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The Ravens are tied with the Steelers for first place in the AFC North, with a head to head victory over them and one more game against them still to play.
The Buccaneers are one game back of the Falcons and a half game back of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
This game has monster playoff implications for both teams.
It's too early to start thinking about who's going to get what wild card spots, especially given how close all of the teams in the playoff race are, so all the contenders are going to need to sure up their divisions to get a spot in the NFL's "second season."
No one thought that the Ravens' defense would be the unit holding them back, but that is definitely the case this season. The Ravens would be alone on top of the North if the defense could have stopped the Falcons from driving over 80 yards with less than one minute to play last week in Atlanta.
QB Joe Flacco has developed great chemistry with his new favorite target Anquan Boldin, and Derick Mason is still doing what he's always done: Catching everything that's thrown his way.
Ravens' RB Ray Rice hasn't had the same success that he had last season, and the Ravens will need to work him into the offense this week to beat a young and surprisingly good Buccaneers team.
The Bucs are doing nothing spectacular, but they're doing enough to get the job done.
They have young talent, especially on offense. Second year QB Josh Freeman has found a favorite target in rookie WR Mike Williams, and it shows. Williams leads all rookies in TD receptions, and rookie RB LeGarret Blount is also playing well as of late.
The Ravens are going to need to bring their "A" game this week if they want to beat the Buccaneers on the Bucs' home field.
I believe that the Ravens' experience in big games will be the difference in this one.
While the Bucs have played well this year, they're going up against a perennial playoff team this week.
I just don't see the Ravens losing a game of this magnitude to a team this inexperienced.
Ravens 27, Buccaneers 17