Game Scout: Ravens at Packers

We have everything you need to know about tonight's game, from keys to the game to the final injury report to the game plan. Plus, join Bill Huber as he chats live from Lambeau Field during the game.

PackerReport.com subscribers can chat with publisher Bill Huber during tonight's game. To join us just before kickoff, click here. For information on subscribing to Packer Report, click here.



Kampman to injured reserve

-- Before the game, the Packers placed outside linebacker Aaron Kampman on season-ending injured reserve, Scout.com's Adam Caplan is reporting. He suffered a season-ending knee injury 15 days ago against San Francisco. To take his place on the roster, the Packers promoted fellow outside linebacker Cyril Obiozor from the practice squad.

Baltimore Ravens (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-4)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Surface: Grass.

TV: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden).

Keys to the game

RB Ray Rice is the engine of the Ravens' offense, and his versatility as a runner and receiver will be critical against Green Bay's top-ranked defense. QB Joe Flacco will attack CB Tramon Williams opposite red-hot Charles Woodson, but most important will be spreading the ball around to more than just Rice and WR Derrick Mason. The Packers have a plus-17 turnover ratio and predictability will lead to mistakes. The Ravens' team speed on defense will make life difficult for RB Ryan Grant, who lacks great explosiveness. But the Packers know they can't get one-dimensional with QB Aaron Rodgers having been sacked 44 times. ... The Packers are first in the NFL in turnovers at plus-17 with the Ravens tied for eighth at plus-4.

Fast facts

The Ravens have allowed an average of just 11.6 points the past five games, second-fewest in the league in that span. ... Woodson, the reigning NFC defensive player of the month, leads the league with 11 turnover-producing plays — seven interceptions and four forced fumbles. ... The Packers rank sixth in offense (11th rushing, sixth passing) and first in defense (fourth rushing, sixth passing). The Ravens rank 13th in offense (14th rushing, 13th passing) and 10th in defense (sixth rushing, 12th passing). ... Aaron Rodgers has 13 completions of 40 yards or longer, one fewer than Tony Romo's league-leading 14. Joe Flacco has only seven.

Inactives

Packers: WR Biren Ealy, CB Josh Bell, FB Quinn Johnson, S Matt Giordano, OT Breno Giacomini, OT Allen Barbre, DE Michael Montgomery, LB Jeremy Thompson.

Ravens: QB Josh Beck (third quarterback), S Ed Reed, FB Charles Ali, LB Terrell Suggs, T Oniel Cousins, T Tony Moll, TE L.J. Smith, NT Kelly Talavou.

Suggs was not expected to play but Reed practiced on Saturday, so his absence is a bit of a surprise. Former Notre Dame star Tom Zbikowski will get the start.

Injury reports

Packers: Out – LB Aaron Kampman (knee); LB Jeremy Thompson (knee). Questionable: OT T.J. Lang (concussion). Probable – RT Allen Barbre (ankle); LB Brandon Chillar (hand); LT Chad Clifton (hamstring); RB Ryan Grant (shoulder); RB Ahman Green (groin); fullback John Kuhn (hand); QB Aaron Rodgers (ribs); cornerback Charles Woodson (hip).

Ravens: Doubtful – TE L.J. Smith (ankle); LB Terrell Suggs (knee). Questionable – S K.J. Gerard (thigh); S Ed Reed (ankle and hip); CB Cary Williams (thigh). Probable – C Matt Birk (neck); LB Prescott Burgess (thigh); QB Joe Flacco (ankle); LB Jarret Johnson (shoulder); LB Ray Lewis (foot); FB Le'Ron McClain (chest); DT Haloti Ngata (ankle); WR Kelley Washington (illness); WR Demetrius Williams (illness).

Game plan

The Packers rank second in the league with an average time of possession of 33:26, but thinking they can control the clock by consistently and effectively running the football could be a pipe dream. The relentless Ravens are allowing an average of only 97.6 rushing yards per game, ranking sixth, and thrive on turning opposing offenses one-dimensional.

So, look for Packers head coach/play caller Mike McCarthy, who isn't bashful about going to the air, to continue a recent trend of quick, short throws from Aaron Rodgers, and count on the receivers to keep the chains and the game clock moving.

Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers undoubtedly took some pointers from the Pittsburgh Steelers in how they with a similar 3-4 scheme frequently hounded Joe Flacco and sacked him five times in the Ravens' overtime win Sunday. The fate of the Packers' No. 1-rated defense likely will hinge on how it can handle Baltimore's late-season switch to a bigger, unbalanced front as the Ravens look to take pressure off Flacco by pounding the football with the three-back trio of versatile Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain.

Inside the Ravens

The Ravens have never won at Green Bay's Lambeau Field, losing both of their trips to the historic venue. But the Baltimore players say the mystique of Lambeau won't affect Monday night's pivotal game.

"After you've been through it the first time and you walk into the stadium, the frozen tundra and all the history that's behind it, once you get out there and you're kind of amazed by the field and the crowd, after that it's football," veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "We're not playing the stadium, so that's a good thing. You go in there and you relish what's going on, but then you have to play against Charles Woodson.

"He's way more of a threat than Lambeau Field. If he could leave and I could play against Lambeau Field, that would be great. He's playing tremendous right now. You can't say anything but good things about him."

The Ravens' first trip to Lambeau was in 1998, when they lost to Green Bay 28-10. The Ravens had only 233 yards of total offense and two quarterbacks (Jim Harbaugh and Eric Zeier) completed 17-of-39 passes.

The Ravens' last trip there was in 2001, when the defending Super Bowl champions were embarrassed by Brett Favre. Working out of the shotgun, Favre threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns against the Ravens, who had been the NFL's top-ranked pass defense.

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis is the only current player on the roster to play against the Packers at Lambeau for the Ravens.

"It's going to be pretty cool," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "Everybody hears about Lambeau Field and what a great atmosphere it is."

Since 2000, the Packers are 18-4 in regular-season games played in December and January at home, fourth best in the NFL.

And with their win over the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago, the Packers have won 17 of their past 24 regular-season games at home.

"Regardless of the past, we believe in us and know who we are. It's exciting to me. It's Lambeau. There's a lot of history there," wide receiver Mark Clayton said. "To be in that atmosphere is going to be a lot of fun. I never thought I would play there as a kid."

The cold weather is arguably much more of an issue than the history. According to forecasts, it's expected to be about 23 degrees at kickoff. It won't be snowing much during the game, with a few inches scheduled for Monday morning.

"As long as it's not minus-40, it doesn't matter," Mason said. "Once you start playing, you start to heat up. The worst part is when you stop and go to the sideline, and then you start freezing again. I don't think weather can be an excuse unless it's pouring down rain.

"They have to play in the same weather. You go out there and you hope this time of year that it's snowing. That means it's typically a little bit warmer."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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