A visit to Carolina might be what the Baltimore Ravens need to help move on from their latest loss.
The Ravens hope to hand the injury-riddled Panthers a fourth straight defeat Sunday afternoon.
Baltimore (6-3) is tied with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North but the Ravens must play better after letting a late lead turn into a 26-21 loss at Atlanta last Thursday.
"I'd rather be 9-0," coach John Harbaugh said. "Are we happy with 6-3? No. But that's where we are. We are on top of the division and we have our fate in our own hands."
After a sluggish start, the Ravens scored all their points in the second half. However, they allowed Atlanta's Matt Ryan to throw for 316 yards and Roddy White to catch 12 passes for 138 and the winning touchdown with 20 seconds left to conclude an 80-yard drive.
"Every time you don't win in this league it's a missed opportunity,'' Harbaugh said. "We've got to get better. We're a good football team right now. We've got to improve, and we're very determined to do that.''
The Ravens ranked third in the NFL allowing 300.5 yards per game in 2009, but are 10th (316.4) this season. They have allowed 216.7 yards per game through the air - already 9.5 more per contest than last year.
Despite winning three of five, Baltimore has given up 1,471 passing yards during that span. The Ravens allowed 476 through the air while winning three of their first four contests.
Though the Ravens have yielded at least 24 points while losing five of six road games against NFC opponents, their defense has a chance to get stingy against Carolina (1-8).
"I have all the respect in the world for the Baltimore defense," Carolina coach John Fox said.
The Panthers (1-8), who have scored a league-low nine touchdowns and average an NFL-worst 11.6 points a game, have been ravaged by injuries at quarterback, running back and on the offensive line.
With Matt Moore (shoulder) done for the season and rookie Jimmy Clausen recovering from a concussion, Fox has elected to start journeyman Brian St. Pierre at quarterback over rookie sixth-round pick Tony Pike.
The 30-year-old St. Pierre, signed to the practice squad last week, has thrown five passes in eight years in the NFL with Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Arizona.
"I know what the situation looks like to everyone," St. Pierre said. "It is what it is. I'm not going to complain about it."
He won't be handing off to star running back DeAngelo Williams, who was placed on injured reserve this week with a foot sprain.
With backup Jonathan Stewart (concussion) and third-stringer Tyrell Sutton (ankle) also out, Mike Goodson will make his second straight start after rushing for 100 yards on 23 carries in last Sunday's 31-16 loss at Tampa Bay.
Left guard Travelle Wharton will miss this game with turf toe, while wide receiver Brandon LaFell is out with a concussion. The Panthers already lost right tackle Jeff Otah to a season-ending knee injury.
"You get to the point where you almost think, 'Enough's enough of one team going through something,'" Pike said.
The Panthers likely will have Jon Beason even though the star linebacker missed practice Wednesday with a knee injury, but Carolina's defense is giving up 23.9 points and 131.6 rushing yards per contest.
That could help Baltimore's Ray Rice get back on track. Rice has rushed for 302 yards in four games since recording a season-high 133 on 27 carries in a victory over Denver on Oct. 10.
Joe Flacco threw for 215 yards and three TDs against the Falcons. He has 10 touchdowns and one interception since Week 5. Only Kansas City's Matt Cassel (12 TDs, one interception) has performed better during that stretch.
The Ravens are 0-3 against the Panthers with two losses in Carolina. The Panthers won the last meeting, 23-21 at Baltimore on Oct. 15, 2006.