AFC NORTH: Ravens bracing to face Reed
September 22, 2013 1:50 AM

On a day when the Ravens induct linebacker Ray Lewis into their Ring of Honor, another former member of the team’s esteemed defense makes his return to Baltimore.

The circumstances will be vastly different.

Lewis will be hailed today for a sensational 17-year career and for spending all of it in Baltimore.

Ed Reed was also a key player on the 2012 world champions, and for 11 years he served as a standout free safety with the Ravens. Today, he will be the enemy.

After missing two games with an ailing hip, the 35-year-old Reed is expected to make his debut with the Texans (2-0).

“I’m feeling a lot better and trying to push it a little bit more to see exactly how I feel if I go full throttle,” Reed said Thursday, acknowledging his availability will be a game-time decision.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco can hardly imagine what it’s going to be like to see Reed in a Houston uniform.

“I knew Ed Reed as a Baltimore Raven before I started playing on the Baltimore Ravens,” said Flacco, now in his sixth season. “We’ve faced old teammates before. But the fact that all the fans know him as a Baltimore Raven, and the fact that I was a fan of his at one point, yeah, it probably makes it a little bit different.”

The Texans have been living dangerously, needing to overcome deficits with late rallies in their two wins. Then again, that’s the sign of a resilient — and perhaps championship — team.

GREEN BAY (1-1) AT CINCINNATI (1-1): Both teams come off strong performances after opening losses. The Packers’ offense has been in sync from the beginning, but their defense has been spotty and must contend with Cincinnati’s versatile attack. Rookie Giovani Bernard has added flash to the running game, which already had the power of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Green Bay got a real boost from John Starks after first-round pick Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion. Starks, one of the heroes of the 2010 championship team, rushed for a career-best 132 yards last weekend, but the Bengals are stingy against the ground game.

CLEVELAND (0-2) AT MINNESOTA (0-2): In Minnesota, they are thinking it’s time for 2012 MVP Adrian Peterson to have a breakout game and get the Vikings out of their funk. Peterson is third in league rushing with 193 yards, not close to his 2,000-yard pace of last season.

The Browns might not be the best team to do that against, ranking fourth against the rush and sixth in overall defense. Their problem is a weak offense that is down to journeyman Brian Hoyer starting at quarterback for injured Brandon Weeden, and they just traded running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis.

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