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Losman will need escape routes when Ravens release the hounds

1. Losman faces Ravenous defense.

QB J.P. Losman is completing a high percentage of his passes and getting more receivers involved in the offense. But he'll need to make good decisions and get protection against the Ravens' ferocious pass rush. . . . Baltimore attacks from all directions with DE Trevor Pryce (12), LBs Adalius Thomas (11 sacks), Bart Scott (9.5) and Terrell Suggs (8.5) accounting for most of the Ravens' 57 sacks. Their pressure is a big reason Baltimore leads the NFL with 26 interceptions, including four returned for touchdowns. . . . A ball-hawking secondary features two Pro Bowlers -- CB Chris McAlister and FS Ed Reed -- and surprising rookie SS Ronnie Prude (5 INTs each). Opponents complete a league-low 54.3 percent of their passes. . . . Buffalo should use three-step drops and quick passes to slow down Baltimore's pass rush.

2. Ravens are flying on Air McNair.

Baltimore QB Steve McNair has been efficient, completing 62.8 percent of his passes and limiting his mistakes. He still has a big arm to stretch defenses. . . . The Ravens have a solid receiving corps. TE Todd Heap and WRs Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason each have more than 60 catches. Clayton averages 52.6 yards on five touchdown catches. . . . Generating a pass rush is vital for the Bills. Second-year LT Adam Terry, who replaces injured Pro Bowler Jonathan Ogden (toe), has a tough matchup against Bills Pro Bowl DE Aaron Schobel (14 sacks).

3. The Bills must lean on the running game.

Bills RB Willis McGahee is 33 yards shy of 1,000, but he'll need a lot more yardage to take pressure off the passing game. . . . The Ravens have the NFL's second-stingiest run defense. They have allowed just one 100-yard rusher and are giving up 78.3 yards per game. NT Kelly Gregg, DT Haloti Ngata and Pryce can be dominant up front, allowing Ray Lewis and the other three linebackers to plug gaps and rack up tackles. . . . It won't be an easy day for McGahee, but the Bills can't abandon the run. Buffalo should spread Baltimore out and run out of three- and four-receiver sets.

4. The Ravens could pound on Buffalo's soft run defense.

Although RB Jamal Lewis has run for 1,063 yards, he hasn't been consistent. He is gaining 70.9 yards per game, the second-lowest average of his career. But he has run with power in the red zone, where he's scored seven of his nine touchdowns in the last six games. . . . The Bills' small front seven has gotten overpowered too many times. Buffalo has allowed 168.3 yards and 5.3 per carry in the last eight games. The Bills' interior line must win the battle up front and LBs London Fletcher, Takeo Spikes and Keith Ellison must get off blocks better or it could be another long day.

5. Special teams could be the difference.

Return specialists Terrence McGee and Roscoe Parrish have the ability to turn the game in Buffalo's favor with some big plays. Baltimore rookie Cory Ross hasn't created any spark since taking over as return specialist three games ago, averaging 2.4 yards on punt returns and 22.1 yards returning kickoffs . . . Buffalo K Rian Lindell (23 for 25 on field goals) and Baltimore K Matt Stover (24 for 26) are very accurate, while Buffalo's Brian Moorman (31 punts inside the 20) and Baltimore rookie P Sam Koch (27 punts inside the 20) can control field position.

Prediction: The Bills would love to finish the season on a good note, but the Ravens have too much to play for to suffer a letdown. Baltimore, 24-13.

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