Ray Lewis could return as soon as Week 15

Ray Lewis could be just weeks away from a return to the field

11/26/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Ray Lewis could return as soon as Week 15Several sources have told Yahoo Sports that Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis (torn triceps) has a chance of returning to game action on December 16th against the Denver Broncos. The future Hall of Fame linebacker was thought to be done for a season after suffering an injury in mid-October, but was given the NFL's new "designated to return" tag when placed on the injured reserve. Despite the original outlook, more than half a dozen sources are now telling Yahoo that Lewis is expected back at some point in the 2012 campaign (December 16th at the earliest).

The Ravens should be in no rush to get Lewis back, as they have just about locked up the AFC North with a 9-2 record and three game lead over the second place Pittsburgh Steelers. What the Ravens really need Lewis for is the playoffs, and it would be wise to try and get him at least a decent amount game action before the postseason, so he can be closer to "midseason form" when the playoffs begin.

The team is an impressive 4-1 without Lewis, which suggests that they are doing just fine without him, but that number may be misleading. The Ravens were smoked by the Houston Texans in their first game without Lewis, and have since gone 4-0 against minimally talented opponents. They beat the Browns by only 10 points, finding themselves down 15-14 in the fourth quarter. They dominated the Raiders at home, but so has everyone over the past three weeks. They squeezed out a narrow three-point victory over the Roethlisberger-less Steelers, and backup quarterback Byron Leftwich played much of the game with broken ribs. Finally, they beat the 4-7 Chargers in overtime because of a dump off to Ray Rice that converted a 4th and 29, which will happen about once every thousand times they try it.

The Ravens are definitely a good team, but don't be fooled by that 4-1 record without Lewis. They were destroyed by the one good team they played, and barely beat three of the four bad teams they played. The Ravens need Lewis back for both on-field and off-field support, especially if they have to go on the road in the playoffs.

Getting Ray Lewis back for the postseason would obviously be a huge boost for the Ravens' defense, and would really help out a Ravens team that struggles to put points on the board away from home.
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