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SANTA CLARA — The 49ers and Baltimore Ravens each have scored 256 points this season.

When it comes to similarities, however, their scoreboard-stingy defenses are what make Thanksgiving's game in Baltimore so appetizing.

Well, that and something about Harbaugh brothers coaching the teams.

"You look at what's going on over there (with the 49ers) and it kind of reminds us of our own defense," Ravens running back Ray Rice said.

Who's got a better defense? That's like pulling a turkey's wishbone on Thanksgiving.

Statistics side with the 49ers, who've parlayed their defensive dominance into an eight-game win streak and 9-1 record. They're allowing the league's fewest points (14.5 per game) and rushing yards (73.9).

Defense, however, has been the Ravens' hallmark for over a decade, highlighted by the 2000 team's record-setting efforts en route to Super Bowl XXXV. This season's version ranks third in points allowed (17.6) and fifth in rushing yards (93.2).

The Ravens' defense looked vulnerable Sunday, allowing 483 yards in a 31-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Two months earlier, the 49ers yielded 228 yards in a 13-8 victory at Cincinnati.

Ravens 16th-year linebacker Ray Lewis missed Sunday's game with a toe injury, ending his streak of 57 consecutive starts. His status is uncertain for today. He issued a statement before Tuesday's practice, stating he wants to play and is making progress.

Regardless of Lewis' availability, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said the Ravens are a team with no shortage of defensive talent. "It's an awesome, exciting challenge," Roman added.

Rice echoed that statement. He knows the 49ers defense hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown this season or a 100-yard rusher in 32 consecutive games, which calculates to two seasons' worth of dominance.

"Every yard matters in this game. It's going to be a slugfest," Rice said. "They're playing great team football. They're not giving up the big run."

Rice hailed the "amazing" work that linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman have done behind a lane-clearing defensive front.

Rice is coming off his third 100-yard rushing game this season. How big of a threat is he to reach that mark against the 49ers?

"He's a complete back," Willis said. "He can run between the tackles. He can catch the ball. He can do it all. So he poses a big threat."

From 2006-09, the Ravens went 39 straight games with not allowing a 100-yard rusher. Consider it a franchise tradition. The Ravens went two straight seasons without yielding a 100-yard rusher in 1999 and 2000.

Baltimore's 2000-season championship team also set a league record for fewest points in a 16-game schedule (165) and fewest rushing yards (970).

Speaking of records, the 49ers' Frank Gore is on the cusp of becoming the franchise's all-time leading rusher. He is 61 yards away from passing Joe Perry.

The modern-day Ravens may boast impressive stats like the 49ers, but there are differences between the squads, specifically in terms of how they use personnel.

Mike Mayock, who'll be part of the NFL Network's broadcast crew today, said the Ravens have a more "exotic" look with how they shuffle their personnel, whereas the 49ers maintain a predictable cast in their base alignment of three down linemen and four linebackers.

Although 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio downplayed the defenses' similarities, he did note that they share similar lingo as both teams' schemes trace to past ones used by the Steelers and Saints.

Fangio spent four seasons on the Ravens staff before joining Jim Harbaugh at Stanford last year. The Ravens offense may rank a pedestrian 15th in yards per game but stats can be deceiving.

Said Fangio: "It's probably the best offensive, skill-position personnel the Ravens have ever had since they moved to Baltimore (in 1996)."

The 49ers just so happen to have arguably their best defense since the mid-1990s to counter that.

"Everyone wants to be good," linebacker Ahmad Brooks said, "and as long as we keep doing that, I don't think we'll have a 100-yard rusher against us this year."