Scouting Report

Ravens vs. Bears

October 23, 2005|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

Ravens run offense vs. Bears run defense

The Ravens remain committed to Jamal Lewis despite his year-long struggles. Their only two wins this season have come when Lewis carries more than 20 times. But his 3.0-yard average is 38th among running backs with at least 35 carries. It won't get any easier against the Bears, who have held four straight teams below 85 yards rushing. Led by middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, Chicago is the only defense not to allow a rushing touchdown this season. Defensive tackle Tommie Harris is a big factor against the run, and nose tackle Ian Scott is underrated. The Ravens will have to turn these interior linemen to create cutback lanes for Lewis.

Edge -- Bears

Ravens pass offense vs. Bears pass defense

There are two sides to Anthony Wright. He can be extremely efficient, completing more than 70 percent of his throws in two of the past three games. And then there are times when he makes costly mistakes (two straight games of being intercepted in the red zone). Wright will be without injured receiver Mark Clayton, who is expected to be replaced by Randy Hymes. Tight end Todd Heap has made a catch covering at least 20 yards the past four games. The key once again will be pass protection. The Ravens have solidified their blocking, giving up two sacks in the past three games. The Bears have recorded seven the past two weeks, including three by Urlacher. One concern for the Ravens is right tackle Orlando Brown matching up against end Adewale Ogunleye. Chicago's top playmaker in the secondary is strong safety Mike Brown.

Edge -- Bears

Bears run offense vs. Ravens run defense

The biggest surprise for Chicago has been running back Thomas Jones. The seventh-leading rusher in the NFL with 502 yards, Jones has scored half of the Bears' 12 touchdowns. But he was limited to 89 yards last Sunday against Minnesota. Chicago's offensive line is banged up and could be without left guard Ruben Brown (chest). Left tackle John Tait (ankle) and center Olin Kreutz both missed practice time but are expected to start. The Ravens have been more susceptible to runs up the middle yet still rank seventh in fewest rushing yards allowed. No running back has gained more than 88 yards against them this season. Linebacker Ray Lewis did not practice all week, but the Ravens said he will start.

Edge -- Ravens

Bears pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

Ed Reed, last season's NFL Defensive Player of the Year, will miss a game for the first time in his career. Chad Williams will start at strong safety, but the Ravens probably won't feel Reed's absence this game. Rookie quarterback Kyle Orton has completed just one pass of more than 25 yards this season. Receiver Muhsin Muhammad, Chicago's top free-agent addition, has caught 27 passes, which is 15 more than any other Bear. The Ravens will apply heavy pressure on Orton, who is making his sixth career start. He has thrown just one interception in his past two games after getting picked off five times against Cincinnati.

Edge -- Ravens

Special teams

The Ravens hold the edge in field-goal kicking, with Matt Stover converting his past seven tries. The Bears' Robbie Gould, who is 1-for-2 in two games, has a history with the Ravens. He was released by the Ravens last month, when they signed Aaron Elling as their kickoff specialist. The Ravens also have the advantage in punting. The Bears' Brad Maynard, whose punts lacked their usual distance because of a sore calf muscle, is questionable and could be replaced by Gabe Lindstrom. The Ravens' Dave Zastudil is averaging a career-best 43.4 yards. The punt returners offset each other. The Bears' Bobby Wade (14.7 yards) and the Ravens' B.J. Sams (13.1) are the top two in the NFL.

Edge -- Ravens

Intangibles

The Ravens have lost their past five road games, falling by double-digit margins each time. Injuries have begun to pile up as well, sidelining at least four Ravens starters: Reed, Clayton, quarterback Kyle Boller and defensive end Tony Weaver. The Bears are 2-1 at Soldier Field, where they routed the Vikings, 28-3, last Sunday. The Chicago defense will be motivated after fielding questions all week about whether it measures up to the Ravens'.

Edge -- Bears

Prediction

Starting a rookie quarterback against the Ravens usually results in no contest. But this is on the road, where logic simply doesn't apply to the Ravens.

Bears -- 17-10

Ravens offense

WR 80 Randy Hymes

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

LG 64 Edwin Mulitalo

C 62 Mike Flynn

RG 68 Keydrick Vincent

RT 77 Orlando Brown

TE 86 Todd Heap

WR 85 Derrick Mason

QB 2 Anthony Wright

FB 39 Alan Ricard

RB 31 Jamal Lewis

Bears defense

LE 93 Adewale Ogunleye

DT 91 Tommie Harris

NT 95 Ian Scott

RE 96 Alex Brown

OLB 55 Lance Briggs

MLB 54 Brian Urlacher

OLB 92 Hunter Hillenmeyer

CB 33 Charles Tillman

CB 31 Nathan Vasher

SS 30 Mike Brown

FS 46 Chris Harris

Bears offense

WR 87 Muhsin Muhammad

LT 76 John Tait

LG 63 Roberto Garza

C 57 Olin Kreutz

RG 60 Terrence Metcalf

RT 69 Fred Miller

TE 88 Desmond Clark

WR 16 Mark Bradley

QB 18 Kyle Orton

FB 49 Marc Edwards

RB 20 Thomas Jones

Ravens defense

LE 95 Jarret Johnson

LT 97 Kelly Gregg

RT 92 Maake Kemoeatu

RE 55 Terrell Suggs

OLB 96 Adalius Thomas

MLB 52 Ray Lewis

OLB 50 Tommy Polley

CB 21 Chris McAlister

CB 22 Samari Rolle

SS 49 Chad Williams

FS 47 Will Demps

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