Aug 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) shakes hands with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) after the game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
While we can’t say that we are as excited for this Sunday’s “Steve Smith Bowl” as Steve Smith himself, we are looking forward to a game between two tough and scrappy teams that feature great run defenses and linebacker play. Don’t let last week’s huge letdown against the Steelers fool you, for this Panthers team simply has one of the best defenses in the NFL. The latest iteration of Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers is not going to resemble that game.
Besides some similarities on defense, both of these teams share a 2-1 record coming into week four of the NFL season. The Panthers head to M&T Bank Stadium having gone 6-1 on the road dating back to last season, and a little travel may be a good thing after last week’s pitiful performance against the Steelers at home. The typically mighty Panther’s defense couldn’t stop the run, and their offensive line was exposed by what is (up to that point) a pretty bad Steelers defense.
The Ravens didn’t have any trouble containing Pittsburgh at home in week two, which they followed up with a last second victory over the Cleveland Browns on the road last Sunday. The team’s success rides on the back of their ground game, which has enjoyed massive holes opened by a suddenly effective offensive line. Joe Flacco has looked like a natural fit for the new offense and is completing over 60% of his passes for the first time in years.
But can the Ravens continue their success against last year’s NFC champions? The answer lies within our 5 keys to victory, Carolina Panthers edition. Click next to see what the Ravens need to do to emerge victorious on Sunday.