Fresh off a big win at home over the Detroit Lions, Green Bay, who has already had its bye, will be trying to improve to 3-2 themselves on Sunday. The Packers need to ensure they keep pace in the NFC North, and they’ll need to do it by facing off against their second AFC North opponent of the season.
This opponent just happens to be the defending champions. The Ravens have looked a bit wobbly for a 3-2 team as they have seen their passing game’s effectiveness and consistency dip.
That is likely because of the loss of Anquan Boldin, and the falling to Earth of Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco. He has reverted to what he has been prior to last postseason’s unbelievable run — a turnover-prone chucker who kills you as much as he helps you.
The defense for these Ravens has improved with the offseason additions and the younger personnel. Terrell Suggs has seven sacks on the year already and he has been a force all by himself. The Ravens are in a cluster at the top of the bottle-necked AFC North with the 3-2 Cleveland Browns (who face the Lions on Sunday) and 3-2 Cincinnati Bengals. They are trying to break free and get some breathing room in the division.
The Packers should not be as concerned with this team in 2013 though. Why? Well, while the defense of this Ravens team is better than it has been in the last two seasons. The offense has dipped a bit in its lethal productivity.
The Packers’ offensive line issues are well documented and could be in play when Suggs and company face them. However, the blocking skills of running backs Johnathan Franklin, Eddie Lacy and James Starks are very adept for all three men.
Not only that, but these three backs have been productive and have helped take some of the offensive pressure off of Aaron Rodgers. The improved running game is something that these Packers could not use to their advantage against a blitzing Ravens’ front even a year ago. Now it’s an aspect of the offense that is good enough that the Packers can adeptly utilize it to tone down the defensive pressure.
The Packers’ defense has also become a strength relative to years past, and can help swing the game to Green Bay’s side.
This is by no means an easy matchup for the Packers, but the Ravens are a turnover-prone offense that needs the big play, something Packers’ defensive backs are hopefully aware of come game time. The Packers can take away the long ball and really hamper this Ravens’ offense. If Rodgers stays clean and is not on his back. This Ravens’ defense has holes in its secondary that Rodgers and his talented receivers can exploit.