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Game Preview: Ravens vs. Cowboys


Baltimore made a strong first impression against the San Francisco 49ers in its first preseason game, but there's still more to figure out.

The Ravens will try to get more answers Saturday night in Dallas in their first visit to AT&T Stadium, otherwise known as Jerry's World.

With season-ending injuries to defensive ends Brent Urban (knee) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (Achilles), the Ravens may experiment with moving players around the defensive line to fill the void.

With cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (back) and Asa Jackson (ankle) sidelined for now, rookie safety Terrence Brooks and other young corners like Tramain Jacobs and Sammy Seamster will get a longer look. Brooks moved from safety to nickel corner the past couple of practices.

The offense has more to show as well after an impressive 80-yards touchdown drive to start against the 49ers. Head Coach John Harbaugh said the starters will play anywhere from a quarter to a half.

Matchups To Watch

OLB Pernell McPhee vs. LT Tyron SmithHead Coach John Harbaugh said he expects McPhee to be a "premier" outside linebacker in the NFL. McPhee will get a great test against Smith, who just signed an eight-year contract extension for a reported $110 million. Smith is considered one of the best young tackles in the game. McPhee is also somebody to watch if he puts his hand in the dirt at defensive end.

CB Jimmy Smith vs. WR Dez Bryant
This is going to be one physical battle. Smith likes to press at the line of scrimmage. Bryant is a hyper-competitive and strong mauler. Smith has been superb in training camp, rarely getting beat deep or giving up much at all. This will be his toughest test yet.

RB Ray Rice vs. ILB Rolando McClain
Rice looked spry in his first game, and it will be interesting to see how he does with more carries in* *his second. He could go against a former Raven who never suited up in McClain, who Baltimore traded to Dallas this offseason. Rice will also be playing his first road game after his off-field incident, which could mean dealing with a reaction from the Dallas fans.

Keys To The Game

Build offensive momentumComing off a strong first performance, the Ravens can really get the ball rolling with a few good drives in Dallas. The Cowboys defense ranked at the bottom of the league in yards allowed per game last season (415.3) and hasn't been aggressively upgraded this offseason. That should give the Ravens offense a good chance at maintaining momentum.

Get young defenders repsThe Ravens have a few rookie defenders that should get a lot of playing time in Dallas. Second-round defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan didn't record any stats in his first preseason game, perhaps because he was fresh off a back injury. Brooks, Jacobs, Seamster and cornerback Deji Olatoye will also get long looks, and can take steps to ease concerns in the secondary. Stay healthy
The Ravens have sustained enough injuries over the last week and a half. They can't afford more serious ailments, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Baltimore wants to fine-tune things for the regular season, but Harbaugh will be careful and protect his players as much as possible.

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