The Baltimore Ravens (3-2) are set to take on the Green Bay Packers (2-2) on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The game will be televised on FOX at 1:00pm EST. The Ravens are looking to improve to 4-2 and hopefully pull away from the tight race in the AFC North with a win.
But achieving that goal could be difficult against a team like the Packers. The Ravens need to be on top of their game if they want to pull out a win at home. Here are a few things to know about this weekend’s matchup in Baltimore.
Get to Rodgers quickly
Terrell Suggs (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback the Ravens have faced since Peyton Manning in Week 1. The good news is that the Ravens front seven has been unbelievable since playing the Denver Broncos.
The team has recorded 19 sacks through Week 5. Nine Ravens players have logged sacks this season with Terrell Suggs leading the defense with seven sacks. The pass rush has been phenomenal for the team, especially from players like Elvis Dumervil, Daryl Smith, and of course, Terrell Suggs.
If the Ravens can keep the extraordinary pass rush going against the Packers, Rodgers will struggle against the Ravens defense.
Strong secondary performance
The Ravens secondary has without a doubt had its fair-share of ups and downs this season. But the unit has started to make a turnaround and is ready show their improvement on Sunday.
Safety James Ihedigbo has been a big part of the Ravens secondary. He as started all five games and has the ability to make it from one end of the field to the other very quickly. According to Pro Football Focus, Ihedigbo is ranked 3rd overall for safeties in the NFL through Week 5.
With cornerback Lardarius Webb in the backfield with Ihedigbo, the Ravens have a good chance of stopping Rodgers’ long ball downfield. Rodgers is trying to pull himself out of a two game slump in which he has recorded two interceptions and only two touchdowns. Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb has stood out this season. But as long as the secondary can maintain their coverage downfield, Rodgers may have a tough time connecting with Cobb.
Utilize depth of receivers
Torrey Smith (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)
The Baltimore Ravens went from having too many wide receivers to not enough in a short span of time, and now the team is leaning toward having too many again. Jacoby Jones has returned to practice and could be starting in Sunday’s game. Marlon Brown and Brandon Stokley are also limited at practice, but could be healthy by Sunday.
Regardless of how many receivers are active for the game, the Ravens have an arsenal of options at wide receiver. Torrey Smith has emerged as a top receiver not just within the Ravens, but in the NFL. He is ranked 3rd in the NFL in total yards this season. Deonte Thompson and Tandon Doss were both given the opportunity to show their talents over the past few weeks while other players were dealing with injuries and both have proved to be an asset to the team.
The Packers have a very spotty pass defense and the Ravens need to capitalize on that with the depth of receivers.
Put the run game into action
Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews has been sidelined with an injury and is ruled out for Sunday’s matchup. With Matthews benched, the Ravens need to use Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice to their full effect.
The run game this season has not been what it was in the past. Running back Ray Rice battled a hip injury, sending Bernard Pierce to the starting position. Pierce has played well for the Ravens and with a player like Matthews out, the Ravens cannot let an opportunity like that to fall.
Look for Rice and Pierce to get more touches on the ball, whether it be carries or receptions. They will be play a large role on the Ravens offense this weekend.
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