With a win against the Atlanta Falcons in tow and fresh off of an unofficial bye week, the Carolina Panthers return to action in Week 11 to face the Baltimore Ravens. The Panthers are 1-2 against the John Harbaugh-lead Ravens, including a 38-10 beatdown at M&T Bank Stadium in 2014. Here are the keys to a Panthers’ upset in Baltimore.
Attacking The Pass Rush
Baltimore has developed a solid pass rush throughout the season and linebacker Justin Houston is a huge reason for that. On the year, Houston leads the team in sacks with 8.5. They also expect Tyus Bowser to return, giving the Ravens additional pass rush help. The Ravens will constantly pressure Baker Mayfield and force turnovers. Expect Baltimore to force turnovers by blitzing. The Panthers should attack the Ravens’ secondary, ranked 28th in the league against the pass. After testing them with short and mid routes, Mayfield and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo should concertedly feature DJ Moore in deep routes.
‘The Spy Who Sacked Me’
It’s no secret that Lamar Jackson is a potent dual threat under center. He’s led all quarterbacks in rushing over the past five seasons. The Panthers need to put an athletic linebacker on the assignment of containing Jackson.
For the Panthers, that name is Luvu. Frankie Luvu. After bouts with injury, Luvu is now healthy and his athleticism and versatility are needed to help limit Jackson’s damage. If Jackson ever comes out of the pocket, expect Luvu to play ’spy’ coverage. Also, expect Luvu to blow up the pocket by shooting up the gaps.
Don’t Forget About The Run
While I suggested that Mayfield should test the Ravens’ secondary in increments, it’s important for the Panthers to establish their run game. The Panthers are averaging 159.5 yards per game rushing since Christian McCaffrey was traded to San Francisco- a 69-yard jump from the six games with him. Carolina should feature more touches for D’Onta Foreman. In Foreman, the Panthers can match the Ravens’ physicality, and have a tendency to wear down defenses as the game goes on.