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Week 4: Ravens-Bills matchup analysis

The SportsXchange

Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. - TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

*Keys to the game: The Ravens want to revive a running game ranked 31st in the NFL at 2.6 yards per carry and RB Ray Rice (hip) plans to play after a one-week layoff. The Bills are 30th in the NFL against the run, allowed 182 yards to the Jets last week and are unlikely to have FS Jairus Byrd (foot) for the fourth straight game. The Bills have speed, but inexperience, at linebacker and by establishing the run, QB Joe Flacco should get windows to widen with play-action fakes. He's getting more comfortable with TE Dallas Clark, but must be mindful of DE Mario Williams, a potential terror off the right side who had 4.5 sacks in one game this season. The Bills allowed eight sacks last week and can expect the Ravens to bring the kitchen sink. Baltimore has been pleased with ILB Daryl Smith and S Matt Elam, who faced Bills QB EJ Manuel multiple times while at Florida. The Ravens don't have a great option for RB C.J. Spiller in pass coverage when they apply their usual man coverage. Buffalo wants to establish Spiller first as a runner, but the Ravens are stout up front and Spiller, off to a slow start, is battling a knee injury.

*Matchup to watch - Ravens CB Lardarius Webb vs. Bills WR Stevie Johnson: Webb is a fast cover guy who excels in man-to-man coverage and did a nice job containing Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. Stevie Johnson is a go-to wide receiver, especially on downfield routes.

*Player spotlight - Ravens C Gino Gradkowski: Replacing Matt Birk hasn't been an easy task and linemates are still getting accustomed to a new pivot, especially when Flacco changes plays or blocking assignments. "Gino isn't going to be Matt. Obviously, Matt was playing for 15 years and he could make calls with his eyes blindfolded," OG Marshal Yanda said.

*Fast facts: The Ravens are one of three NFL teams yet to allow a rushing touchdown (Buccaneers, Cowboys) this season. ... RB Fred Jackson needs 46 yards to move into third place all-time for total yards in Bills history.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata smell fresh quarterback -- the Ravens sell out to stampede EJ Manuel and roll to a third straight win.

*Our pick: Ravens 28-15
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