Ravens vs. Cowboys
The line: Ravens -4
Last week: Ravens (4-1) won at the Kansas City Chiefs 9-6; Cowboys (2-2) had a bye.
Series: Ravens lead 3-0.
Last meeting: Ravens won 33-24 on Dec 20. 2008 in the last game to be held at Texans Stadium.
Burning question: Can the receivers get open? In a loss to the Eagles and near loss to the Chiefs, they couldn't get separation as the QB Joe Flacco and the hurry-up offense shut down.
Keys to victory on offense: Flacco has been sacked eight times in the last two games, which has led coach John Harbaugh to shuffling his starting lineup by inserting veteran Bobbie Williams at left guard in place of Ramon Harewood. Williams was projected to be the starter before the season but was slowed by surgery to his broken ankle. RB Ray Rice had 102 yards on 17 carries last week and appears to want the ball more, though he has said all the right things publicly. If the WRs continue to have trouble getting separation in bump-and-run coverage, Rice has to get more chances.
Keys to victory on defense: Make QB Tony Romo a pocket passer and force him into mistakes, much like the Ravens did during the first half vs. Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles. This isn't a great pass-rushing team with just their down linemen, but Dallas' offensive line has been suspect in pass protection. If the Ravens fail to create consistent pressure and allow RB DeMarco Murray to get into a groove, it's gong to be a long day.
Injury report: RAVENS -- Probable: T Jah Reid (calf); DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder). COWBOYS -- Out: P Brian Moorman (groin); Questionable: C/G Ryan Cook (hamstrong), P Chris Jones (knee), LB Anthony Spencer (shoulder); Probable: LB Alex Albright (back), WR Miles Austin (hamstring), CB Morris Claiborne (illness), DT Kenyon Coleman (knee), C Phil Costa (back), S Matt Johnson (hamstring), NT Jay Ratliff (ankle), DT Marcus Spears (knee).
Prediction: Ravens 21-17.