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Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers Free Pick - 8/22/13

Carolina Panthers (1-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

NFL Football: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm (M&T Bank Stadium)

The Line: Baltimore Ravens -3 -- Over/Under: 43.5 See the Latest Odds


The Carolina Panthers look for their second victory of the preseason when they visit the Baltimore Ravens.

What did we learn about the Panthers in their 14-9 loss at Philadelphia? The first team offense needs some work if that was the first team we saw for 30 minutes. Cam Newton played the entire first half, going 8-17 for 112 yards in something of a pedestrian type effort. I guess the best players on the field for Carolina were Graham Gano and Morgan Lineberry who were 3-3 on field goals while the offense struggled on the ground and were 0-2 in the red zone. This was against the same Eagles defense that gave up chunks of real estate to New England the week before. The defense struggled to stop the Philly attack that rolled up over 400 and gave away a few scoring opportunities that left points on the field and kept the scoreboard competitive. The bottom line was 15 first downs and 78 rushing yards on 32 totes didn't help the passing game.

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Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers Free Pick - 8/22/13

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

So far, so good for the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens who improved to 2-0 in the preseason in a 27-23 victory over Atlanta. However, the final score is deceiving with Baltimore's first string doing almost nothing with the Falcons leading 20-7 heading in to the break. Tyrod Taylor led the Ravens to 20 unanswered points in the fourth and that only proved which team had the better bench. Joe Flacco and the offense had one bright moment on a 77 yard catch and run touchdown toss to Torrey Smith, while the defense was even worse with Matt Ryan and the Falcons attack able to do what they pleased. Despite the Ravens big come back the numbers tell the real story with the Falcons amassing 27 first downs and over 420 yards in any manner they chose even though they were just 2-5 in the red zone.

As we see in the preseason, the final score can be as confusing as trying to figure who is playing and for how long. In Baltimore's case it didn't matter because the first string was awful and with Carolina, they might have been better but had no passion in my view. I don't know what the game plan is here or how long the respective first teams will see the field, but my best guess would be that Baltimore has something to prove...

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