Baltimore Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs missed the first six games of the 2012 season due to Achilles Tendon surgery. He also missed additional time with a biceps injury towards the end of the season. ILB Ray Lewis has not played since tearing his triceps against the Dallas Cowboys in week six.
Although both probably could have played if last week's final regular season game had meant something, they remained on the sidelines throughout the 23-17 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. An additional week of rest has helped and the team expects both Ray and Terrell to be on the field when the Indianapolis Colts come here for the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.
When #'s 52 and 55 step onto the gridiron of M&T Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon, it will be the first time they have been on the field together this season. The Ravens traditionally-dominant defense has slipped mightily in 2012 and the slew of injuries in key positions have absolutely contributed to its downfall.
However, adding back both a Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, regardless of whether or not they are at 100%, will still make opposing offenses sit up and take notice. Finding them pre-snap will become Colts QB Andrew Luck's top priority and then he must find out where free safety Ed Reed is hiding in centerfield.
That leaves the rest of the defense to step up and raise the level of their game as attention is directed elsewhere. These two players, even if their stats do not impress you, will raise the defense to its past reputation just by lining up against the opposing offense.
People may talk about the level of emotion with this being perhaps Ray Lewis' last home game, but once the game starts, it's just another football game. Make no bones about it, the combination of the two of them along with the other game-changers, such as Reed, Paul Kruger and Haloti Ngata will turn this defense into the one that Ravens fans have clamored for all season.
The timing is perfect for the return of Ray-Ray and T-Sizzle.