Ravens struggling offense faces Buffalo's 30th ranked rush defense

If Ray Rice is able to play, the Ravens will need his running ability to come through for a team that hasn't been able to run the ball through three games. - Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have gone against three top 10 rush defenses to open the year. Will it have the same result against the Bills, which ranks 30th in the NFL in run defense?

We're all aware the Ravens haven't been able to run the ball.

As a team, they're averaging 2.6 yards per carry. That factoid has been rehashed here and elsewhere time and time again. Very little space has been created for Baltimore's ball carriers, whether it's Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce.

Three games isn't the greatest sample size but it's at least somewhat indicative of where a team is with the first quarter of the season coming to a close after this Sunday.

Yes, the Ravens would have liked to get the running game off to a better start. But for the eternal optimist inside you, consider the first three games good practice for a running game that's got a new run game coordinator in Juan Castillo and an offensive coordinator in Jim Caldwell that's implementing his own tweaks as well.

The Broncos, thus far, pose the NFL's top run defense, averaging just 43.3 yards against them on the ground. The Browns rank seventh against the run, with teams only going for 84.3 rushing yards against them. The Texans are ninth, giving up 91.3 rushing yards per outing.

The Ravens should and could do better with the run. But it's not like they're going up against a bunch of slouches either. Take into account that these teams are showing seven men in the box a lot of times due to Baltimore's lack of a second deep threat at receiver and it becomes even tougher for the Ravens to run the ball.

Could the Ravens receive a reprieve this week? The statistics show they might. Buffalo has been decimated with injuries and are expected to trot out a banged up Mario Williams that isn't 100 percent with an ankle injury.

The Bills enter the contest tied for 30th against the run, with only Jacksonville ranking worse. Teams have averaged 155 rushing yards per game against Buffalo. New England's Shane Vereen ran for 101 yards against the Bills, with no other Patriots running back running for more than 65 in the following two weeks.

A week ago, the Jets gashed the Bills with Bilal Powell going bonkers for 149 yards. In a win over Carolina, Buffalo did contain DeAngelo Williams under 100 yards.

This will be a telling week for the Ravens. The running game should be able to get going. If it can't, against this Bills front seven, then that will be a telling sign of where this offense is at.

It's one thing to get stifled by three top 10 rush defenses. By Buffalo?

That would be unacceptable.

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