017.
"I was always planning to come back and doing this another year," Suggs said." Suggs said.
Fellow linebacker Elvis Dumervil is 32 and has also dealt with a foot injury that kept him out eight games this season. The question is whether the Ravens decide to make another run at the playoffs with the two veterans or try to get younger on defense.
Before the Ravens address these issues, they need to close out the regular season against the Cincinnati Bengals, a division rival that has to answer many of the same questions.
"We feel very excited where are as a football team," Harbaugh said. "I know we're a very good football team. That's evident in the way we play."

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