After a Pro Bowl season in which he posted over 2,000 of total yards from scrimmage, Ravens fans and many fantasy football players expected another monster season out of Ray Rice.
That monster season might very well still come together, but for the most part so far this year, Rice has been held in check.
The Ravens' third-year running back has averaged 75 yards per game, the 14th-best mark in the NFL, and he's picking up just 23 receiving yards per contest this season.
Because of his big '09 campaign, Rice is getting a lot more attention from opposing defenses this year. Defensive ends have been keying on Rice, trying to contain him and funnel him inside, and linebackers have been spying Rice on passing plays.
Still, Rice is staying positive, and feels like he's been playing well this season.
"I'm seeing things really well," Rice said. "I've been facing tough fronts. Last week was a grind-it-out 88 yards. I think my season is right where I was at last year in terms of statistics. Everybody was looking for the exploding numbers, but it you look at last year and this year I'm right on pace for where I was at last year."
Rice is right. His stats might not look that impressive so far this year, but through the season's first six games, he's right where he was last season at this point. His 451 rushing yards this year eclipse the 441 yards he had through six games in 2009.
Those 2010 numbers will likely get a boost this Sunday when Rice and the Ravens face the Bills.
Buffalo has given up 182 yards on the ground per game, most in the NFL, and they've allowed over 200 rushing yards in each of their last three contests.
Rice is aware of those numbers, but says he's staying focused on the task at hand and trying to treat the Bills like any other team.
"You got to take it as a normal game," Rice said. "Whenever a team plays against us, I try not to look their stats. They're professionals over there. They're playing for their jobs. Every week is different. We've got a lot of respect for them. I definitely look forward to the opportunity to play against them.
"Week in and week out, it's different. You never know who you're going to see. I'm sure they're going to play their butts off."
Maybe so, but if you've been waiting for Rice to take off this season, you might not need to wait any longer than tomorrow. The Pro Bowler could be back in Pro Bowl form this weekend.