Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers: Five Keys To Victory

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Sep 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) tackles Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) behind the line for a loss during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Key to victory #2: Stop the run

The Panthers love to run the football, and typically employ a three headed monster at running back to complement their quarterback, who is an effective runner.  But things are a little different this week as the Panthers will be without two thirds of their usual backfield.  Mike Tolbert is on injured reserve/designated to return, and Johnathan Stewart is unlikely to play as well.

That leave DeAngelo Williams, who himself missed week three’s game with his own injuries.  Plus, Cam Newton is hobbled, which led to more in the pocket play calling last week.  But Newton’s legs and success on the ground is a big part of what has made this offense successful.  Couple the injuries with the Raven’s top 11 run defense, and the Panthers might face some tough sledding Sunday.

The Panthers have been trotting out rookie Kelvin Benjamin and a group of NFL cast offs at wide receiver each week, which further amplifies the importance of ground game success.  Cam Newton took a lot of punishment against the Steelers, but if his offensive line can hold against the Ravens weak (thus far) pass rush, the secondary can be exploited.