The Baltimore Ravens have a losing record so far this season but at 4-5 they are still very much in the playoff hunt in the AFC. Their win on Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals pulled them to within 1.5 games of the lead in the AFC North. Much of Baltimore’s struggles have been due to the lack of a consistent running game, but that could change Sunday against a Chicago team that ranks 31st giving up 129.4 rushing yards per game, and has allowed a 100-yard rusher in two straight and three of the last four games.
In the midst of probably the toughest stretch of his six-year career, running back Ray Rice has refused to blame his struggles on the hip flexor injury that sidelined him for one game and has seemingly limited his explosiveness and elusiveness in others, but maintains that he will get back to his old form:
“Once I get a little space, you’ll see I’m clear off the injury,” Rice said. “It’s an ongoing battle that you just have to keep working through. This is something different for me, it’s something different for the offensive line, and it’s something different for all of us. It’s something we’re not used to. In the grand scheme of things, we did come out with a win last week. I don’t want to harp too much on it, but it’s something that needs to be corrected.”
Their 73.1 yards per game average on the ground is the third worst in football. Their 2.8 yard per carry average is tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the worst in football.
The Chicago Bears are coming off of a tough loss at home to the Detroit Lions that knocked them into tie for second place in the NFC North. The news only got worse after learning All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman has been placed on injured reserve with a triceps injury. He’s eligible to return to practice in six weeks and game action in eight weeks, which means he’ll only play again this season if the Bears make the playoffs.
Bears defensive tackles Henry Melton, Nate Collins and linebacker D.J. Williams are all out with season-ending injuries. Linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder) and defensive end Shea McClellin (hamstring) are currently sidelined, so it it’s tough for that unit to stop anyone right now.