Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers Preview, Prediction, Where To Watch


Aug 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Game 4: Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers

When: Sunday, 9/28/2014 at 1:00 p.m.

Where: M&T Bank Stadium

Live Stream:

Radio: 98 Rock, Sirius XM

Local Radio Crew: Gerry Sandusky, Stan White, Qadry Ismail

TV: CBS (coverage map)

TV Crew: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

Preview: As we prepare for the Steve Smith Bowl, there are plenty of other angles to examine for Sunday’s fifth matchup between these two teams.  The Ravens have the all-time advantage at 3-1, with the Panther’s sole victory coming in October of 2006, which coincidentally was the only game of the four played in Baltimore.  In that 23-21 win, Steve Smith blew up for 189 receiving yards with a 72 yard touchdown.

This is also the first time these two teams have met since November of 2010, when the Panthers were blown out 37-13.  The tables have definitely turned since then, as the Ravens missed the playoffs last season while the Panthers rode a dominant defense to an NFC South championship.  Both teams are 2-1 heading into week four, but while the Ravens beat the Browns on the road, the Panthers were blown out at home by the Steelers in week three.

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The Ravens are currently 40-10 at home since 2008 when Joe Flacco was a rookie and John Harbaugh took over as head coach.  That record includes an astounding 12-1 mark in the month of September.  Fueling their 2-1 start in 2014 has been a dominant run defense and an offensive line that has only allowed two sacks on Joe Flacco through three games.  The Ravens are also tied for the least number of touchdowns allowed among NFL teams with four.

The Panthers have a top ten wide receiver in Kelvin Benjamin, who was drafted in the first round this year to replace Steve Smith.  Benjamin has 253 receiving yards through three games, and the Panthers rank 10th in passing offense.  Their rushing offense, long a staple of this team, has sputtered thus far, ranking only 29th in the NFL.  Much of this can be attributed to injuries as the Panthers will be without 3rd down and goal line back Mike Tolbert and power back Jonathan Stewart on Sunday.

The Ravens are favored to win by a slim 3 1/2 point margin with the third lowest point total of the week.  We expect a close game with both teams trying to run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense.  Time of possession could play a big role in this game, but whoever can stop the big play might be the team that emerges victorious.  So far, Steve Smith and Kelvin Benjamin’s big plays have been a large part of both team’s successes on offense.

In this showdown between AFC North and NFC South powerhouses, we give the Ravens the slight edge this week, but only by the slimmest of margins.  And we do so only because of the Raven’s excellent September record, both team’s momentum, and the Panther’s banged up offense.

Betting Line: Ravens -3 1/2, 41u

Prediction: Ravens 21, Panthers 20