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Containing Aerial Attack a Big Task


Baltimore has never lined up against the post-Brett Favre Packers, but on paper, Green Bay's explosive aerial assault seems to have the edge on the Ravens' pass defense.

The Ravens are faced with the challenge of containing the Packers' sixth-rated passing attack, which has racked up 262.8 yards per game on the arm of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a stellar receiving corps.

Rodgers' recent performances has pundits placing him among the signal-callers in the league. The fourth-year pro has thrown for 3,136 yards through 11 games, completing 249 of his 380 attempts (65.5 percent) for 22 touchdown and only five interceptions.

The Ravens have seen the likes of Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Brett Farve and Peyton Manning. Now, it is time to cross Rodgers' name off the list.

"Obviously, he's got a great arm, he's accurate, he stands in, he's courageous," said head coach **John Harbaugh**. "He stands in there and makes throws. He's almost most dangerous when he gets out [of the pocket] and he starts running. He's got a little Favre to him in that sense. I don't know if he'd appreciate that, [but] I think he probably would. He gets out and makes plays on the run really well, so he's done a great job."

The Packers utilize Rodgers' mobility by rolling him out often, but he is also adept at making things happen when the pocket breaks down. That quality surprised some Ravens defenders, considering the last time Baltimore played Green Bay was in 2005, and a rookie Rodgers entered the game late for Farve and promptly threw an interception.

"I was kind of surprised on how well he moved around," said linebacker **Jarret Johnson**. "We knew he had a big arm and could make all the throws, but he's really good on his feet also. So he's definitely a big threat, and he throws really well on the run, which is dangerous."

The Ravens continued their emphasis of applying pressure on Rodgers, who has been sacked an NFL-high 44 times this year.

"I think the key to stopping any quarterback is getting pressure," linebacker [Ray Lewisinternal-link-placeholder-0] said. "I just think Aaron, if you watch them, what they do offensively, he gets out of the pocket a lot, and he makes a lot of plays getting out of the pocket with his legs. Of course, our job will be to make sure to try and keep him in the pocket so he [doesn't] get out of the pocket and make big plays to his receivers."

It won't be easy going for a Ravens' secondary that has taken its share of lumps from media and fans to handle Green Bay's Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, as well.

With **Fabian Washington** on Injured Reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, cornerbacks **Domonique Foxworth** and [Lardarius Webbinternal-link-placeholder-2] will get the start against two of the hottest wideouts in the league.

In his 11th season, Driver, 34, leads the team with 53 catches for 845 yards and five touchdowns. And of Jennings' 47 grabs (722 yards), 21 of them have gone for 20 or more yards.

Few are more accurate with the long ball than Rodgers, who boasts 13 completions of 40-plus yards.

On the flip side, the Ravens have given up 16 pass plays of at least 25 yards.

In a game where matchups are critical, Monday's showdown weighs heavily on everything that goes into pass defense for Baltimore.

Harbaugh isn't worried at all.

"There are a lot of people that would probably dispute this, but I think our secondary has played well all year," Harbaugh said. "And we talked about specific plays where we've had lapses, where we've let the ball get thrown over our head, but some of those have been scrambles, some of those have been situations where quarterbacks have been on the run and guys have broken loose over the top. And some have been some mistakes early on.

"We haven't given up too many lately. I think we've covered tight all year, aggressively all year. Our guys study like no group I've ever seen – extremely well coached. So, we think we match up fine, and it's going to be a real good secondary against a real good group of receivers."

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