Game Preview: Ravens Hope To Erase Sour Taste

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Instead, they've had 10 days to prepare for their next opponent, and the lowly Carolina Panthers (1-8) present a ripe opportunity to erase the sour taste of defeat.

"I would have rather played a game right after that Thursday, personally," said cornerback Josh Wilson, who was on the wrong end of Falcons receiver Roddy White's apparent shove during his game-winning touchdown catch. "But we had some time to look over it and learn ourselves, and that's the most important thing with all this stuff in all these games.

"It's learning yourself and learning how the Ravens defense needs to play."

If the Ravens want to remain in the Super Bowl conversation, righting the ship at Bank of America Stadium should top their list.

And there are several things they can address against the NFC South cellar-dwelling Panthers.

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The Ravens still hope to turn the pass rush into sacks, and their pass defense allowed at least 290 yards through the air in four of the last five games.

Offensively, Baltimore hasn't yet been able to score a touchdown in the first quarter this year, and Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice only has one 100-yard game under his belt.

Through it all, the Ravens still remain tied with the PIttsburgh Steelers atop the AFC North and have the makings of a dangerous playoff contender.

Meanwhile, the Panthers are reeling. Several key starters are on Injured Reserve, including quarterback Matt Moore (shoulder) and running back DeAngelo Williams (foot).

Instead of concussed rookie Jimmy Clausen or fellow rookie Tony Pike under center, Carolina is going with veteran journeyman Brian St. Pierre, who only joined the team last week.  Fourth-string running back Mike Goodson will be in the backfield.

But as obvious as the imbalance seems, the Ravens are unlikely to overlook the scrappy Panthers.

"We understand their record, but the record [means] nothing," said linebacker Ray Lewis.  "This team is going to come out, and they're going to fight. They have a lot of pride over there and a lot of young guys who have a lot of talent."

The Ravens have never beaten the Panthers in three previous meetings, but Baltimore is also one of the best at bouncing back.

The Ravens have won the game following their past seven regular-season losses. Under Head Coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 13-1 against teams with losing records.

After their Week 7 overtime scare against the Buffalo Bills, who were winless at the time, the Ravens know they can ill afford to be unprepared.

"Every game is important in this league.  Our guys understand that," said Harbaugh.  "I don't think it's anything we're doing as coaches. There's no pep talk or anything like that. We've got mature guys – leaders – and you have to win every game.

"Every game counts for one win, and we need to win."

Three Things For A Ravens Win

1. Pressure St. Pierre

The Panthers have a banged-up offensive line, with starting left guard Travelle Wharton (toe) out, and St. Pierre is only a newbie in this offense. If the Ravens can force him to make quick decisions in an unfamiliar scheme, there could be some game-changing plays.

2. Stop The Run

The best way to protect a quarterback is by keeping the ball on the ground, and Goodson was the first Panther to hit the 100-yard mark last week. The Ravens have shored up their run defense lately, and that will be imperative to do so again Sunday.

3. Take Care Of The Football

Joe Flacco has been a stud in the interception category lately, despite losing one to the Falcons.  It was his first since Week 4.  But fumbles have been an issue all year, whether on offense or special teams. A scrappy team like Carolina can capitalize off the short fields turnovers provide.

2010 NFL Rankings

Ravens

Panthers

Category

Stats

Rank

Stats

Rank

Total Offense

344.9

13

250.6

32

Rush Offense

118.4

11

93.8

24

Pass Offense

226.4

17

156.8

32

Points/Game

21.8

17(t)

11.6

32

Total Defense

316.4

10

326.8

14

Rush Defense

99.8

8

131.6

27

Pass Defense

216.7

13

195.2

5

Points/Game

18.3

7

23.9

25


2010 Tale of the Tape

Ravens                          Category                           Panthers

6-3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2009 Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-8

Lost 1. . . . . . . . . . . . Longest Streak . . . . . . . . . . . .Lost 3

196. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Scored . . . . . . . . . . . . .104

22. . . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . . . . .9

7. . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .3

15. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Scored . . . . . . . .6

0. . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns on Returns . . . . . . . . . .0

165. . . . . . . . . . . . . Points Against . . . . . . . . . . . . .215

16. . . . . . . . . . . Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . . . . .23

5. . . . . . . . Rushing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .7

11. . . . . . . . Passing Touchdowns Allowed . . . . . . . .14

0. . . . . . . . . . . TDs Allowed by Return . . . . . . . . . . .2

31:15. . . . . . . . . . . Time of Posession Avg.. . . . . . . . . . .27:01

-1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turnover Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .-10

48.4%. . . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. For . . . . . . . . .26.3%

39.1%. . . . . . . . Red Zone TD Pct. Against . . . . . . .43.2%

21.4. . . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . .22.9

25.8. . . . . . . . . . . . KOR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . .20.9

6.0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. For . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9.3

8.7. . . . . . . . . . . . . PR Avg. Against . . . . . . . . . . . .7.7

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