Week 4 Preview: Panthers vs. Ravens

| September 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

ravens harborCarolina Panthers (2-1)


Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

Sunday at 1pm, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

Line: Ravens -3

After three straight division games, the Ravens return home to face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers as wide receiver Steve Smith faces his former team. The Ravens are coming off two straight wins while the Panthers were manhandled at home last week by the Steelers and have major injuries in the backfield. Both teams had high expectations coming into the season and one of them will be 3-1 after this game, taking a major step towards making the playoffs. Which team gets the big win?

Here is my take:

Ravens offense vs. Panthers defense

Don’t look now, but it appears the power running game is back in Baltimore as the Ravens ran all over the Browns last week. They are now averaging 137 rushing yards per game this season. The Panthers defense was one of the best last season, and has the best linebacker in football in Luke Kuechly, but they have been shredded on the ground thus far giving up an average of 145 yards per game. In addition, the Panthers only have eight sacks through three games and struggle to get pressure on the quarterback.

Eugene Monroe is out, so look for the Panthers to try to attack the left side, even though I think they may not have the personnel to get consistent pressure on Flacco. Expect the Ravens to run the ball a lot and Steve Smith to make a big play or two against his former team.

Advantage: Ravens

Panthers offense vs. Ravens defense

I have to preface things by saying I am a huge Cam Newton fan and think he has all the tools to be an elite NFL quarterback. That being said, he is still not 100 percent from earlier injuries, has no wide receiver talent outside of Kelvin Benjamin, and will likely have no help in the running game. All of those factors don’t bode well for the Panthers. Newton will likely need to do everything himself if the Panthers are going to stay in the game and score on this defense. The Panthers offense is one dimensional and generally that doesn’t lead to success. Newton will make some plays but the Ravens defense should be able to shut down the Panthers offense overall.

Advantage: Ravens

Special Teams

The Panthers biggest loss this offseason might not have been Steve Smith, but rather Ted Ginn Jr. who was an elite return man and decent receiver. Ginn gave the Panthers a big advantage on special teams and it is obvious he is missed this season. As always, Justin Tucker is the best kicker in the game and gives the Ravens a huge advantage in the special teams department.

Advantage: Ravens


I was not high on the Ravens coming into the season and for three games I was not buying into this team being a playoff team, however, I am starting to turn the corner. Sure the injury to Dennis Pitta is a major blow, but the ability to run the ball takes pressure off Flacco, helps the offense sustain drives, and gives the defense more of a rest. If they can continue to run the ball successfully, the Ravens will be a playoff team.

I think the Panthers are a good football team but the Ravens are at home and are catching the Panthers at the right time. If Cam Newton plays unbelievably it may be a close game but I honestly don’t think he can do enough. The Ravens have a chance to win this game big and I think they will win comfortably.

Ravens 27 Panthers 17


About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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