The Baltimore Ravens and San Fransisco 49ers have seen quite a bit of each other over the past few seasons with several preseason games, but this week’s matchup will be the first meaningful game between the two clubs since the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII.
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A lot has changed since the 2012 championship run by the Ravens. The most notable change will be at head coach for the 49ers as John Harbaugh’s brother, Jim Harbaugh, is longer the man in charge in the Bay Area. The Niners also own a pair receivers that were key pieces to the Ravens championship. What no one expected was for both of these teams to take a serious nose dive in the standings since being a part of that infamous Sunday.
The Ravens never thought they would be 1-4 at this point of the season, but injuries continue to hinder the squad. It also doesn’t help when you blow a late lead in just about every game so far this season. The Ravens have allowed Derek Carr and Josh McCown to like like Pro Bowl players, but managed to hold Peyton Manning in check.
Meanwhile, the Niners are in a rut of their own. They are also sporting a 1-4 record, with their only win coming in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. They were in position to win the game last week against the New York Giants, but Eli Manning led the Giants for the game-winning score on the final drive. Something Ravens have gotten accustomed to seeing from their defenses as well.
Both teams find themselves in the bottom of their respective divisions and will need a turnaround to get back into the race. The Niners playoff hopes are virtually over with as they trail the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams in their own division, and it’s possible that all three of those teams make the playoffs. The Ravens are chasing an undefeated Cincinnati Bengals team, but the AFC does not look as strong as in years past. As crazy as it sounds, the Ravens still have some hope of turning things around.
Of course, that all starts with a win in San Fransisco. Here are the five keys to a Ravens win this week:
Next: Force the Scrambling QB to be Immobile