Kickoff: 1 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium
TV: FOX Channel 45 (Baltimore), WTGG Channel 5 (Washington), FOX crew Adam Amin (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (analyst), Shannon Spake (sideline)
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM) and 98 Rock (97.9 FM), Ravens crew Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Femi Ayanbadejo (analyst); ESPN Radio Marc Kestecher (play-by-play), Sal Paolantonio (analyst)
The Ravens can maintain sole possession of first place in the AFC North with a victory. Lamar Jackson has never lost to an NFC team (11-0) since becoming a starter in 2018. The Vikings are on the wrong side of the NFC playoff picture and need a victory to get back to .500.
The all-time record between the Ravens and Vikings is tied, 3-3, with Baltimore holding a 3-1 edge at M&T Bank Stadium. They haven't faced each other since 2017 when the Vikings won a 24-16 decision in Minnesota. Justin Tucker made three field goals in that game, including one from 57 yards. The wildest game between the Ravens and Vikings occurred in 2013 during a snow and ice storm in Baltimore. Trading big plays back and forth during the final three minutes, the Ravens and Vikings combined for 36 points in 125 seconds before the Ravens prevailed, 29-26.
How much did the bye week benefit the Ravens?
Baltimore needed to regroup after its worst performance of the season, a 41-17 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7. The coaching staff spent the bye week self-scouting and examining the team's shortcomings. Head Coach John Harbaugh has a 10-3 record the week following the bye, and the Ravens believe they've made the necessary adjustments to return with a strong effort.
Which Baltimore defense will show up?
Baltimore is coming off its most disturbing defensive effort of the season against the Bengals, who shredded the Ravens for 520 yards of total offense. Just one week earlier, Baltimore had its best defensive game of the season against the Los Angeles Chargers, limiting them to 208 yards of total offense.
More defensive consistency is what the Ravens are looking for, particularly from the secondary. Baltimore ranks last in the NFL in pass defense and will be tested by Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing to dangerous wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
Can the Ravens dominate the trenches against the shorthanded Vikings?
Minnesota will be missing some key players up front on both sides of the ball. Starting center Garrett Bradbury (COVID-19) won't play, nor will defensive tackle and former Raven Michael Pierce (elbow). Meanwhile, two-time Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter (six sacks) was ruled out for the year this week (torn pectoral muscle). This may be an opportunity for the Ravens to run the ball more consistently, while giving Lamar Jackson ample time to throw.
Ravens secondary vs. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen
Jefferson and Thielen likely enjoyed film sessions this week, seeing Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase have their way with Baltimore's secondary in Week 7. All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey and the entire Ravens secondary will be fired up to have a bounce back game.
Lamar Jackson vs. Vikings defense
This will be Jackson's first career start against Minnesota, and teams that have never faced him before are often caught off guard by his elusiveness and quickness moving at game speed. Jackson rested during the bye week and recharged his batteries for the second half of the season. If Jackson has a huge day, the Ravens will be difficult to beat.
Ravens offensive line vs. Vikings pass rush
Even without Hunter, the Vikings may be able to harass Jackson with their pass rush. They are second in the NFL in sacks (24) trailing only the Los Angeles Rams. Defensive end Everson Griffen (five sacks) is a superb pass rusher and Jackson will need to get rid of the football before the pocket collapses. A couple of drive-killing sacks against Jackson could help the Vikings pull off the upset.