The Bears have been riding on the back of RB Thomas Jones all season, and relying on a stout defense that has forced 13 turnovers and has held four straight opponents under 285 yards in total offense. That will be the plan again, although offensive coordinator Ron Turner continues to talk about stretching the field, which the Bears seem a little more comfortable with each week, as rookie Kyle Orton gains experience in the system.
"You've got one guy that's a slasher cutback type guy and you've got a power runner," said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. "So to me we most certainly got to be good in run gaps and run fits and not give them any creases to pop the big one."
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Bears RB Thomas Jones vs. Ravens MLB Ray Lewis. Jones is seventh in the NFL with 502 rushing yards and has scored six touchdowns. The Ravens' defense is No. 7 in rushing yards allowed and the Bears will have to account for where Lewis is at all times.
"It does limit what you can do, you have to always be aware of where that guy is," Turner said of Lewis. "Fifty-two is all over the field, he's a great, great player and he definitely affects your game planning."
"They've got a few Hall of Famers in the secondary, they're so deep there and really experienced," Orton said. "All the guys they got there are really experienced and so I don't think I'll be picking on any of those guys. I'm just going to go through my progressions and try to throw to the open receiver instead of the open linebacker."
RAVENS GAME PLAN
The Ravens have a high respect for the Bears run defense. They could go to a short passing game early to loosen up Chicago. But the Ravens won't go away from their running game totally. They still want Jamal Lewis to get his carries and control the clock. The Ravens have to avoid third-and-long situations. Their pass protection has improved but it can't hold up against Chicago in obvious passing situations.
Defensively, the Ravens will apply a lot of pressure on rookie quarterback Kyle Orton. But they will be deceptive with it. They don't want Orton to know where the fifth and sixth player is blitzing. There's not too much of a concern with Chad Williams replacing the injured Ed Reed at safety. Williams is physical enough to hold up against the run, and the Ravens don't expect the Bears to attack them down the middle of the field.
Even with trying to put pressure on Orton, the Ravens realize that he's not the center of their offense.
"What makes their offense go is their run game," Lewis said. "And they've made it up in their mind that they want to run the football and play good defense. And that's when I'm coming in with a mindset of saying that I have to stop their running back."
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Ravens RB Jamal Lewis vs. Bears LB Brian Urlacher. Lewis is off to career-worst start and hasn't cracked 100 yards in five games, which matches the longest drought of his career. Urlacher, who leads the Bears with 52 tackles, is the key to the NFL's fourth-ranked run defense. The Bears have held four straight opponents to less than 85 rushing yards.
Ravens PR B.J. Sams vs. Bears PR Bobby Wade. Sams is second in the NFL in punt return average (13.1) while Wade is first (14.7). Sams ran back a punt 52 yards -- his season long -- last Sunday and is key to jump-starting a struggling Ravens offense, while Wade can lay a similar claim for the Bears.
Ravens CB Chris McAlister vs. Bears WR Muhsin Muhammad. McAlister has only allowed one touchdown scored against him. He leads the Ravens with eight passes broken up. A physical player like McAlister is a good test for Muhammad, who leads the Bears with 27 of the team's 79 receptions, but is averaging just 11.0 yards per catch with a long of 28.
"I'm not a possession receiver," Muhammad said. "I like to go deep. And at some point in the season we'll have the opportunity to stretch the field." Whether it will come against the Ravens secondary is doubtful.