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Ravens need Courtney Upshaw, Pernell McPhee to step up this week

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The two outside linebackers could be seeing plenty of playing time with Elvis Dumervil doubtful for Sunday's game against the Vikings.

Courtney Upshaw (pictured) and Pernell McPhee will likely rotate in, assuming Elvis Dumervil, deemed doubtful, is unable to play Sunday.
Courtney Upshaw (pictured) and Pernell McPhee will likely rotate in, assuming Elvis Dumervil, deemed doubtful, is unable to play Sunday.
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With Elvis Dumervil doubtful for Sunday's game against the Vikings, the Ravens are likely to be without the guy currently leading the team in sacks with 9.5.

This means it will be important for the Ravens to get quality production from outside linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Pernell McPhee. The No. 1 objective will be to stop Adrian Peterson and the running game, so these two guys will need to set an edge and force Peterson back inside.

If the Ravens are successful stopping the run, then it will be on Upshaw and McPhee to get after quarterback Matt Cassel and prevent plays downfield.

McPhee has two sacks this season and Upshaw has one, with both playing in backup roles. It was only two years ago when McPhee had a monster rookie season with 5.5 sacks as a defensive lineman. He's transitioned to outside linebacker well, but could be counted on for a bigger role this week.

The good news for the Ravens is that the Vikings are more one-dimensional than the other remaining teams on the schedule. It can probably afford to sit Dumervil this week and let him rest up for the final three games.

But Upshaw and McPhee will be needed to provide a similar presence to what Dumervil has provided each Sunday this season.