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BALTIMORE RAVENS

THE BASICS

Coach: John Harbaugh (32-16 in three seasons)

Offensive coordinator: Cam Cameron

Defensive coordinator: Chuck Pagano

Last season: 12-4 (second in AFC North)

KEY PLAYERS

LT Bryant McKinnie: The Ravens gave up 40 sacks a season ago. McKinnie's addition was made to keep pass rushers off of QB Joe Flacco.

QB Joe Flacco: It's Flacco's team with WR Derrick Mason, RB Willis McGahee, NT Kelly Gregg and TE Todd Heap gone. Flacco has taken more of a leadership role within the team this preseason.

DT Haloti Ngata: Ngata dropped 20 pounds during the lockout in an attempt to be in better shape at the end of the season. He's hoping to improve Baltimore's pass rush, which only generated 27 sacks a year ago.

FB Vonta Leach: Leach was brought in to help RB Ray Rice and the running game. Rice saw his yards per carry average drop by 1.3 yards from 2009 to 2010. Leach is hoping to lead the way to get Rice's numbers get back to where they were.

OLB Terrell Suggs: Suggs has performed better in even years, being a Pro Bowler in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Odd years seem to be his off years. He's hoping to break that trend in 2011.

GOOD THINGS WILL HAPPEN IF

It all starts with the offensive line giving quarterback Joe Flacco more time in the pocket. If they can, and Flacco can make plays downfield to receivers Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans, then that will help produce a more balanced offense with Ray Rice and Ricky Williams in the backfield.

BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN IF

Behind receivers Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans are rookies Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss. Both possess potential but need time to grow. If one of them goes down to injury then defenses will turn their attention to loading eight men in the box and stopping the Ravens' rushing attack.

FUN FACT

In between meetings and practices, the Ravens have another game on their mind: Cornhole. Defensive end Cory Redding introduced the game to his teammates and its caught on. Punter Sam Koch is the best on the team at it, while right tackle Michael Oher, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and safety Haruki Nakamura are frequent players. Cornhole tournaments are often scheduled in the team's locker room.

SCHEDULE

9/11 vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh has won seven of the past 10 and holds the upper hand in this bitter rivalry.

9/18 at Titans: The Ravens' biggest strength is their run defense, which will look to slow down running back Chris Johnson.

9/25 at Rams: Baltimore was lucky to get the NFC West on its schedule. But traveling to St. Louis this early won't be easy.

10/2 vs. Jets: The Jets will be looking to avenge a tough 10-9 loss in opening week last year.

10/16 vs. Texans: The Ravens are fortunate to have a week off to prepare for one of the NFL's most dynamic offenses when healthy.

10/24 at Jaguars: Baltimore faces another tough rushing attack on its lone Monday night appearance.

10/30 vs. Cardinals: Is Kevin Kolb the answer for Arizona? Baltimore will find out midseason.

11/6 at Steelers: Baltimore is hoping to at least split. Losing two would give Pittsburgh the inside track to the AFC North title.

11/13 at Seahawks: It's never easy to travel to Qwest Field, arguably the loudest stadium in the NFL.

11/20 vs. Bengals: Of the rookie quarterbacks starting this season, Cincinnati has the biggest challenge with Andy Dalton.

11/24 vs. 49ers: Call it the Harbaugh Bowl. Brothers John and Jim coach against each other for the first time on Thanksgiving.

12/4 at Browns: Quarterback Colt McCoy has looked good this preseason. His running game, led by Peyton Hillis, certainly helps.

12/11 vs. Colts: The first of two late-season challenges, the Ravens' secondary will be tested by Peyton Manning - if he's healthy.

12/18 at Chargers: A week after Indianapolis, the Ravens will face Philip Rivers, who won't be afraid to throw deep.

12/24 vs. Browns: To make a sure-fire run at the division title, the Ravens will need to sweep Cleveland and Cincinnati. Here's their chance against the Browns.

1/1 at Bengals: Cincinnati will have had a whole season to work out its kinks by the season finale.

- Jason Butt

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