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Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice celebrates after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What To Expect From Expected Starters: Ray Rice

Beleive it or not, I actually debated with myself quite a bit as to whether or not I really think Rice is a lock to be a starter. In the end, my belief that anything that takes Rice off the field is a bad thing won out and Rice kept his job. Here is what I think his season will look like.

 

 

Rushing Yards

 

Rice had just under 1200 rushing yards last year, I think he hits about the same number this year. Rice should see dramatically fewer carries thanks to the emergence of Bernard Pierce who is a better pure runner than Rice(note, better runner, not a better player. Rice still is better in receiving and blocking by a wide margin). I would expect Rice to carry the ball around 250 times and rack up about 1200-1300 yards.

 

Preojection: 256 carries, 1240 yards

 

Receiving Yards

 

Here is where I expect a big boost for Rice. I think Rice is going to be lined up as a slot reciver a lot this year. Rice will see more time as a receiver than a Runner. Rice has said many times in his career that he wants to have a season with 1000 rushing and 1000 receiving yards. the only other player to ever accomplish that is Marshal Faulk. That guy just so happens to be in the Hall of Fame. I expect Rice to match that season this year.

 

Projection: 86 catches, 1125 yards

 

 

 

Rice is going to have a big year, but the big numbers wont be traditional runningback numbers. I predict the Ravens will use Rice as much as a receiver either lined up as such or out of the backfield, as they will a runner. Rice is set for a big season in that regaurd. I believe he will match the incredible MVP season of Marshall Faulk(though Rice will not win MVP). Bernard Pierce will take over the majority of the Ravens carries, but Rice is going to have an impact in more ways thanks to Pierce taking a big part of the load.

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