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CARDINALS RUN OFFENSE VS RAVENS RUN DEFENSE
Whether Cardinals running back Beanie Wells plays or not — he's considered a game-time decision — the Ravens should have an advantage in this matchup. The Ravens' rush defense, which did allow 105 yards to the Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew, though it was on 30 carries, is surrendering 85.8 yards on the ground per game, the third-lowest mark in the NFL. Linebackers Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata have been stout against the run, and the Ravens have also benefited from the emergence of nose tackle Terrence Cody and linebacker Jameel McClain (above). The Cardinals' running game has been inconsistent, compiling 98 yards per game. Only eight teams average less. Wells has carried 91 times for 423 yards and six touchdowns, tied for the third-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL. Three of those touchdowns came in an Oct. 2 loss to the New York Giants. Wells hurt his knee in last week's Steelers game, but he improved steadily throughout the week. If he can't go, Arizona will go with a running-back-by-committee approach with LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith and former Raven Chester Taylor.
August 19, 2011