Carroll County Times

Ravens: Packers' offense, Rodgers a stiff challenge

OWINGS MILLS - The Ravens' pass defense has been markedly better during the last four games.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill did throw for 307 yards against Baltimore last week, but he was just 7 of 19 for 129 yards without a touchdown during the second half.
The Ravens allowed Peyton Manning to throw for 462 yards and seven touchdowns in Week 1, but the four quarterbacks Baltimore has faced since have thrown for an average of just 223 yards per game.
And just more than a month after giving up the 462 yards to Manning, Baltimore now ranks a respectable 16th in pass defense. It also has more interceptions (3) than passing touchdowns allowed (2) in the four games since that loss to the Broncos.
But, as several members of the secondary acknowledged this week, today's matchup with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will provide the biggest test for Baltimore's pass defense since Week 1.
"Personally, I think Peyton Manning is one of the best ever to do it, and I think Aaron Rodgers is taking steps that way," Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said. "When you're playing a quarterback that has full control over the offense and their receivers are in tune, you have to be on your best game.
"We're looking at this game like we're facing another Peyton Manning. To Aaron Rodgers' credit, he's a little quicker with the ball. He has better arm strength right now. He can fit some balls in there that you wouldn't expect."
The Packers also have one of the more talented groups of wide receivers.
Jordy Nelson ranks fourth in the NFC in receiving yards per game (92.8). Randall Cobb had 80 catches last year and has 25 in four games this year. And James Jones caught 14 touchdowns last season.
All three are averaging at least 81 receiving yards per game.