Ravens vs. 49ers: 5 Keys to Victory for AFC Leader

Leading contenders for MVP? Which two teams in the NFL have the same record? 

For football fans nationwide, Monday night's Christmas game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers may be the biggest of the year. 

Although defeating the top team in the other conference isn't quite a "must-win" for either side right now, it should be a great start for a late-December game. 

The Ravens must successfully complete five essential tasks in order to win.  

Here, let's review them.  The 49ers won't have Arik Armstead on the team. The Ravens should be able to take advantage of that huge issue.

San Francisco ranks 19th in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per carry on the ground (4.3).  One can overcome this adaptable defense.

Baltimore's play-calling and rushing approach will need to be resolute and reliable. Even though the team most likely won't have a 1,000-yard rusher this season, 

the Ravens' backfield group, which includes their quarterback, can pose a serious threat to any defense. 

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