Our Eagles fans pull no punches here… and when you create your own unique voice at www.livefyre.com, you can join the smartest football fan commentators in America and participate in the real-time analysis of this crucial match between the Eagles and the Ravens.
It’s the home opener for the Eagles in Philly today!
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia (turf, outdoors)
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Spread: Eagles by 2.5
Forecast: Mostly sunny, mid-70s
Records: Ravens (Overall: 1-0, AFC North: 1-0); Eagles (Overall: 1-0, NFC East: 0-0)
Past Results: Two most recent meetings — Nov. 23, 2008: Ravens 36, Eagles 7 ; Oct. 31, 2004: Eagles 15, Ravens 10. Series record: The two teams are tied at 1-1-1.
What matters: The Ravens had four sacks against the Bengals last week, yet there were still issues with the pass rush, primarily in the first half. In addition, the Ravens allowed Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to run for 91 yards and a touchdown. If lanes were opening up for Green-Ellis, then imagine what Eagles running back LeSean McCoy will be able to do. Ravens’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees said the mistakes made last week are correctible but that Philadelphia presents a different challenge with its misdirection run game. The Ravens will need to stay disciplined in their rush lanes to force Michael Vick to throw the ball. If McCoy gains ground early then it could open up the play action game for Vick. For Baltimore, its success in containing Philadelphia’s offense starts up front…
Who matters: Ray Rice had only 13 touches (10 rushes, three receptions) last week but averaged more than seven yards per play. He’ll need to see more of the ball against Philadelphia, as Joe Flacco and the passing attack will face a much stiffer challenge against the Eagles’ secondary than they did against the Bengals. Winning one-on-one battles against Eagles defensive backs Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with their wide receivers will be tough, so the Ravens will need Rice to move the chains, regardless if they remain primarily in the no-huddle this week. Flacco will also be looking to his tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta to put presure on the Eagles linebackers and safeties.
Key matchups: Eagles DE Trent Cole vs. LT Michael Oher— In a preseason game last year, Cole beat Oher off the snap a number of times, which helped lead the Ravens to signing Bryant McKinnie to play the position. Oher has improved and won the left tackle job this year and will need to put in a top-notch performance to slow Cole down… Ravens S Ed Reed vs. QB Michael Vick— Vick threw four interceptions a week ago, and his turnovers left a ton of points off the scoreboard, considering Vick threw for over 300 yards against an average Browns’ secondary. Vick takes plenty of chances and there are not many better safeties at forcing quarterbacks into mistakes than Reed. If Reed can play mental games inside Vick’s mind, then Baltimore will hope to capitalize on a few more Philadelphia mistakes on Sunday…And DE Jason Babin will be working against rookie RT Kelechi Osemele, a key matchup to watch…
Injuries of note: Ravens DE Pernell McPhee reaggravated his knee against Cincinnati but practiced Friday. McPhee’s presence rushing the passer is needed as he shared a sack with OLB Courtney Upshaw last week. Ravens OLB Paul Kruger has a back injury that caused him to miss practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but he did return to the field Friday. Ravens OL Jah Reid missed another week of practice with a calf injury and will likely miss Sunday’s game. Ed Reed has a minor hamstring injury and is expected to play. For the Eagles, DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and fellow WR Jeremy Maclin (hip pointer) are expected to be available to start…
Inside stuff: Ravens LB Dannell Ellerbe saw more snaps on the field last week than starting LB Jameel McClain, due to certain packages both linebackers play in. If Philadelphia spreads the field with multiple receivers, expect to see more of Ellerbe and less of McClain again this week. Ellerbe’s speed aids the Ravens in coverage over the middle. Against Cincinnati, Ellerbe played 49 snaps to McClain’s 31.
Okay… let’s turn it over to the Smart Phans of Philly… This should be a helluva game…