Baltimore head coach Brian Billick said his team isn't overlooking Chicago. "What impresses us most about Chicago is their defense," he said. "Our personnel people rank the talent on that defense among the top four or five in the league. And there's no doubt James Allen has the attention of our defense."
Allen will play a key role in determining if the offense can keep the Ravens defense on the field, which is the only chance the Bears have to win in Baltimore. Blache knows his defense will need help in the form of a ball control offense come Sunday.
"I hope that we're able to get the offense off the field and have our offense expose and exploit their defense," Blache said. "When you have a good running back and you have a good running game no question it helps your defense, because the game is shortened. You don't have to play as many possessions you don't have to play as many minutes and they might impact their defense."
Another factor that could hinder the Raven defense is the loss of 1,300 yard plus running back Jamal Lewis to a season ending knee injury. Blache said his biggest concern is that he doesn't know how Lewis' absence will change the Ravens offensive game plan. With Terry Allen and the recent signing of former Viking RB Moe Williams the Ravens still plan on running the ball, but with Elvis Grbac at quarterback the offense could open up.
With the return of Brian Urlacher (tonsillitis) and Tony Parrish Chicago's defense should have their full compliment of starters for the first time this year. Still, even at full strength Blache knows the Bears have an uphill battle, but the team can't play conservative against Baltimore.
"We know that they're the world champs. We can't go in and decision these people; they will win the decision we've got to knock them out. And that's what we've been trying to sell the guys. You can't go in there and feel like you can lay on the ropes and point these guys. You've got to ball your fists, you've got to knock them to the canvas."