Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (88) is tackled by New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) during the third quarter of the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The Ravens appeared set to get tight end Dennis Pitta back this week vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers for their Thanksgiving showdown, but they have yet to activate him as the deadline to do such has passed, meaning he will not play tonight:
How quickly he can return and get get re-acclimated into the offense and get into football shape will determine if Baltimore can make it to the postseason and defend their Super Bowl title. He just started practicing last week after spending nearly five months on the sideline after dislocating his hip this summer.
Pitta is coming off a season in which he set career highs in receptions (61), yards (669) and touchdowns (seven) for the Super Bowl champion Ravens. The fourth-year pro finished the 2012 NFL postseason with 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns in four victories.
The Ravens have managed to stay alive in the postseason race at 5-6, despite having lost two of their top three receiving targets in Pitta and receiver Anquan Boldin this offseason, which has led to their passing offense struggling and running back Ray Rice hasn’t had the same open running-lanes he had when Pitta and Boldin were there.
If Pitta can return to his 2012 form, that should be enough to open up the offense more and help the Ravens win the No. 6 seed in the AFC, and have an outside shot at winning the AFC North.