Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh's message is you want to be at your best when it means the most. That means hitting your stride in December.
"That’s what we try to do," Harbaugh said. "How do you go about doing that? That’s a thousand different things -- things that you see here every day. We’ll find out whether that is the case for this football team.”
December hasn't been the greatest month for the Ravens under Harbaugh. Since 2008, the Ravens are 12-9 (.571) in this month, which ranks 13th in the NFL. Last year, Baltimore faded in the final month of the regular season, losing four of five games in December (although the season finale in Cincinnati was meaningless).
In order to have more success this month, the Ravens have to beat two of the best December teams. Over the past five seasons, the New England Patriots are 20-2 this month (which is tops in the NFL) and the Bengals are 14-8 (sixth-best in the league).
What helps the Ravens going into December this year is extended rest. After beating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night, the Ravens had 10 days to prepare for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
"Our team got a chance to heal at this time of year going into December. That's a big plus for us," Harbaugh said. "We have December football in front of us. It's an important time of year. It's what we build our program around."