NFL Week 4 Preview & Odds: Panthers vs. Ravens

There’s no doubt what the big storyline is for Sunday’s game between the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens (1:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS).

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There’s no doubt what the big storyline is for Sunday’s game between the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens (1:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS).

After spending the first 13 seasons of his career with the Panthers, wide receiver Steve Smith was let go this offseason and ultimately ended up with the Ravens.  Smith isn’t exactly shy about how that made him feel either.

“Put your goggles on, because there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere,” Smith said of the game against the Panthers back in March.

Smith elaborated this week on his frustration with being cut.  “I think for every man that tries to earn a living despite the amount of money, you always try to go to work doing (more), always trying to give them more than they pay you,” he said.  “And when things don’t work well, unless you obviously hate your job, nobody walks out going, ‘Yay, I just got fired!’”

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera wasn’t too keen on entertaining talk about Smith.  “We all know who Steve is and we know what Steve’s done,” Rivera said.  “He’s had a great career, he’s assimilated very well to Baltimore, he’s doing a great job for them.  But after that, we’re playing the Ravens.”

On the field, both teams are 2-1, but the Panthers are coming off a bad home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Carolina’s normally elite defense was torn apart by the Steelers.  Thus, stopping quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ run game will be top priorities in what is likely to be a low-scoring affair.

Fortunately for the Ravens, they’ll be able to count on an extra-motivated Steve Smith to come up big.

Baltimore is currently a narrow 2-point favorite in this game.  The over/under stands at 39.