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Ravens Wary of Their Top Ranked Defense Going Up Against the Bolts

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The Baltimore Ravens boast the most dominant defense in the NFL, ranking first in total defense and points against as well as third against both the run and the pass.

However, talk out of Baltimore is how stiff a challenge they face trying to to contain a red-hot Philip Rivers and company when they head west to Los Angeles.

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh knows his team is about to face off against a team led by what he has called "one of the smartest" quarterbacks in the league.

"I almost feel like it's his offense in a lot of ways because obviously he has just such a grasp of what he's doing in and out of plays (and) getting people lined up," Harbaugh said. "(He) just does a great job. Always has."

But with all the respect he has for Rivers, he also has seen how ruthless the future Hall of Fame quarterback can be when he gets fired up on the field.

"I remember one year, it might've been my second year in coaching, we came out there and played and we were kind of discombobulated on a fourth-and-one, they were running to the line," Harbaugh reminisced. "I called time out and he looked over at me and thanked me, but he didn't say it very nicely. He added a couple of words to it, you know. I realized right away what a competitor this guy is, and I learned a lesson there. Probably not to call a time out on fourth down with the clock running."

Take a look through the top practice photos as the Bolts prep for Saturday Night Football against the Ravens.

In addition, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale explained how Baltimore is going up against one of the best to ever take the field.

"Really, I mean, in respect to the game, he's going to go down as one of the greatest," he said. "Everybody sees it, everybody knows it. You can't say that he's like somebody else; he's Philip Rivers. I think the young quarterbacks aspire to be like him, the way he has command of the offense. I heard John (Harbaugh) say in his press conference – and I told him I thought it was perfect – the analogy of, 'He tries to get the most out of every play that he calls,' whether it's a run play, whether it's a pass play. He has such a competitive spirit. As a defensive coordinator, it's a lot of fun to go against it, because it's a chess match on every play."

On the flip side, in addition to boasting the league's top ranked defense, the Ravens have a red-hot QB of their own, with rookie Lamar Jackson winning four of his five starts. His specialty? His fast legs, recording 566 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Add that to his 818 passing yards and five touchdowns, and you can count him as a dual-threat quarterback.

Jackson has yet to face a top 10 defense in the games he has started, so going up against the eighth-ranked Chargers is sure to be a big test for the newcomer, especially when facing one of the best edge rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

"It's a big challenge," Harbaugh said of the pair. "Obviously they move them around and they'll find ways to use them to counteract plays that they think they have to defend from us. … (We) try to anticipate a little bit of what they might do. They line them up in different spots, especially Ingram. He lines up in a lot of different positions. You've just got to try to do the best you can and try to find a way to block them."

Then of course, you can't forget about Derwin James, another dynamic rookie making his mark on the league just like Jackson..

"Best pass rushing safety in football," Harbaugh said. "This guy, when he blitzes, he gets to the quarterback. He disrupts the run game. (I'm) very impressed with him all the way around. He's a dominant player."

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