Mark Zinno: Ravens Reactive – Vikings At Ravens Outlook
KEY MATCHUP: Jared Allen vs. Eugene Monroe. The Ravens left tackle has smoothed out his transition since coming over from Jacksonville. When the Ravens faced the Bears, Julius Peppers had his way with Monroe and it made like hell for Joe Flacco all day. Jared Allen is all that Julius Peppers is and more. Monroe needs to play better against Allen if the passing game is to have any success.
THE RAVENS WIN IF: They contain Adrian Peterson. This isn’t rocket science or quantum physics. He’s going to get his. You have to limit how much “his” he gets. He’s going to get 30-plus carries, especially if the weather is bad as forecasted. Slowing him down is essential to the Ravens to give their defense a rest and control the clock.
THE RAVENS LOSE IF: Matt Cassel makes plays. He is expected to make his first start since mid-October. He has shown certain stretches where he is making good throws and smart decisions. The Vikings have three wins this season, Cassel has started one and finished the other two. Don’t let him get into a groove early on.
FANTASY TIP: Justin Tucker again. The Ravens have trouble scoring touchdowns, so Tucker is the best offensive weapon they’ve sported over the last few weeks. Ride the hot hand … or in this case, foot!
WHAT’S AT STAKE: A three game sweep of this home stand, getting above .500 for the first time since after Week 5 and holding onto the final playoff spot in the AFC. That should be enough for the Ravens not to have a let down against a team that hasn’t won a road game all season.
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