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With rain in forecast Sunday, Ravens are preparing for 49ers and bad weather

Baltimore Sun logoBaltimore Sun 11/29/2019 By Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun
a group of people standing in front of a building: Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks with reporters at the Under Armour Performance Center as the Ravens get ready for the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. © Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks with reporters at the Under Armour Performance Center as the Ravens get ready for the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019.

BALTIMORE — The NFL’s best game of Week 13, if not the season altogether, could get sloppy.

According to the National Weather Service, there’s a 100% chance of rain Sunday in Baltimore, with showers expected to start around midnight and continue throughout the Ravens’ 1 p.m. kickoff against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Ravens have had experience with inclement weather this season. They overcame dropped passes and some sloppy play to knock off the Seahawks in Seattle, 30-16. And after struggling with fumbling problems late last season, the team has become one of the more sure-handed in the NFL, ranking 10th in fumbles per game (1.1) and sixth in fumbles lost per game (0.4).

Rainy weather “really affects the footing, obviously, for every player on the field,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Friday. “That can work as a positive or negative to anybody, really. I don’t think it’s specifically harder on the defense. People like to say that, but it really requires you to play imbalanced throughout the game, getting in and out of cuts, that kind of thing.

“You’ve got to make sure your footwear is correct, but really, it comes down to being great with the ball-handling. That’s where it impacts the game, so you’ve got to really focus in on the ball-handling.”

Roman said Friday that the Ravens practiced with wet footballs Thursday, and special teams coach Chris Horton said the team’s specialists “find ways to kind of mimic those situations” as they prepare.

“They kind of sit back and they think about how we’re going to get this done,” he said. “I think I can recall back in Seattle, when we had some weather, they kind of had a plan for how they were going to approach that, and they did a great job, so they’ll be ready to go.”

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told San Francisco radio station KNBR on Wednesday that, with the speed of his team, he’d prefer not to play in slow conditions. In Week 6, San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had his worst game this season amid a constant downpour and strong winds in Landover, finishing 12 for 21 for 151 yards and an interception against the Washington Redskins.

“We’ll see how it is on Sunday, and how that could affect both teams, but I usually don’t like (the rain) or want it as much because I feel we’re a team that’s predicated on speed, and I think rain always slows you down a little bit,” Shanahan said on KNBR. “I don’t mind too much their quarterback (Lamar Jackson) slowing down, though.

“I know they’re going to run the ball, whether it’s a monsoon or whether it’s 90 degrees out and not raining at all. I don’t think it’s going to change what they do, but you’ve got to sit there, and watch, and see if it makes them better or worse. Then you’ve got to adjust accordingly.”

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