Three Ways The Baltimore Ravens Can Expose The Carolina Panthers
By Eric Misotti
Believe it or not, there will be many more elements to Sunday’s game aside from Steve smith spilling blood and guts all over M&T Bank field when he lines up against his former team. The Baltimore Ravens will be exposed on the left side of their line as Eugene Monroe will be out for extended time after having knee surgery on Wednesday. Here are three areas where the Ravens should be able to expose the Panthers on Sunday.
Panthers running game- After being gashed last week by two rookie running backs in Cleveland, the Ravens defense needs to step up huge this week and take advantage of Carolina’s diminished running attack. Carolina lost both Jonathan Stewart and bruiser Mike Tolbert after Sunday nights lost to the Steelers.
It looks as if Deangelo Williams will be getting the workload, but he is coming off an injury that sidelined him for the start of the year. If the Ravens can come out right away and shut down the run, this will put all the pressure on Cam Newton to get the passing game going with very limited targets. If the Ravens can make Carolina’s offense one dimensional then they have a great chance at winning this game.
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Jimmy Smith vs. Kelvin Benjamin- Kelvin has emerged as the top target for Cam Newton in the Carolina passing attack after he has shown flashes of rare size and ability to go up and grab the football.
While Greg Olsen usually receives the bulk of targets, Benjamin is their big play guy and can hurt you in more than one way. This week, Benjamin will have his hands full while emerging star CB Jimmy Smith will shadow him for most of Sunday afternoon. Smith has been very close to a “shut down” corner in his fourth year in the league and will be a vital part in shutting down Cam and the Panthers.
Wide Receivers not named Steve Smith- When the schedule was released for the 2014 regular season, Week 4 loomed large for Steve Smith for obvious reasons. He has not been shy in expressing his excitement to face his former team in Baltimore on Sunday.
While a lot of attention has gone to Steve Smith getting revenge on his old team, this should open up a lot of opportunities for receivers Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown.
The Ravens run game should remain solid, but Carolina is loaded with talent on their front seven and the game may be decided by the arm of Joe Flacco. Expect Steve Smith to get his, but look for the other receivers to break out and have a huge impact on this game. Look for Torrey Smith to have his first big game of 2014.
Dec 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) warms up prior to the game against the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports