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Ravens Nest: It’s time for the Ravens’ receivers to step up

Ravens news and links for 12-21-17

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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CHRIS MOORE, YOUNG RAVENS WIDE RECEIVERS MAY NEED TO STEP UP — BaltimoreRavens.com

When Ravens wide receiver Chris Moore caught a 30-yard touchdown in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, he not surprisingly got a text from his mother.

She was excited that he finally made a big play (the longest of his two-year NFL career) considering most of what he did in college was go deep.

“But that’s not enough for her,” Moore said. “She wants a 60- or 50-yarder. She’s expecting more.”

Moore’s mother shares that desire with Ravens coaches and fans, and Moore may need to deliver this weekend and down the Ravens’ regular-season stretch if Jeremy Maclin can’t play.

Maclin is day-to-day with a knee injury that knocked him out of last week’s victory in Cleveland. If he can’t suit up this Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts, it leaves an open starting wide receiver spot.

Destination K.C.? NFL's most likely playoff matchup is Ravens at Chiefs — ESPN.com

But, if everything goes as expected, the Ravens will be planning for the Kansas City Chiefs in a few weeks.

The NFL's most likely playoff matchup is Baltimore playing at Kansas City. ESPN's Football Power Index has it at a 67 percent chance of occurring.

The reason is the Chiefs appear locked in as the No. 4 seed and the Ravens are the favorites to be No. 5. Baltimore (8-6) can move into the fifth seed if it wins its last two regular-season games, and the Tennessee Titans (8-6) lose out. This is considered likely based on the teams that the Ravens and Titans have to face.

EISENBERG: RAVENS FLYING UNDER THE RADAR (AGAIN) AS A SERIOUS PLAYOFF THREAT — BaltimoreRavens.com

Understandably, the broadcasters on various networks talked mostly about the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers because those teams played a terrific game Sunday and it appears they’ll secure the AFC’s top two seeds. Among other likely AFC qualifiers, the Jacksonville Jaguars also received attention for making the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

But the rest of the AFC contenders received somewhere between perfunctory recognition and none at all.

The Ravens may have ginned up more local enthusiasm by winning four of their past five games, but nationally, as playoff candidates, they’re flying so far under the radar their feet are touching the ground.

Eric Weddle, “I’ve never worked as hard as I did this past year” — Baltimore Beatdown

Weddle’s posted six interceptions on the season, and forced two fumbles. He also trotted one of the aforementioned interceptions 45 yards for a touchdown. Add in the sixty tackles and eight passes defensed, and this may also earn the All-Pro voters attention. All this quality play wasn’t a few lucky breaks, according to Eric himself, it’s due to the incredible work he’s put into his craft.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Weddle said. “You never take for granted, 1) to play in this league, and 2) to try and play at a high level. I’ve never worked as hard as I did this past year to try and get better from last season and help this team and lead even more so. I’m ecstatic, because I’ve done so much over the last year to get back to this point, to help my team win, and to hopefully get back to the playoffs.”