Ravens: 4 matchups to watch in Week 9 against the Vikings

Ravens, Anthony Averett Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Anthony Averett Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ravens, Alejandro Villanueva
Ravens, Alejandro Villanueva Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Alejandro Villanueva vs. Everson Griffen

Staying in the front seven, Alejandro Villanueva is going to be a critical part of this game.

Against the Bengals, protection was an issue as Jackson struggled to settle in the pocket or properly escape.

The Vikings are the second most prolific pass rush in the NFL, notching 24 sacks — just one fewer than the Rams.

However, the star of the show, Danielle Hunter, will miss the rest of the season, leaving Everson Griffen as the team’s lead edge rusher.

So far this season, he has lined up predominantly over the left tackle, including last week once Hunter left the game against the Cowboys. It will be on Villanueva to keep the team’s active sack leader at bay.

The Vikings will be missing eight sacks and two of their biggest threats, Hunter and former-Raven Michael Pierce, so the pressure to perform will fall even more on Griffen — after him, the Vikings don’t have much in terms of a reliable pass rush.

If Villanueva can keep Griffen at bay, Jackson could be poised to have the type of time he had against the Colts. Against this secondary, that is a recipe for success.

dark. Next. Watkins' return will provide boost to the offense

Any NFL game is made up of many individual battles, and no one or two will decide the game. But, if the Ravens can take care of these matchups, this game should be no-contest.