Kickoff:1 p.m., U.S. Bank Stadium* TV:* CBS/WJZ (Ch. 13)
TV Crew: Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst), Jamie Erdahl (sideline)
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Local Radio Crew: Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Stan White (analyst), Todd Heap (analyst)
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The Ravens suffered a tough overtime loss to the Chicago Bears, eliminating the momentum Baltimore had after an impressive win the week before in Oakland. Now the Ravens have a chance to get some of that back if they can grab a road win against a talented team. It would be another confidence booster.
The Ravens and Vikings have met four times with Baltimore winning three. The most recent was an extremely memorable 2013 game in the snow at M&T Bank Stadium, in which there were five touchdowns scored over the final 125 seconds. The last time the Ravens were in Minnesota in 2009, Baltimore lost 33-31 after coming back from 17 points down in the fourth quarter. Steven Hauschka missed a potential game-winning 44-yard field goal with two seconds left.
Will Brandon Williams save the run defense?
Baltimore ranks 30th in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 141.3 yards per game. Opponents have chosen to attack the Ravens more on the ground than in the air, a deviation from recent years. A major reason for that is that Baltimore has been without one of the league's best run stuffers, Brandon Williams, for the past four games. Williams could return this week? Will he fix the Ravens' problems? The Vikings lost talented rookie running back Dalvin Cook, but his replacement, Jerick McKinnon, has been dynamic (245 total yards, three touchdowns) the past two weeks.
What's next for the offense?
The Ravens have struggled on offense for much of the season, especially with the passing attack. The only consistent positive about Baltimore's 29th-ranked offense has been the run game, which is averaging a healthy 129.5 yards per game. Do the Ravens need to rely more on the ground attack? Do they need to open up the passing game? The Vikings have one of the league's best defenses in the league, ranked No. 5 overall and No. 3 vs. the run.
The wide receiver position
The Ravens have a banged-up wide receiver corps with Mike Wallace (back) and Jeremy Maclin (shoulder) both questionable to play, Chris Matthews (thigh) doubtful to play and Breshad Perriman (concussion) ruled out. That could create more opportunities for Michael Campanaro, and/or Chris Moore. The receivers had a tough game last week with drops (two leading to interceptions). If Joe Flacco is going to have success, he needs them to step up in Minnesota.
Matchups to Watch
WR Mike Wallace vs. CB Xavier Rhodes
Wallace said he expects to play. If so, it will be his first time back in Minnesota since the Vikings released him after just one year in 2015. Wallace says he has no ill will, but he'll definitely be looking to make a splash. It won't be easy when Rhodes is lined up opposite him. The big-bodied 2016 Pro Bowler has grown into one of the league's best cornerbacks.
CB Jimmy Smith vs. WR Adam ThielenThe Vikings have one of the better wide receiver duos in the league with Diggs and Thielen, but will have only half of the equation against the Ravens. Diggs has been ruled out because of a groin injury. Still, Thielen ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards (488), though he hasn't scored a touchdown yet. Smith returned to a full slate of snaps last week after Achilles soreness sidelined him early in Oakland.
OLB Matthew Judon vs. RT Mike Remmers
Judon has been on a tear the past two games. Against Oakland, he had his strongest game yet in run defense and pass coverage. Against the Bears, he led the team with two sacks and a whopping 14 tackles (two on special teams). Judon is starting to come into his own. Vikings right tackle Remmers hasn't allowed a sack yet this season, per Pro Football Focus.