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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-12-04

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-12-04

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-12-04
As the Ravens begin to make their playoff run, they know they will have to stop the run.

When the Ravens (8-4) play host to the Washington Redskins (7-5), the focus will be stopping running back Clinton Portis.

"He's probably one of the exceptional backs in the game right now," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "We have to do a good job of containing."

Portis has been slowed by a neck injury, but the Ravens are expecting that he will play against the NFL's third-ranked run defense.

"We expect him to be there, no question about it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

Portis is the NFL's second-leading rusher, averaging 102 yards a game. The Ravens defense is allowing 80.2 yards rushing.

The only team that has run on the Ravens this season has been the New York Giants. Since that game, the Ravens have bolstered down defensively.

In fact, the Ravens haven't allowed a touchdown in the past two games.

"We don't talk about it," defensive end-linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "It's kind of like the pitcher when he's throwing a no-hitter."

This prime-time game has a lot on the line for the Ravens.

Not only are the Ravens aiming for a playoff spot, but this marks the first time that the rival Redskins are playing at M&T Bank Stadium.

Ravens players are starting to hear the fans' bitter feelings toward the Washington Redskins, whose stadium is 32 miles away from M&T Bank.

"I've heard it from my neighbors," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "They told me how much they hate them. It's like a Pittsburgh thing. They hate the Redskins as much as them."

But the Ravens know there is more at stake than just bragging rights.

With four weeks remaining in the regular season, the Ravens (8-4) are one game behind the first-place Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) in the AFC North and one game ahead of the New England Patriots (7-5) and Miami Dolphins (7-5) for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC.

The players expect a postseason feel to Sunday night's game.

"Anyone who says different will be just trying to fool you guys," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "They've got a lot on the line and we do also because we're still in the hunt for a place in the playoffs as well as the division.

"So, we're going to go out there and play as if our football lives depend on it each and every week. So yeah, it's going to be a playoff-type atmosphere. If it's not, a lot of people will be disappointed."

SERIES HISTORY: 4th regular-season meeting. The Ravens lead series, 2-1. The Ravens won the last meeting (in 2004) by beating the Redskins, 17-10, at FedEx Field. Ed Reed caused a fumble and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown and B.J. Sams ran back a punt 78 yards for another score. The third quarter was as pivotal as it was peculiar, as those big plays wiped away a 10-0 deficit during a 7 1/2-minute span in which the Ravens didn't run an offensive play. This marks the first time that the Redskins will play at M&T Bank Stadium.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

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Bart Scott Name: Bart Scott
Position: LB
Age: 27
Experience: 7 years
College: Southern Illinois
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