The Baltimore Ravens (4-5) are hitting the road to take on the Chicago Bears (5-4) at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday, November 17th. The game is set for 1:00pm ET on CBS.
After taking down the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime last week, the Ravens have shown a will to turn their season around, but it won’t be easy. The Ravens led the Bengals 17-0 at the half, but the team made some crucial mistakes in the second half that sent the game into overtime.
Here’s a look at what the Ravens have to do against the Bears to avoid another close game in a need-to-win situation.
Test the quarterback
The Bears are working with two reliable receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.
But with quarterback Jay Cutler out with a high ankle sprain, the Ravens will be facing Josh McCown in his first start for the Bears. McCown lacks the ability to throw the long-ball, so the Ravens will have a little more room to work. The secondary will be able to pinch in and help stop the run, as well as the outlet pass in the middle.
Stop Matt Forte
While the Ravens’ run game has been a disappointing facet of the team’s offense, the Bears have been able to establish a strong ground game with running back Matt Forte. The Ravens should be able to stop the ball in the air, but they will have to shift their focus defensively on stopping Forte.
Forte is ranked 7th overall in the NFL in total rushing yards and will be a critical part of the Bears offense in Week 11. The Ravens need to cut off Forte as on option and force McCown to put the ball in the air.
Someone to lead the Ravens
One of the main problems for the Ravens, especially on offense, has been the lack of a leader. With running back Ray Rice underperforming, a lot of pressure has been put on quarterback Joe Flacco and his receivers. Wide receiver Torrey Smith has put up high numbers with 753 receiving yards, but he has only found the end zone twice so far this season.
Rookie Marlon Brown has stepped up as one of Flacco’s go-to receivers. But many wonder just how good the offense could be if there was someone to lead the younger players. The Ravens need someone that will take the reigns and drive the Ravens to a successful win on the road.