Friday, October 11, 2013

Preview: Packers at Ravens

Playing the defending Super Bowl champs in Baltimore should be a tough game, but I'm feeling good about the Green Bay Packers this week. I'd be feeling a lot better if LB Clay Matthews wasn't going to be out with a broken thumb, but the Packers are running the ball great and they look like a complete team. Here are the team rankings courtesy of Football Outsiders:

Team Passing Rushing
GBP Offense 3 3
BR Defense 16 4
BR Offense 21 28
GBP Defense 30 10

No team has scored over 10 points against the Ravens at home this season, but the only two quarterbacks that they've hosted so far have been Brandon Weeden and Matt Schaub. They had the misfortune of playing against QB Peyton Manning in week 1, but since then they've played against no QB better than E.J. Manuel. The Ravens' pass defense is listed as average, and that's probably accurate, which means QB Aaron Rodgers should have a good game though it will be extremely important to keep LB Terrell Suggs blocked. On the other hand, the Ravens' run defense looks solid so I'm not expecting another 100 yard rusher this week.

The Ravens' offense has looked like a mess the last two weeks. QB Joe Flacco threw for 5 INTs two weeks ago (8 for the season) and RB Ray Rice is struggling with a hip injury. They recently traded for LT Eugene Monroe, and he'll make his Ravens debut against the Packers which should help their beleaguered offensive line, but nothing's for sure about that one. They'll also have the benefit of playing against a struggling Packer pass defense that's still without CB Casey Hayward and will also be without Matthews and LB Brad Jones.

I'm not expecting they'll win by a big margin, but the defense should be sturdy enough to keep the Ravens' offense in check, while the Packers' offense continues to average 28 points on the road.

Packers 28, Ravens 21.

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