Game Preview: Ravens Can Clean Palate

a3dd751650b14b7ca5ad5d2254c11b6e.jpg


PLEASE NOTE:The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

After the Ravens' heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots last Sunday, linebacker Ray Lewis said "it's going to be a long week for the Bills."

Certainly, no one in Baltimore's locker room was happy with relinquishing a 10-point lead and failing to convert on four possible game-winning series.

But even though the Bills – who are coming to M&T Bank Stadium reeling from an 0-5 record – might suggest the perfect palate cleanser, the Ravens are not taking them lightly.

"We just need to get that taste out of our mouths, man," said fullback Le'Ron McClain.  "It's about getting a victory, and we've been thinking about doing that all week. You play every Sunday, every team comes in ready to knock you off, and we know the Bills are too.

"If we get a loss this week, that's going to turn into a losing streak.  You can't have those if you're a playoff team."

The reality is that the Bills are among the NFL's worst in many statistical categories.  They own the league's 30th-ranked offense (251.0 yards per game) and a 29th-rated defense (382.4 yards allowed).

Still, Buffalo is one of those feisty teams that has hung around several quality opponents, like the Miami Dolphins (15-10) and even the Patriots (38-30).

Plus, the Bills are coming off their bye, which means they had an extra week to add wrinkles the Ravens might not expect.

"I think they're going to have a great game plan for us," said Head Coach John Harbaugh.  "They're trying to find what they want to be because they're a young team with a new program. They're just building their program up.

"So, I think we're not sure what we're going to see in some different areas."

As much as the Ravens have turned the page from New England, however, there are still inklings of anger regarding their second defeat this year.

Video Preview: Bills vs. Ravens
Right Click for Full Screen Option

And with the Ravens' bye looming in Week 8, going into the open week at 4-3 would be a disappointment for a team many pundits picked to reach the postseason, not to mention the Super Bowl.

"We know this is a must-win," said linebacker Jarret Johnson. "Nobody's freaking out, but we think we have to win this game. If we don't, we've missed out on a huge opportunity.  If we head into the bye at 5-2, we're setting ourselves up pretty good. You go into the bye at 4-3, losing to Buffalo at home, you kind of have to start rethinking things."

The Ravens still consider themselves elite, and if history has shown anything, Harbaugh's club typically defeats the teams outsiders believe they should.

Heading into this one, the Ravens are remembering what happened at Gillette Stadium, but not dwelling on those thoughts.

Instead, the Ravens are looking to channel that energy into a victory.

"We want to put the emotions away and become better both ways," said Harbaugh.  "I don't think it hurts to know that every week is important. Every week is one win. The Patriots [game] is one loss. This is an opportunity for a win. It's really important, and our guys are motivated I think to get that."

Three Things For a Ravens Win

    • Run the Rock
      The Bills have the league's worst run defense, so this should be a great opportunity to get Baltimore's ground attack rolling. Ray Rice has put up numbers consistently this year, and Willis McGahee figures to have a more prominent role against his former team after not playing a snap against the Pats. A strong rushing presence will keep the Bills' defense honest, too, which should set up some play action.
*   **Break a Return**  

The Ravens have said they need more from their return game. Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg even told reporters that he "wasn't happy" with both kickoff and punt returns.  The Bills are in the bottom half of coverage teams, so whoever is back there for the Ravens needs to secure the ball and go, go, go.

*   **Turnovers!**  

This has been an issue for the Ravens' third-rated defense. Baltimore hasn't been able to turn teams over, and no one in the secondary grabbed an interception until Chris Carr hauled in a tipped Tom Brady pass last week. With Ed Reed possibly returning, the Ravens will have a pick-machine in their defensive backfield looking to take advantage of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who likes to take chances with the long ball.

Tale of the Tape

Ravens                          Category                           Bills

4-2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2010 Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0-5

Lost 1. . . . . . . . . . . . Current Streak . . . . . . . . . . . .Lost 5

  1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Scored . . . . . . . . . . . . .87

  1. . . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . . . . .10

  1. . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .1

  1. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .8

  1. . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns on Returns . . . . . . . . . .1

95 . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Against . . . . . . . . . . . . .161

  1. . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . . . . .18

  1. . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .7

  1. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .11

  1. . . . . . . . . . . TDs Allowed by Return . . . . . . . . . . .0

32:24. . . . . . . . . . . Time of Posession Avg.. . . . . . . . . . .25:02

-4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turnover Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .-2

52.9%. . . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. For . . . . . . . . .60.0%

35.3%. . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. Against . . . . . . .70.6%

21.0. . . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . .25.1

27.4. . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . .25.4

5.7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8.1

8.2. . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . . .8.9

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising