What to Watch For: Ravens vs. Panthers


Sep 21, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) is tackled by Cleveland Browns cornerback Buster Skrine (22) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

With the Panthers visiting the Ravens, there is a lot to be looking for heading into this week 4 matchup.

Torrey Smith vs. Panther’s Secondary

I know, Steve Smith Sr. is playing his former team and everyone is following that storyline. However, I am more intrigued by the younger Smith and his part in this game. We have all noticed his lack of production, and I am on record for criticizing Torrey and saying that he needs to do more than be a deep threat. The Panthers may be focusing too much on Steve, which could lead to Torrey having some openings in the secondary. He had an opportunity last week against the Browns but Flacco underthrew him; causing a defensive pass interference call. I believe that this game could be a big one for Torrey if he takes advantage of it.

James Hurst vs. Charles Johnson

The undrafted rookie is being thrust into action after Eugene Monroe needed knee surgery. Hurst will not need to face Greg Hardy today, but Charles Johnson is another DE that can wreak havoc. He has not earned a sack yet this season, but he must be drooling at the idea of facing an undrafted LT making his first start. However, Hurst started 4 years at North Carolina and would have been drafted if not for a broken leg that scared teams away. Monroe will be sidelined for a while, so Hurst will have to hold up and this will be a good test to start with.

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Ravens’ Running Backs vs. Carolina Front Seven

Just like Forrest Gump, the most productive runner is like a box chocolates. Each week has featured a different running back having a strong showing. Ray Rice has not been missed, but your fantasy lineup may be frustrating if you have either of the runners. Looking into this game, I believe that Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro will each get carries on the first two downs while Justin Forsett receives third down touches. The Panthers got shredded by the Steelers last week, and the Ravens will be looking to follow suit at home today.