Gridiron Gab Week Eleven Preview: Baltimore at Carolina

Opponent: Carolina Panthers

Stadium: Bank of America Stadium

Head Coach: John Fox

Record: 1-8

Time to Bounce Back

The Ravens look to bounce back after a frustrating loss in Atlanta. There has been  much criticism of the defense for allowing teams to score when having the lead, but keep in mind that the offense needs to produce all four quarters and eliminate turnovers.  In five games away from MT & Bank Stadium, the Ravens scored a total of one field goal in the first half. Getting off to a fast start on the road will be an area of importance for the team.

The Carolina Panthers led by head coach John Fox, have struggled this year. The team has been decimated with injuries and lacks the depth to have a consistent season.  The offense has moved forward with their second round pick Jimmy Clausen (starting QB Matt More on IR).  This week Jimmy Clausen is recovering from concussion and may not play, the team may start rookie Tony Pike, a sixth round pick who has thrown 12 passes this season. Another option is for the team to start journeyman Brian St. Pierre.

The once dynamic duo of RB DeAngelo Williams, who was just placed on IR with a foot sprain and RB Jonathan Stewart (foot injury) have not put up their normally productive numbers due to their injuries.   Along with the dangerous playmaker WR Steve Smith, the team drafted receivers Brandon LaFell and David Gettis, both rookies have been implemented in the offense. The offense is ranked 32nd in passing yards and points scored. They are 24th (93.8) in rushing.  Defensively the unit ranks 27th, (131.6 yards) against the run. The one bright spot on defense is the secondary as they rank 5th in passing (195.2). Safety Charles Godfrey has 4 interceptions on the season.

Player Match-ups:

RB Ray Rice vs. MLB Jon Beason: Ray Rice needs to get off to a fast start. Jon Beason, who spent much of the season at weakside linebacker, took over in week 10 at middle linebacker after a season ending hip injury to Dan Connor.  Last week the Panthers gave up 186 yards on the ground.

QB Flacco vs. SS Charles Godfrey: The safety Godfrey has 4 interceptions on the season.

Panthers Secondary vs. Ravens Receivers: Cornerbacks Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall (2 Int.‘s) have played well for the first half of the season. The secondary ranks 5th in passing yards. The Panthers will likely key in on Anquan Boldin opening up opportunities for Heap and Mason.

FS Ed Reed & Ravens D vs. Panthers’ QB?: Clausen (who may likely be out) has been sacked 11 times and has 4 interceptions. The team might opt for rookie Tony Pike or journeyman Brian St. Pierre. Ed Reed will have his opportunities in this game.

OLB Terrell Suggs vs. LT Jordon Gross: Suggs has played well recently and will look to improve on his sack totals.

MLB Ray Lewis vs. RB Mike Goodsen: Goodsen filled in well for both of Carolina’s starters and rushed for 100 yards against Tampa.  With a struggling pass offense, the Panthers may rely heavily on their running game.

CB’s Lardarius Webb/Josh Wilson vs. WR Steve Smith: With injury issues at QB for the Panthers it helps the secondary.  The Panthers are ranked last in scoring points, 11.6 per game and last in passing yards at 156.8 per game. The focus on this game will be containing the deep threat of receiver Steve Smith.

WHO MAKES THE HIGHLIGHT FILM:

Jonathan Scruggs: Joe Flacco

“After a loss it falls upon the quarterback to rally the troops and begin to rebuild momentum. The Panthers are struggling right now, but if the Ravens aren’t careful, they could be upended. It will be Joe’s duty to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

Matt Jergensen: Ray Rice

“Unless Cam Cameron decides to pull a Costanza (Just do the opposite) and attempt to throw all over one of the worst run defenses in the league Rice should have a huge day that should make his fantasy owners happy.”

Gene Winner: Terrence Cody

“Cody is just starting to make an impact for the run defense. Carolina’s quarterback situation is bleak (due to injuries) and this forces their offense to run the ball a lot.  Look for Cody to have his first breakout game.”


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