The Ravens are fast approaching their 1 p.m. ET kickoff tomorrow, so lets take a closer look at the match-ups for this week.
3. Ravens Pass Rush vs. Eagles OL- The Eagles OL is a disaster right now. Evan Mathis is the one bright spot on a line that allowed 2 sacks and countless pressures last week. The Ravens pass rush looks like a work in process, but they should still be able to exploit a weak opponent this week.
2. Ray Rice vs. Eagles LBs- Demeco Ryans is a stud, there is no doubt about that. That said, Ryans is only one of the players in the group and he can’t defend Rice by himself. The Ravens only got Rice 13 touches last week, that number should be higher this week, look for Rice to get a bunch of screen and dump offs as an extension of the running game.
1. Ed Reed vs. Mike Vick- Last week I wrote that Reed vs. Dalton was last weeks 3rd best matchup, Reed only had 1 pick six in addition to 2 dropped INTs in the first half. This week he is playing one of the most turnover prone QBs in the NFL over the past 20 games who is fresh off a 4INT game against the Browns. It probably should have been at least a 5 INT game, if not 6. Look for Reed to be a big player on sunday, he might not get anything, but I guarantee Vick tries to force throws away from Reed to prevent Reed from getting his hands on one.
Hornorable mention- Joe Flacco/Ravens TEs vs. Eagles S/LBs- Flacco should have no trouble finding Boldin, Pitta and Dickson in the middle of the Eagles D, as mentioned before their LBs are pretty average(to be kind) and their safety group is even worse. Look for the Ravens to run almost exclusive 3WR and 2WR2TE sets to exploit this advantage by tieing up the Eagles Elite CB duo.
3. Ravens WRs vs. Eagles CBs- Nnamdi Asomugah and Dominique Rodgers-Cromarte are one of the best CB duos in the league. This isn’t a slight against the Ravens WRs as much as it is a compliment to the Eagles CBs. Jacoby Jones is the only one of the Ravens top 3 WRs that will routinely get a good matchup, Boldin will be next in line as he should be in the slot quite a bit but Torrey Smith will have to work hard to have a good game as he will draw the toughest match-ups all day long.
2. Eagles DL vs. Ravens OL- I called the Ravens OL the second worst matchup last week and i was wrong, but this is a stronger deeper DL than the Bengals group. Trent Cole is consistently under-rated and Jason Babin has suddenly become an elite sack man over the past 2 seasons, This will be the first major test for the Ravens new OL. The Ravens will need to establish the inside run to try and draw the DEs towards the middle to disrupt the wide 9 defense of the eagles.
1. LeSean McCoy vs. the Ravens run D- Shady McCoy is one of the best RBs in the league and the Eagles need to use him like one. last week they completely abandoned the run and threw an ill-advised 56 times. Andy Reid is too good a coach to make that mistake twice in a row so the Ravens should expect to get a heavy dose of Shady this weekend. They need Pernell McPhee or Art Jones to step up and help to disrupt running lanes much better than they did last week. That said, I wouldn’t look to much into last weeks game by Green-Ellis, the Ravens have had trouble containing him for years, he is just a shifty and powerful runner that the Ravens have issues with, McCoy isn’t anywhere near as strong and doesn’t possess Green-Ellis’ slashing style.
Honorable Mention- Ravens CBs vs. Eagles WRs- Im just going to assume both stud WRs for the Eagles will be playing tomorrow despite both of them being listed as questionable on the injury report earlier in the week(Rotoworld says both are likely to play). The Eagles WRs are a matchup issue no matter who they play because they compliment each other well. I would expect Webb to spend the majority of the game on Maclin not Jackson(who Webb would likely cover on major passing downs) because Maclin is the engine that makes the Eagles passing game go. Jackson struggles to find space when teams can double him, but if Maclin is on fire Jackson has a much easier time making the game-breaking plays he is known for. The Ravens need to blanket Maclin to make sure this doesn’t happen.