Inclement weather won’t slow Roquan Smith, Ravens’ defense

OWINGS MILLS — The weather in Baltimore is expected to be frightful for the Ravens and Rams matchup in Week 14.

Meteorologists are predicting a 100 percent chance of rain with wind up to 20 miles per hour for parts of the game.

And that’s just fine for Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith and the rest of the defense.

“I definitely feel like [the weather[ can impact the game from an offensive perspective, but from a defensive perspective, like I say all the time: ‘You can roll it out wherever – pavement, trampoline – you want to get out there and play,” Smith said. “[If] you want to do it in the lake [like] water polo, hey, we’re all about it.

“We’ll go anywhere, any time. We’ve done it, and we don’t mind doing it again. So, whatever the case may be, we’ll be ready; I can promise you that.” 

Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton (14) celebrates with linebacker Roquan Smith (0) after scoring a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium.  By Jessica Rapfogel-USA Today

Smith has led a Ravens defense that has been among the best in the league.

Baltimore ranks:

  • No. 2 for total defense (273.9 yards per game)
  • No. 1 for points per game (15.6)
  • No. 2 vs the pass (171.7 ypg)
  • No. 11 ve the run (102.3 ypg)
  • No. 7 on third down (36.2 percent)
  • No. 1 on fourth down (36.4 percent)
  • No. 3 in the red zone (37.5 percent)

Smith leads the team with 126 tackles, followed by fellow linebacker Patrick Queen with 102. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike already has a career-high 10 sacks and Jadeveon Clowney, who was signed as a free agent, has 7.5 sacks.

“Truth be told, going into each and every year, there [are] truly only probably eight [or] nine teams that actually have a chance to compete for a Super Bowl, and that’s on the higher side,” Smith said. “[We just know] that we actually have an opportunity to [compete for a Super Bowl], but we just can’t get to the bigger picture. We have to take it one game at a time, and we express that to each other day in and day out.”

The key for the Ravens will be to limit the explosive plays by Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has thrown for 2,768 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Wide receiver Puka Nacua has 77 catches for 1,029 yards, which broke the franchise record for receiving yards in a rookie season.

The weather could help slow that attack because it might be difficult to throw the ball into a steady wind.

That means the Ravens have another advantage because they are the NFL’s top running team, averaging 158,6 yards per game.

That rushing attack becomes critical as the weather turns colder in December and beyond.

[It’s] December football [and] January football, the run the game is important,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Stopping the run is massive. Stopping the run against this team is critically important. Running the ball against this defense is very important. It’s going to be that way. We’re going to be saying that every week all the way in December here, so [it’s] a big part.” 


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