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Ravens run defense off to good start, hoping for more of the same against Carolina

The Ravens are limiting teams to just 89.7 rushing yards per game.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Through three games, the Ravens have been strong against the run.

They rank eighth in the NFL in total run defense, giving up an average of 89.7 yards per game on the ground. Coach John Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees will take those numbers each week as that's a key part to the staff's philosophy.

While Browns running backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell had some nice carries this past Sunday, the Ravens still held Cleveland to 91 rushing yards. No running back has been able to have a great deal of success thus far, which includes Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, who is arguably off to the best start of any ball carrier in the NFL.

Baltimore held Bell to 59 yards. He rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland and 147 yards against Carolina.

Even though the Ravens have done an exceptional job against the run, Harbaugh didn't think it was good enough following the 23-21 win over Cleveland. With the Panthers up next, Harbaugh said he's hopeful his defense will get to continue the trend, though acknowledging there might be some issues on tape that Carolina's backs will look to exploit.

"They want to run the ball [and] it'll be a big challenge for us," Harbaugh said during Monday's press conference. "They're going to probably watch the tape and think they can run the ball a little bit on us; I expect to see toss-sweeps based on what they saw the Browns doing. So, we're going to have to get that defended."

While Harbaugh is saying the right things, the Panthers' rushing attack has faltered early. Carolina is only getting 72.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 29th in the league. DeAngelo Williams has been banged up and Jonathan Stewart hasn't been too effective and is now hurt, too.

The Ravens hold an advantage in this area of the game and will look to take Carolina's running game away early.