Ravens poised for important five-game stretch

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- As a reward for playing twice in five days, the Baltimore Ravens got the weekend off to collect their thoughts, get healthy and ready themselves for a very important stretch run to end the regular season.

The Ravens (8-3) beat Cincinnati last Sunday and San Francisco on Thanksgiving to ascend to the top of the AFC North. Their next four games are against teams with losing records, but that isn't necessarily a good thing.

Baltimore's three defeats this season come on the road against sub-.500 teams following uplifting victories. The Ravens are determined to break the trend Sunday against Cleveland (4-7).

Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said Monday, "It doesn't matter how many wins and losses they have. They always play good against us. It's going to be a dogfight."