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CHICAGO — Weather will play a major factor on Sunday as the Ravens travel to Soldier Field in Chicago looking to improve to 5-5 and improve their standing in the AFC playoff picture.
With intense storms, winds averaging 25-30 miles per hour with gusts upwards of 50, and a tornado watch in the forecast Sunday afternoon, both teams will likely need to lean on their respective running games with Chicago possessing the league’s 15th-ranked rush offense. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ dramatic struggles in running the ball have been well documented, but the Bears are ranked 31st against the run and have allowed 129.4 yards per game on the ground this season.
The Ravens will be without two key starters as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Marlon Brown were both ruled inactive prior to kickoff. Ngata sprained his left knee in last Sunday’s win over the Bengals and missed practice all week despite suiting up and making an appearance at the beginning of Friday’s practice. Terrence Cody and Brandon Williams will be leaned upon to play a more significant role at the nose tackle position in Ngata’s absence.
Brown’s deactivation leaves the Ravens with just four active receivers for Sunday’s game, and 6-foot-5 rookie will be missed in the red zone. His absence will likely lead to more opportunities for Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson in the passing game.
For the Bears, tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) is active and will start, but starting defensive end Shea McClellin (hamstring) is inactive after being listed as doubtful on Chicago’s final injury report of the week.
Sunday’s referee will be Gene Steratore.
The Ravens are wearing white jerseys with black pants while Chicago is donning dark blue throwback jerseys with white pants.
The all-time series between these teams is tied 2-2 with the Ravens winning the last meeting in Baltimore back in 2009. However, the Bears are 2-0 against the Ravens at Soldier Field with victories in 1998 and 2005.
Here are Sunday’s inactives:
DT Haloti Ngata
WR Marlon Brown
S Omar Brown
RB Bernard Scott
WR Brandon Stokley
OL Ryan Jensen
LB John Simon
DE Shea McClellin
DT Jeremiah Ratliff
LS Pat Mannelly
OL Jonathan Scott
OL James Brown
QB Jay Cutler
LB Lance Briggs
Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live coverage from Chicago throughout the day.