NFL Game of the Week #2: Ravens @ Eagles

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 09: LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles makes a run during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brody Wheeler/Getty Images)

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles (Sun. Sept. 16th, 2012 @ 1pm(EST.))

Stars Watch:
(Baltimore): QB Joe Flacco -
He was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week against the Bengals completing 21 of 29 passes for 299 yards and tossing 2 td passes. He looked very sharp in the Ravens new no huddle offense and spread the ball around effectively. The Eagles have two components defensively that may present some concerns for Flacco and that's a better pass rush and pass coverage than the Bengals had. If he gets solid protection from his offensive line he should have time to find his receivers down field.



(Philadelphia): RB LeSean McCoy - He was the Eagles most consistent performer last week against the Cleveland Browns when he got the opportunities. Philadelphia would be wise to get him touches in the running game early and often. The Eagles are 9-1 when McCoy rushes for over 100 yards. He has the ability to make big plays not only in the running game but in the passing game also. He is a lethal weapon on screen plays. The Ravens defense gave up 129 yards rushing to Cincinnati last week which is out of character for them. McCoy will present a more difficult challenge with his skill set.

Key Matchups:
Ravens tight ends Ed Dickson & Dennis Pitta (versus) Eagles linebackers:
The Eagles defense will probably focus on containing Ray Rice and the Baltimore rushing attack. They also have two solid cornerbacks to protect the boundaries in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Roders-Cromartie. With that said, I see the Ravens attacking the Eagles linebackers underneath with Pitta and Dickson. Pitta caught 5 passes for 73 yards and 1 td last week against Cincinnati. Eagles linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Akeem Jordan maybe doing a lot of back pedaling this week. Pitta has seemed to emerge as Flacco's favorite tight end option.

Ravens Haloti Ngata & Terrance Cody (versus) Eagles interior offensive lineman: The Ravens are usually very stingy against the run defensively, but last week they played out of character. They allowed Cincinnati to rush for 129 yards. Knowing the Ravens, they will make adjustments and it will start up front with the big guys Ngata and Cody. Haloti Ngata is a beast and demands a double team just about every play. He is big, strong, has quick feet, and very agile for a man of his size. He can dominate a game without even recording a sack. Definitely my favorite defensive big man in the NFL. Philadelphia's guards and center will have to be on their game to open holes for McCoy in the run game and also to allow Michael Vick time to step up in the pocket on deep pass plays. If they can't control the push inside by these two the Eagles offense will have a long day.

Final Word: Philadelphia's offense struggled last week against the Cleveland Browns and committed several turnovers. They can't afford to do that this week against Baltimore. The only reason Cleveland lost that game was because they started a rookie at quarterback and running back. This week they face Joe Flacco and Ray Rice which is definitely a big difference if they get behind the Ravens late. Baltimore used a new up tempo offense in week one and it seemed to cater to Joe Flacco's strengths. They face an Eagles' defense that is capable of pressuring the quarterback. Trent Cole and Jason Babin each had double digit sacks in 2011. The Ravens Ray Rice and Eagles' LeSean McCoy are two of the best all-around running backs in the NFL and could come down to which one out performs the other for their team to get the win.


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