Baltimore Ravens confident Haloti Ngata will be ready for playoffs

Monday December 29th, 2014

The Baltimore Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh are confident that Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata can be ready for the AFC Wild Card playoff matchup Saturday night against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers

Ngata was absent for the final four games of the regular season while he served a suspension for a violation of the league's drug policy.

"I'm confident Haloti will be ready to go. That's his job, to be ready to go," coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm confident he'll do it. He has done it before. He has been there, he knows what's at stake."

FARRAR: Atlanta Falcons fire head coach Mike Smith after seven seasons

The veteran's return at full strength is even more significant after his replacement, Timmy Jernigan, suffered a foot injury on Sunday against the Browns. The rookie had to be carted off the field. 

Ngata will be reinstated on Monday, and his teammates, including linebacker Terrell Suggs, were aware of the importance of his return to the field.

"It's great to get my brother back, to [get] one of the leaders of this team back," Suggs said. "That's huge for us."

In the 12 games before his suspension, Ngata recorded 31 tackles, two forced fumbles and two sacks. With him on the field, the Ravens defense allowed an average of just 86.2 yards per game on the ground, which was the fewest in the NFL. 

BURKE: Steelers top Bengals to win North, but injury concerns linger

The Ravens will start the playoffs on Saturday night as they travel to face the Steelers at Heinz Field at 8:15 p.m. ET. 

- Jack Jorgensen

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.