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Rice has the talent to have a big day on the ground, but the Baltimore game plan won't let him put up big numbers Sunday versus the Packers.
Rice is one of the more talented backs in the NFL who plays in an offense that depends upon an effective ground attack to win games. In fact, Baltimore is so rush dependent, Bernard Pierce—Rice's backup—often figures to play a big role in moving the chains each week.
But if I'm correct, this game will be more of a match that pits Flacco against Rodgers rather than Lacy and Rice duking it out in a good old-fashion battle of field position.
The Green Bay linebacking corps is decimated right now with Matthews out, Jones a question mark and a converted lineman in Neal projected to start. With the personnel the Ravens will be facing, Baltimore could probably achieve a modicum of success by trying to gash these backups with Rice between the tackles. However, they are much more susceptible through the air.
Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers would have a much easier job if the Ravens decided to run right at the powerful (if lumbering) Perry, Neal, A.J. Hawk and Jamari Lattimore.
But if the Ravens choose to get Rice and Pierce in space out in the flat, that's where the Packers' linebacking weakness can be exploited. So while Rice may have a slow day on the ground, he certainly won't have a slow day overall.
Rice should catch five or six passes out in the flat or on screens. But I still don't think it will be enough for the Ravens to protect home field. This pace favors Green Bay, and it's why I see them winning, 38-34, against Baltimore in a highly entertaining Week 6 game.